Shopping has always been a visual affair, and now retailers are taking it to the next level with live actors and narratives. Shoppable videos, used mainly for apparel retail, allow customers to watch a mini film and click on items worn or used by the model(s) to favourite or checkout later. While the shoppable video sounds like a simple concept, getting the customer experience right takes a bit more effort.
We tested campaigns from several Canadian retailers and summarized two main ways they are using shoppable videos to drive retail sales.
Use Partnerships To Target New Customers
Department store HBC (Hudson’s Bay Company) partnered with ELLE Canada, the fashion magazine, to target women for the fall season. ELLE Canada is a trusted resource for fashion advice, and HBC leveraged ELLE’s status to create a new sales channel in an innovative fashion. To help customers migrate online, ELLE informed print magazine readers on how to view the videos on their mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.
On the ELLE website, users click on #ShopYourMood and are directed to a shoppable videos page where they can scroll through a number of Fashion Mood videos. As the video plays, you can click on the white dot beside various articles of clothing worn by the model, where you’ll see a pop-up with product information. After clicking on the “shop” icon, we were directed to the HBC website where we selected sizing, colour, and prepared for checkout. HBC and ELLE also build an online community around the shoppable videos by inviting customers to share their fashion moods using the #ShopYourMood hashtag.
While print will never die, there is little doubt that video content is more engaging. ELLE readers will be delighted to see familiar content in a video format, and the convenience of being directly linked to an item that piqued their interest is an added bonus. HBC’s partnership with ELLE Canada proves that the seamless integration of digital and print media is possible, and can translate into co-promotional opportunities for all involved brands.
Go Where Your Customers Already Are
YouTube represents a significant portion of North America’s Internet use, so it makes sense for retailers and brands to use the platform as a new sales channel. Sport Chek teamed up with YouTube for a shoppable video that featured Team Canada athletes in Olympic gear. The innovative ad, which allows YouTube users to click on products as they pop up on screen, is an extension of Sport Chek’s extensive marketing initiatives, from in-store experiential marketing to digital investments.
Unlike shoppable videos hosted on the retailer’s own website or the websites of affiliates, YouTube shoppable videos put product links to one side of the video, which remain until the scene featuring the items end. Users can easily click on the products and be directed to the Sport Chek online store, where they can customize products and prepare for checkout. A good feature of Sport Chek’s YouTube ad is a link that enables the user to shop the entire collection at once instead of waiting for each scene to end. For YouTube viewers with shorter attention spans, this is a welcome feature.
Sport Chek’s shoppable video ad had great timing. The ad was broadcast across YouTube during the Winter Olympics, which meant that their products were top of mind despite the more general target audience. The videos effectively communicated Sport Chek’s branding and provided an excellent user experience by listing products on the right side—eliminating the need to pause the video to get to the targeted item.
What Does This Mean For Your Store?
Retailers have been experimenting with shoppable videos for years, but it’s only recently that the technology has been able to support it. Think of ways you can leverage shoppable videos to your advantage. Should you build a new platform, like HBC did with ELLE Canada, or use an existing platform, like Sport Chek’s YouTube ads?
Remember that the customer experience matters the most at the end of the day, so be consistent in your execution and ensure that all product links work properly. Shoppable videos must also be part of an integrated marketing strategy because they will never stand on their own. Retailers should determine how much budget to allocate to the shoppable video campaign so that it can be successfully integrated with other marketing channels.
Although shoppable videos may be more expensive to produce compared to existing print or digital campaigns, they have the potential to decrease marketing costs in the future as new technology and retail industry disruptions emerge. While more testing needs to be done to determine the effectiveness of shoppable videos compared to other marketing strategies, it is never too late to start thinking about ways to take your store to new heights.