Why You Need E-Commerce Video Now

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The biggest takeaway from the State of Video in E-Commerce that we published several months ago, citing conclusions from SundaySky’s Q4 2010 report, was that the large majority of online merchants have thus far underutilized or altogether neglected this simple yet potentially very valuable medium.

The latest release from SundaySky includes new data from the first quarter of 2011, and while relatively little has changed in terms of retailers’ widespread adoption, it appears that consumers’ appetite for e-commerce video continues to grow.

The increasing interest from online shoppers, combined with retailers’ general inability to meet that demand, presents a unique opportunity for ambitious merchants both large and small. Below are some of the key findings from SundaySky, which paints a very convincing picture of why you need to implement e-commerce video as soon as possible.

Give consumers what they want
The number of subscribers to online retailers’ YouTube channels increased 21 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011. That number climbed to 571,000 subscribers to retail channels, totaling 420 million views of retail videos on YouTube alone – a 13-percent increase. Meanwhile, the number of retail videos posted on YouTube reached nearly 96,000 during Q1 2011, which represents a 9-percent increase. Shoppers are consuming e-commerce video at a significantly faster rate than merchants are providing it, but that window of opportunity is closing.

All or nothing for major retailers
Among the largest online retailers in the world, it seems that video is either being mass-scaled or all but ignored. Thirty-two percent of the top 50 online merchants boasted more than 1,000 videos on their sites in Q1 2011, compared to 22 percent in the previous quarter. However, 36 percent of the top 50 had fewer than 10 videos on their sites, and a staggering 68 percent of all retailers are not yet exploiting the obvious and accessible rewards of on-site e-commerce videos – in any way, shape or form.

Time to act is now
While the large majority of retailers continue to ignore the benefits of video, a definite shift is taking place in the e-commerce industry. The number of major retailers posting more than 100 videos on YouTube during the first quarter of 2011 increased by 15 percent since the fourth quarter of 2010, indicating that the race may be on. Still, that number represents the minority, with 48 percent of the top 50 surpassing the 100-video mark.

Enormous SEO benefits
According to the SundaySky report, nearly 18 percent of the major search engine results pages during the first quarter of 2011 contained video results, and most video results for retail-related keywords were posted only on YouTube. In an analysis of 34,000 top keywords within 17 categories from Shopping.com’s top searches, computer gaming had the highest presence of video results while furniture had the lowest.

Getting results
Zappos has for a long time been a benchmark of many online retail best practices, and its use of e-commerce video is no exception. The company annually generates more than half a million dollars in incremental revenue simply by following video SEO guidelines, and the amount of traffic accredited to video results is estimated at more than 77,000 visits per month.

While Zappos is one of the top 50 retailers to adopt e-commerce video on a massive scale, smaller retailers simply need to get into the game rather than watch from the sidelines. From posting a handful of simple product videos onto your site to leveraging your company’s own YouTube channel and building out your brand, the power of video is growing and too many retailers are missing out.

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2 comments

Nora McDougall-Collins 06-06-2011 1:06 PM

So the quality of the video doesn't matter - just having video is good enough?

Linc Wonham 06-06-2011 1:55 PM

I wouldn't say that, NoraM, but the effort and cost required to produce quality videos for an e-commerce website is much lower than most merchants think.

There are many vendors in the space who are eager to help retailers get started, and we recently published a three-part Small Business Lab called Video for 'Net Success if you're looking for some helpful tips in researching, developing, producing and marketing your videos. It's a very simple and worthwhile process.

Thanks for your comment, Nora. Any other readers have additional thoughts/input on the topic?

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