This week we are talking all about interactive and shoppable videos – advertising content which is disrupting the eCommerce sector.
Make or Break
It is evident that eCommerce is steadily taking over the retail space. According to a study by Empathy Broker, 51% of UK consumers prefer shopping online and 55% admitted that they bought more things online this year than the year before.
This changing landscape requires brands to switch their focus towards the digital space. This year has seen plenty of high street retailers suffer the harsh consequences of lagging behind digitally. To a great extent, the collapse of House of Fraser came as a result of not embracing the potential of eCommerce. It wasn’t until 2017 that the giant started undergoing a digital transformation. However, joining the party late gave HoF little chance of recovering from neglecting their online offering. Indeed, the BBC has noted that, ‘the £25m that it spent on its digital revamp was just half the amount that online retailer ASOS invested in technology in the same year.’ Perhaps as a consequence, in July 2018, the desperate brand were forced to close 31 of their 59 stores and let 6,000 employees go in order to focus on eCommerce.
However, it is questionable whether this move can help them stay afloat. They are competing in a crowded space alongside brands that have been offering a seamless shopping experience for years; Zalando or ASOS for example. Their expertise has also afforded them the luxury of generating a positive and highly recognisable public image.
This crowded online space brings us to a critical issue regarding eCommerce: how can brands stand out online? How can they stay competitive in the online arena?
‘Moments of joy in digital are real.’
Angel Maldonado has conducted research for Empathy Broker. He has stressed the importance of innovation to get the customer experience “right”; ‘Creating more memorable online experiences not only generates sales, it creates emotion, brand connection and loyalty.’ He also has highlighted the need for optimisation of search tools to minimise friction. And while a seamless search bar is essential, there are other ways to help customers find exactly what want. Shoppable videos are a great example.
Shoppable videos are equipped with embedded links that allow viewers to click and buy any item featured in the video. There is no need to go to the website and search for an item you really liked – you are only a few clicks away from the purchase. In a world where attention spans are short and we constantly rush, it is a truly ingenious solution. Shoppable videos are a relatively new concept, and there are only a handful of companies that produce them. We spoke with Eddie Tomalin, VP of Marketing at WIREWAX, UK’s leading interactive video company. WIREWAX pioneered the technology behind shoppable videos and offer brands access to their tools and create interactive video campaigns for them. Their client portfolio spans a huge range of big names across all areas of industry. We’re talking Nike and Ted Baker; the BBC and Microsoft.
What do you think is the main reason for shoppable videos being so successful?
Shoppable video greatly reduces the friction of a transaction. It significantly shortens the path to conversion and therefore naturally increases the likelihood it’ll happen. Shoppable video is inherently engaging, aspirational and ultimately drives action at a much higher rate than the mundane experience presented by many retailers.
What is the key to creating a well-performing shoppable video?
You need to prompt people so that they can take action. In a world full of passive viewing, viewers need to be prompted that this is an interactive experience. Video viewers are used to just watching, which is a dull experience, to say the least. As interactive media continues to take precedence over traditional video users will soon be expecting this level of interactive experience. This new technology also gives people a chance to be creative and that’s why you see such a variety of different content types that fall under the umbrella of interactive video.
What’s the difference between the insights that shoppable videos give you about customer behaviour, and the insights you get from a standard video ad?
Traditional videos are regularly measured by views, which in reality is now a better measure of media spend over actual organic performance. You can’t buy engagement, and shoppable videos show huge amounts of it through the entire length of the video. Recent WIREWAX data shows that audiences typically spend twice as long with an interactive video over a non-interactive version. 67% of viewers also lean forward and take action and on average we see 16% of an audience click through compared to the single figure percentages widely associated with traditional video types.
How does using shoppable videos help established companies boost their brand image?
If you want to utilise video to sell your products and services, which rightly many do, it’s far better to give people to access what they want quickly. For example, if you want to use video to sell a pair of trainers, why not make it easy? With shoppable video, you can create interactive hotspots that allow people to tap on the trainers and buy them it’s really that easy. Brands are always looking for a way to optimise their acquisition of new customers and importantly retain existing ones. Traditional e-commerce needs shaking up and shoppable video is doing just that.
How can new companies (without established brand identity) leverage shoppable videos to set themselves apart from competitors?
If you’re looking to educate, inform or sell products and services then whatever your level of brand exposure, chances are you’re already using video, so shoppable video is a natural progression.
What direction do you think shoppable videos will go in in the future?
It won’t be long before all video will be interactive across all your devices. As users adjust to this emerging medium they’ll soon come to expect it and be disappointed by anything else.
Do you see potential in using shoppable videos by influencers?
Yes, the emerging shoppable landscape can learn and leverage from the existing video one. Influencers will be able to drive better conversion rates for brands if it’s now easier for people watching to be able to buy whatever is being promoted. Measurement is also an important part of understanding success here and brands have a far easier measure of success as they’ll be able to tell which items were the most popular in any given video at any given time.
How labour-intensive is editing videos to make them shoppable at the moment? How can it change in the future with the use of AI?
Interactive video certainly used to be labour intensive exercise and still is for those not using the correct toolsets. WIREWAX leverages a smart combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically detect people and products within videos giving users a selection of suggestions that they can quickly get started with. This greatly increases the delivery time on this creative type. WIREWAX Studio has been developed over several years and we work closely with our customers to iterative and optimise its design in order to make the creative even more rewarding.
The strength behind interactive videos is that they fulfil the immediate desire to purchase. They remove all the friction that customers may encounter. Plus, in the long term, they help brands, both new and well-established, build and maintain customer loyalty whilst showcasing their innovation.
If you are looking for a new eCommerce role, get in touch with us. We specialise in digital placements and are always keen to hear from talented eCommerce specialists!