Brands that want to stay ahead of the competition are leveraging e-commerce media to increase engagement and conversion rates with shoppers. Here’s a brief review of the e-commerce media options available, and why you should consider them for your marketing strategies.
1. Recorded Video: the original e-commerce media
Creating the perfect on-site experience through addition of video has a direct, positive impact on sales.
Product videos, compared to written descriptions, don’t feel as bulky or tedious. They bring storytelling to life while offering a comprehensive view of the product in action and answering customer questions, all at once. When they’re done right, product videos can serve a combination of needs: Marketing, Reviews, and Answers to FAQs.
The statistics now tilt overwhelmingly in favor of video marketing, making it impossible to ignore.
- People are 4X more likely to watch a product video than they are to read a product description
- Consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching it used in a video.
- Bounce rates fall dramatically for online stores that feature product videos, and average time on page increases > 3X.
- Watching product videos makes consumers more confident about their purchase.
Among all the e-commerce media, video has been around the longest. Over time, marketers have fine-tuned the art of product videos to adapt to the attention and interest levels of their desired audiences, as well as their preferred learning styles (Reading onscreen text or headlines while watching? Listening to a Narrator? Images only with no narration at all? Music? What kind of mood and tone?) For many brands where their product’s uses aren’t obvious, the “explainer video” style is the most popular.
It’s gotten easier to make your own videos, though you can also hire it out if you want a more professional look and feel, with production-quality audio and video. You can compare reviews of production companies here. Or find one to hire on gig platforms such as Upwork.
2. Live Streaming Video
Live streaming has been popular in China since at least 2013. Its early rise was made possible by Chinese cutting-edge technological infrastructure and resources, especially platforms like Taobao and TikTok. While in the US we mainly know TikTok for viral memes and teenagers performing their favorite arts, in China these platforms are used in a big way for their serious e-commerce capabilities.
A well-prepared live stream presentation can emphasize the strengths, uses, and advantages of a consumer product, allowing the presenter to reveal its different facets and operations while directly engaging with an audience. A helper can monitor comments and questions, passing the best ones along to the presenter in real-time to make a session even more interactive. For obvious reasons, live streaming captures and holds a user’s attention for far longer than any static images or text could achieve.
Build loyalty, increase profits
Through video streaming, brands have the opportunity to raise the value of the average basket and make more profit. Both video and live streaming can be optimized for organic search through application of SEO or hashtags, and for maximizing engagement with prospective buyers. Likewise, brands can accumulate loyal Followers on these apps by building their own in-app media channels.
At the same time, you benefit from a better conversion rate. It yields a higher number of prospects who turn into buyers. Live shopping can be deployed by many kinds of retailers, wholesalers, semi-wholesalers, supermarkets, and companies of almost any size. Any size company that wishes to optimize its conversion rate and reap more profits can appropriate this formula.
Target your e-commerce media to specific demographics
Many brands that use live streaming often collaborate with Influencers. This offers them the chance to vary the content and target different age groups. While TikTok is still mainly popular with those under 30, apps like Twitter Live, Periscope, Facebook and Instagram Live, and YouTube capture an older demographic, so you can do your precise targeting by selecting the appropriate presenters on the appropriate channels, and segmenting your audience further within the platforms through filtering.
3. Augmented Reality
Using Augmented reality to create immersive shopping experiences is another strategy that’s gaining in popularity. AR is becoming a preferred way for tech-savvy consumers to preview product variations such as color or style differences. Most customers look for the widest assortment to make a choice between products. With AR, before purchasing anything, they can first visualize and then select from all available modifications of the product.
You’ve got to be mobile-ized
AR tech is mostly for mobile devices since the user needs to move about and capture different angles with their camera to line up the images where they’re needed. It’s essential, therefore, that your brand or store has its own mobile app for integrating AR capability.
But looking at the numbers, it’s worth the investment. Business Insider concluded that m-commerce (mobile e-commerce) was worth about $284 billion, or 45% of the total U.S. e-commerce market, by the end of 2020. Looking toward the future, this means that for some e-merchants, the more conversion-oriented tools like AR that you have, the better.
What AR enables for shoppers
The best-known brand that’s been leveraging AR for a few years already is IKEA. Shoppers can place virtual IKEA furnishings in their homes to assess how well they’ll fit with the room’s size and other decors. The Houzz marketplace channel is another major site that offers AR capabilities. But while furniture is still the most popular product category for AR applications, it’s not the only one. It’s also used for things like apparel, shoes, accessories, even wigs.
For shoppers, this means they can:
- Preview product variations like colors, sizes, and styles
- Explore looks and features
- Provide tactile feelings
- Increase the time they spend in stores
- Imitate a real in-store experience
- Eliminate doubts and reduce the chance of needing to make a return
Finding a good AR solution to add to your store app
A good DIY solution is Zapworks, which lets your build a basic AR feature into your own mobile app.
Moving up the scale, there’s also a packaged solution tailored best for in-home products called Augment.
For a higher end, pro-level solution that includes 360-degree rotating product views and virtual reality tech, there’s Marxent.
For more details about the kinds of product visualization tools available today, see this article. Whichever of these strategies makes the most sense for the types of products you sell, adopting at least one of them will keep you up with both the competition, and with the increasing social, aesthetic and convenience demands of online shoppers.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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