Inside Shoppable Video with Rapt Media's Erika Trautman

The rise of video has been meteoric. Despite its value to the digital enterprise, however, many still don't understand the nuances of marketing within the channel, much less how to get started.


Website Magazine posed a few questions to Rapt Media CEO Erika Trautman on the common barriers to greater video adoption, how Rapt Media's solution differ from that of its competition, and the results that can be expected  from executing on video intiatives.


- What are some of the most common barriers to entry for retailers considering video as a marketing opportunity? Is it cost, complexity, or a lack of creativity?

Using video to excite shoppers can be one of the most effective ways to engage and turn them into customers. Retailers know this, but one of the biggest challenges we routinely hear is that retailers struggle to keep video content fresh and relevant when inventory is constantly shifting. If a company invests in a video shoot about, say, a line of boots for fall, but all the highlighted products quickly sell out, can the company still extract value out of the video? This common scenario tends to make video seem expensive, with a short lifespan. This doesn't have to be the case, however, as interactive video can help solve this dilemma. Here's how:


1. Create video that is more evergreen or less product-specific, and then pair it with interactivity and shoppable overlays that can be updated to reflect only what is in stock. Some interactive video solutions can link directly to an ecommerce engine, taking care of this process automatically.


2. Use interactive video platforms that let you build videos in a modular fashion where segments of the video can be easily replaced and updated for seasonal changes or new product lines. This way, rather than reshooting from scratch when its time to refresh, retailers only have to update segments of video content. 


- How do Rapt Media's solutions differ from what is currently on the market? What is the appeal of a "shoppable video" over more traditional uses of video?

Rapt Media's platform allows retailers to easily create branching videos that let viewers navigate to what is most relevant to them, just as they would navigate a website. We've seen retailers use this to build interactive makeup tutorials, product showcases or demos where viewers can choose which features they want to learn about, and even recommendation engines that ask viewers questions to help direct them to products that meet their needs. We do this with advanced HTML5 technology, which means Rapt Media interactive videos play seamlessly across mobile devices as well as desktop. 


Video makes an emotional connection with a shopper, and retailers don't want to squander that by making the shopping experience complex. Ideally, the purchase happens within or beside the video itself - not in an entirely separate part of the site where the viewer has to navigate away from the video to a different page, increasing the likelihood that the viewer will not complete their purchase. The key is to pair branching with a simple shopping experience. When interactive, shoppable video is done right, it provides a service for the shopper, making it easier and more pleasurable for them to discover new products that meet their needs.


- What results can online merchants expect from deploying a solution like Rapt Media's - higher conversion rates? Lower abandonment rates? Is there one compelling example you believe shows the power of interactive video?

With interactive shoppable video, retailers can turn video assets into sales engines. Merchants should see increased click-through rates, decreased shopping cart abandonment, and increased conversions. A great example is GaiamTV, an online streaming media service that sells subscriptions to its video content. Having experimented with standard video landing pages, GaiamTV was looking to increase its subscriber base. Four weeks after launching an interactive video that allowed viewers to easily navigate through various types of content, GaiamTV doubled subscriptions over its standard video landing page, decreased clicks to purchase, and reduced shopping cart abandonment by 3X.