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Ecommerce: Online video content

Retailers are increasingly using online video content to drive sales and boost customer loyalty.

As consumers demonstrate an appetite for short bursts of video, particularly via social media, retailers are rapidly adding them to their digital armoury. They can be used to deliver brand stories and entertain shoppers, thereby building loyalty, and provide greater product information.

Video has long been used for pure advertising purposes, but now lifestyle and trend-led videos are being created to boost traffic to ecommerce sites and generate a buzz around brands and collections. Videos hosted on product pages demonstrating how items move with the wearer are also being used.

Examples of those leading the field include Very, New Look and womenswear independent The Dressing Room in St Albans, which all create videos to highlight trends and top picks, while brands like bespoke tailor Timothy Everest produce films to demonstrate their ethos and collections.

Others use the medium to build loyalty by offering shoppers a unique insight. H&M shot a behind-the-scenes video with David Beckham as he created his edit of their collection, while menswear brand E Tautz has featured designer Patrick Grant interviewing other designers such as Henry Holland.

Speaking to Drapers during a recent Twitter interview, New Look group digital director Jack Smith said video is “becoming really important” as content is becoming a real differentiator. New Look regularly uploads videos showcasing elements of its collections and style guides, including one on denim fit and a series of lighthearted ‘Fashion fit’ videos in which shoppers use items such as handbags for weightlifting exercises.

“Video is one of the main elements that is starting to develop, from brand video to vlogging,” Smith says, adding that the retailer will consider encouraging customers to share their own videos with the company to boost engagement.

Andrew Roscoe is head of marketing at Very, where “video as a channel has grown significantly over the last three years”, attracting more than
12 million completed YouTube views in 2014. He says: “Consumers are viewing less traditional media and more video content online. As a result, technology is changing rapidly. We’re now able to create smart video in real time that’s personalised for each viewer. Much of our video content is also shoppable.”

Timothy Everest used his latest video to launch his debut autumn 15 Every Day Tailoring collection and “introduce a different collection to a new audience”. “Video is a great marketing tool as it says so much in a couple of minutes and it’s an intro to the brand/season, which leads to direct sales.”

He adds: “Video is important in retail as you are reaching out to a time-precious audience who need to understand your offer quickly. By using video you are empowering them to make up their own mind.

I think it will become even more important as it is already proven to capture the consumer’s imagination and hold their attention. With the homogeny of retail the consumer is now looking for a point of differentiation and video is an easy way to be different.”

Deryane Tadd, director of Drapers Independents Award-winning The Dressing Room, uploads weekly or fortnightly videos featuring her style picks, which can attract up to 2,000 hits each. “As soon as we put one out we get people coming in straight away for the things we have featured; it really has an amazing effect. You can’t have that conversation with every customer that walks through the door or goes online, so they appreciate that personal element and you can talk them through the picks. They like to see the personality behind the business, which is great for independents.”

Videos also help her reach a wider audience as shoppers and bloggers share the content and “it adds a few thousand pounds to turnover in a week.”

Retailers such as Asos.com, Topshop and Very are also using video on product pages to provide 360-degree views of clothing. Very’s Roscoe says: “Video allows us to demonstrate a garment’s length on the body, as well as how it fits and moves. This type of content also has business benefits in terms of driving higher conversion and lower return rates.”

The bigger impact is seen on returns, with these videos found to reduce figures by as much as 35% for some retailers, according to Scot Warner, who leads online imaging company SpinMe’s R&D team.

“It’s a trust thing as well,” he says. “When you go into a shop you can pick [clothes] up and feel them; when you go online that’s taken away. Shoppers want to see how it really looks and acts in a video.”

Sjors Bos, general manager for digital content firm iHeart Studios, said he had seen “a huge spike in videos” requested by retailers since mid-last year to support still life images. These videos are likely to cost £18 to £40 per item depending on the complexity.

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