January 4, 2006, 12:00 AM

Lights, camera, jewelry

Ross-Simons has implemented a series of videocasts on Ross-Simons.com featuring Ross-Simons president Darrell Ross and actress and jewelry designer Lauren Koslow. To encourage viewers to become buyers, viewers can click and purchase the merchandise at the same time it’s being featured in the video.

Online jewelers are turning to videocasts as a better way to showcase their big-ticket merchandise. In TV retailing, a smiling host, banter between the host and callers and product close-ups are very effective in moving merchandise such as rings, necklaces, bracelets and other jewelry.

Now, Ice.com and Ross-Simons Inc. are using a similar tactic, videocasts, to promote online sales. In December, Ross-Simons implemented a series of videocasts on Ross-Simons.com. The programs feature Ross-Simons president Darrell Ross and actress and jewelry designer Lauren Koslow talking about new trends in buying and wearing jewelry. To encourage viewers to become buyers, viewers can click and purchase the merchandise at the same time it’s being featured in the video. “Vidoeocasts upgrade our traditional marketing practices by giving us a chance to differentiate and talk about the products we offer online in a new way,” Ross says.

Compared to expensive TV advertising, videocasting is relatively affordable, says Ice.com CEO Shmuel Gniwisch. For instance, Ice.com is spending between $25,000 and $50,000 on its videocast initiative.

The company is building a set and investing in the technology to conduct videocasts beginning this year, Gniwisch says. Customer service reps and other employees will be featured in videocasts that will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on business days and archived for later viewing.

The videocasts will talk about various aspects of buying and caring for jewelry. “We are reaching out to the fence sitters who are afraid to make a purchase,” Gniwisch says. “A videocast is another way we can showcase the merchandise.”

Ice.com will mention its upcoming videocasts in banner ads and in search engine and e-mail marketing campaigns. The company will also embed the videocasts with coding that will help track sales conversions and customer behavior. “We have all the work done on the video side and all we need to do is find the right partner on the distribution side and we’re set,” Gniwisch says. “This is a natural move when you have a successful brand on the Internet.”

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