It’s that time of year where we look up from our keyboards to find the holiday season freight train barreling down on us at an alarming speed. For obvious reasons, this time of year is especially critical and demanding for online retailers.
Even during a challenging 2010 holiday season, comScore reported that consumers spent $1.03 billion online on Cyber Monday, the highest spending day of 2010. Research shows that holiday spending is on track to level with or surpass last year’s numbers, and that ecommerce sites will play a more significant role than ever in holiday revenue.
Forward-thinking retailers have video deployed on their sites and will use it as a merchandising tool during the holidays. That’s in response to consumer demand; among Invodo’s client base, Cyber Monday video views in 2010 showed a 350-percent increase over the October-November baseline.
There’s still time to make the most of the video assets you have, even if yours is among the numerous companies that implement a “code freeze” for developers during the holiday season. There’s plenty that you can do with video, so look for these opportunities to spice up your holiday sales:
1. Put Video on Category Pages
Do you have time to make one more change before your developers go into a brief hibernation? If you do, here’s a high-impact item: add video to category pages as well as product pages. Customers appreciate being able to compare products by launching videos directly from a category page.
If it is too late and a code freeze is already in place, follow one or more of the suggestions below.
2. Email Campaigns
Even during a code freeze, marketers can typically deploy and tweak landing pages for email campaigns. Brands such as Whirlpool have delivered stunning customer experiences simply by adding video to email landing pages and using an animated GIF as the call-to-action in the email. Retailers such as Golfsmith have seen a 2 to 3 times increase in click-through rate (CTR) by including video in email campaigns.
3. YouTube it
A code freeze doesn’t cool down your YouTube channel. Add a seasonal theme and optimize the YouTube descriptions for extra holiday traffic. Drive holiday YouTube visitors to your site in three ways:
a) Include a link to your site in the YouTube video description.
b) If your videos aren’t edited to include an overlay asking visitors to visit your site, consider it. By using a vanity URL, you’ll know how many additional visitors you’re delivering. You may be surprised by how many video viewers will respond.
c) A YouTube annotation on a “promoted video” (YouTube’s version of PPC) can link directly back to your site. Your rivals are driving the cost of desirable search terms up on Google. But YouTube, as the second largest search engine (ahead of Yahoo! and Bing), may be a cost-effective option.
4. Socialize it
Once you have your YouTube videos optimized to drive traffic, make sure you’re promoting them via your Facebook page and Twitter feed. By pushing your videos out through social channels, you make it easier for your brand advocates to spread the word.
The most creative merchandisers see the biggest gains during the holiday season. We may be past code freeze, but there’s still plenty of video merchandising opportunity with email campaigns, YouTube and social networks.
About the author: Craig Wax is the CEO of Invodo, leading the company’s overall market strategy, product vision and investor relationships. He brings a seasoned general management perspective to guide Invodo’s rapid growth. Craig is a frequent speaker at industry events such as the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, the Shop.org Summit and Innovation Workshop, and eTail.