Selling 18th Century Items Using YouTube

Every e-tailer (big-small, broad-niche, impulse buy-pricey stuff, PPC-SEO, single purchase-lifetime value) has a definite set of strengths and weaknesses.  The key to success is focusing on your strengths.

Jas-townsend.com is a niche e-tailer that is good at making product videos, which they use abundantly throughout their site.  I wonder how many conversions can be directly attributed to these clever videos? Some examples-

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Video Intro

In my humble opinion About Us is the most important page for first-time visitors (Articles: Reeling In First Time Visitors, Baby Steps).  But not everyone likes to read, some shoppers are visual.  Teadog.com understands this group-

On click-

This video doesn’t have the highest production value but it does a good job-

1. Helping first-time buyers understand why they should buy from teadog.com.
2. Describing site layout.
3. Differentiating the store.

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Innovation On The Cheap

Many retailers look at their online channel as just another mode to complete a sale.  But that’s a low yield strategy.  Smart retailers use their online channels to do things that are either extremely expensive or impossible offline.  And the smartest ones execute ideas that are brilliant AND inexpensive.

Ever since discovering eyebuydirect.com through getelastic.com I’ve considered their Wall of Frame a brilliant example of how an online store can be used to do something entirely new.  The best way to convince a customer to buy from you online is to demonstrate how it benefits THEM.  Everyone talks about price advantages and better service blah blah but Wall of Frame is something tangible, something the customer can compare with how they shop offline and see a clear benefit.

What impresses even more is discovering a competitor who sees Wall of Frame, realizes they cannot compete on execution but manages to find a cost effective workaround that seems to work just as well.

That retailer would be Debby Burk Optical.  They’ve created something new with the help of Skype.  If a customer has a Skype account they can make a frame selection and have a Debby Burk associate wear and demo it through Skype video conferencing.  The idea is not fool proof: everyone does not have Skype and just because a frame looks good on a model does not mean it will work for the customer.  Someone who has seen Wall of Frame will remain unimpressed but Debby Burk is making an intelligent bet most of their customers have no idea what Wall of Frame is.  For them seeing Skype is a quantum leap.  Best of all, adding Skype did not require additional development costs.

A year from now if Debby Burk sees Skype interactions increase conversions 10% they can take supplemental income and reinvest it to build their own Wall of Frame.

Related article: SeeCommerce

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Williams-sonoma.com Adds Talking Pictures

Over the next few years online retailers will increasingly start depending on video as a selling tool. Once ready for video these etailers would gain much by studying williams-sonoma.com. Not only is the company a pioneer but their videos are high quality and really accentuate the shopping experience. Excellent execution, Mr. Patrick Connolly.

In the previous post I noted that the quality of an ecommerce site strongly suggests the overall health of the retailer. Well, williams-sonoma.com is a great example of that.

williams-sonomacom-video.png

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More On Video

A few years back I started looking at the differences between bestbuy.com and the best buy stores. One immediate realization was that when at the store a salesperson would help understand why I needed a certain big screen TV. This experience was totally missing online. When I shared this with friends their biggest concern was cost. They believed it to be a very expensive solution for an incremental improvement. But Best Buy did not need high production quality. This could be part of the training program where associates from each store would need to present a sale on camera. Then the marketing department could pick the best videos and post them online.

Today I stand vindicated. J&R Electronics is rolling out hundreds of online videos of sales associates explaining the intricacies of products so the site can mimic customer service in stores.

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Halloween Costumes With Video

BuyCostumes.com started using video on their site last year. Back then it looked clunky and force fitted. 365 days later they have developed a better integrated experience. Video is still used for only popular items but customers seem to like the new site experience better because according to compete.com the ‘Attention’ on the site has gone up 7% from the same time-period last year:

BuyCostumes.com

Also, you can check out their video experience at: http://www.buycostumes.com/Search_All_video/Category/0/Product/10179/ProductDetail.aspx#

Bonus: Here is some interesting Halloween trivia:

– Halloween is a $5 Billion dollar a year market
– The average person spends $65 bucks on Halloween ‘stuff’

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