August 22, 2008, 12:00 AM

If the shoe fits, videotape it

With product videos on Shoeline.com boosting conversion by 44% in a test, the retailer plans to expand the program this fall.

Shoeline.com last year tested adding 10 videos highlighting different shoes on some of its product pages. The videos showed the feet of models sporting the various styles. The items that had videos experienced a 44% increase in conversions. Now, the company is expanding the number of videos to 100.

“With such positive results on our existing videos, the goal right now is to add video to as many of our products as possible,” says Frank Malsbenden, vice president and general manager of Vision Retailing Inc., the parent company of Shoeline.com.

Though Shoeline’s existing product pages had several images of each shoe, the retailer says it added videos to replicate the experience of actually seeing the shoe on the foot, Malsbenden says.

The retailer’s IT team created the 90 or so new videos over two days, and they were recently posted to the site. The original 10 videos went up in February 2007. Each clip is no more than 20 seconds long. The videos are framed to show only the model’s feet as she does a 360-degree turn, pausing briefly to show a front, side, back and bottom view of the shoe. Some show a hint of the model’s clothing for context. Currently, no audio accompanies the videos.

To integrate the video into product pages without making those pages look different from the others, Shoeline designed and built a video player that works within its standard template. “We were careful not to change a product page that was already working and to ensure a consistent look across the site,” Malsbenden says. “Product pages that have video look the same as those that don’t.”

A spokeswoman for Shoeline says the retailer is considering adding more elements to the videos such as voice-overs or full body shots.

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