The retail experience has been completely transformed during the last decade. The high street was once the centre stage of shopping and had the greatest influence over customer spending. The arrival of e-commerce and mobile commerce has put the power into the consumer’s hands. Many have taken their custom online preferring to make purchases from the comfort of their own home.
In an attempt to regain the market share, most retailers have set up commerce websites and social media channels. Many are turning to technology, such as video, to boost customer engagement. According to Ofcom research, UK consumers are quick to adopt the latest video technologies. There is plenty of evidence in favour of retailers using video to stimulate customer engagement.
In-store video can increase unplanned purchases by 30%
Video content can help to create a more enjoyable in-store experience which is key to attracting customers back to the high street. An Arbitron Retail Media study found that more than three-quarters of shoppers find video screens helpful.
The study also found that 30% of consumers have made an impulse purchase after viewing an in-store video, demonstrating the influence it can have on consumer decisions. The fact that the “treat yourself” modern-day mantra influences impulse buying has already been widely acknowledged among retailers and has since been translated into an effective sales promotion technique.
The Bond Street branch of Victoria’s Secret, clearly aware of the purchase boosting the power of video, has a video wall made up of 30 digital screens. The lingerie giant plays footage from its latest catwalk where its brand ambassadors, known as Angels, showcase the latest underwear collections. Video walls are also integrated into the shop fitting, including the cash areas, inspiring shoppers to try on and purchase the latest trends.
Ikea has also incorporated video into their retail experience, but their intention is to induce a positive shopping atmosphere rather than push products. Working with the virtual reality production team at REWIND, Ikea has experimented with a motivational mirror that gives personalised compliments to their shoppers.
Online video is more easily recalled than informative text
Online video traffic will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017. Many retailers are realising its potential in terms of product education and conversion.
The research also found that four times as many shoppers prefer watching a product video to reading about it. 80% of consumers can recall videos they watched online in the last week, compared to just 14% who can recall informational text.
British online fashion store Asos adds video content to almost every item on sale, usually featuring a model wearing the item of clothing on a catwalk or during a photo shoot. One of the biggest challenges facing e-commerce is that the customer cannot try on clothing before purchasing. Asos’s video content combats this by demonstrating what the item of clothing looks like when worn.
Some may argue that online video encourages e-commerce and takes custom away from the high street, but 75% of users research products online anyway before visiting the retailer to purchase in-store.
Social media provides the greatest platform for video engagement
To unlock the potential of online video it has to be easy for internet users to discover. Posting video content on social media is arguably the best way to reach the widest possible audience. There are more than 1.7 billion active social media users globally and this figure is expected to surpass 2.5 billion by 2017.
Social media provides a platform to promote across multiple channels. Video content drives higher engagement with the greatest number of social shares, likes and comments, followed by photos, status updates and links. Retailers are beginning to use social video to increase engagement with fans.
Facebook videos provide an opportunity to increase interaction with consumers. The most effective videos are those that are useful to the customer such as explainer videos that can boost engagement by 1500%.
H&M have the largest social following of all retailers with more than 25 million Facebook likes, 11 million Instagram followers and 7 million Twitter followers. The company’s social video strategy combines product news with intelligent use of content, such as streaming live events, Q&A sessions with celebrities and linking to prominent lifestyle blogs.
Such videos communicate H&M’s products and ethos more organically than a sales video would. While social media videos don’t guarantee an increase in conversions, using them to create inspirational and informative content increases the likelihood of improving return on investment.