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5 ways to make brilliant shoppable videos in the year they come of age

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It’s well known that video is a highly effective marketing tool - it’s the language of the modern internet, supporting storytelling, learning and talking to each other. But video’s unique ability to engage with people means it’s also establishing itself as a highly effective sales tool. And we believe that 2022 will be the year that shoppable videos will come of age, taking over the way we shop online.

In fact, according to the latest IAB report, shoppable videos have already been deployed by 40% of marketers. Simultaneously, during November YouTube announced that selected YouTubers including Starrr and Gordon Ramsay will be able to sell goods directly from their videos, whilst Pinterest is launching Pinterest TV which will include a series of live and shoppable videos.

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Why shoppable video?

The key to shoppable video is to remember that it’s content that allows a viewer to buy the product being advertised without being taken out of the video. This is important as shoppable video is most often found on mainstream social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

This is largely due to the great shareability of video on these platforms as well as better engagement and increased reach. As shoppable video is designed to be watched like organic content, taking advantage of the  mammoth hoards of viewers eager to absorb content is a no-brainer. 

Further, unlike some other video formats, shoppable videos are able to acquire greater reach, as the campaign can run for months. But to make the most of the format they need to be pitched to the right audience on the right channel - when this is achieved, they are highly interactive and a great way to capitalise on both impulse buying and anticipation from early adopters. 

With that in mind, here are our top five tips for making an effective shoppable video:

1. Ease of use

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Seamless user experience (UX) is essential for a sales-focused video. It has to be clear that it’s shoppable, where you’re supposed to click and what will happen once you do. Have a single, clear, straightforward call to action - add to cart; buy now; share - but it shouldn’t intrude on the video experience. 

Additionally, use short and simple text annotations. In Ted Baker’s Mission Impeccable shoppable video, for example, all the clothes the actors were wearing were Ted Baker.  Only the items for sale had a link allowing viewers to click on the descriptive annotations to make a purchase.  

2. Test, target, personalise

Have a clear demographic in mind. This is a basic marketing principle, but one that is integral if you go down the influencer route as you’ll need to choose your partners accordingly. Then it’s important to start testing to figure out what works and what doesn’t, from video length through to pacing. 

This insight will also enable you to adapt the video to different customer segments, so that consumers get shown the content most relevant to them, and therefore most likely to convert to a sale. 

3. Make it entertaining 

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The point of a shoppable video is to make something consumers want to watch: it should feel like enjoying a day out shopping rather than watching a QVC-style infomercial. Follow the usual rules of video engagement - show them a story, use emotion and keep it moving. And remember, you’re not trying to sell to them, you’re trying to make it easy for them to buy from you.

US store Neiman Marcus illustrated this well in its 2019 Christmas video, where actress Taraji P. Henson gets locked in the store overnight, so decides to entertain herself by trying on/out the various (shoppable) products on offer.

4. Get the production right

The best way to make a video entertaining or impactful is to double down on quality. You don’t always need a big budget, but people don’t expect amateurism from brands. This is an important point as what you present in your video will reflect on your brand - as video content can increase brand association by 97%.  

Make sure you also optimise for mobile.  It is increasingly the main platform for viewing videos - especially on social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok which were designed specifically as mobile applications. 

5. Make it social 

Like a day out in a shopping mall, shoppable videos are most effective as social, interactive experiences. Making it clear that you can click on the video is a key step for shoppable video, as is allowing for interaction from your customers to like and comment, prompting other viewers to get involved too. Perhaps equally as  important is to ensure you are making it easy to share, thus organically expanding your reach in an entirely new channel.

Brands now have a powerful opportunity to really connect with their customers through video - but it is important that it is executed correctly to make an impact. If brands follow the five key steps outlined above it will ensure they are able to create the most effective shoppable video possible in order to engage with consumers, increase brand awareness and drive sales.

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By Fergus Dyer-Smith, Founder & CEO, Wooshii/Header image by Zara Picken

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