March 7, 2011, 1:36 PM

Product videos raise purchase likelihood for Stacks and Stacks

The housewares e-retailer says site-specific videos perform better than manufacturer videos.

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StacksandStacks.com, an e-retailer of home storage and organizational products, began adding manufacturer-produced product videos to its site about 18 months ago and original product videos about a year ago. Its video library now includes some 500 videos and tests reveal a consumer who views a product video is up to 144% more likely to add that product to her cart than a consumer who watches no video, says Cathy McManus, the e-retailer’s marketing director.

McManus says the 50 original product videos Stacks and Stacks features produce the best results, though she offered to figures to back that up. Invodo, a video production company for e-retailers, scripts, films and hosts the original product videos. It also hosts the manufacturer-made videos. The e-retailer pays a flat monthly fee to Invodo for its services; while McManus declines to disclose the fee, she says she considers it cost-effective because of the impact it has had on sales.

She says she aims for a long-term 10 to 1 return on any marketing-related investment and that while the site’s return on video isn’t there yet, it’s getting close. “It takes time to build,” she says.

McManus says she decides which products are good candidates for videos by analyzing sales statistics and the complexity of each item. “The products that need more explanation are the ones you want to show,” she says. “A lot of products you need to see how it installs or if it folds, how does it fold? It definitely helps to see it in action.”

She says she hasn’t yet tracked the impact the videos have had on product returns or customer service calls, but says she thinks both will fall as a result of the additional information the videos provide. The produced videos run about one minute and 20 seconds each; the lengths of manufacturer-produced videos vary. McManus says she is working with some product manufacturers to have them help cover the production costs for original videos of their products, and that most are receptive because they can see that original videos are driving more conversions among Stacks and Stacks customers.

 “Customers contact us and say, ‘I didn’t know how the heck it was going to be constructed, but the video made it look so simple,’” she says. McManus thinks the videos are more effective selling tools for some customers than the original text Stacks and Stacks tries to write for each product it carries. “Sometimes it is hard to express what customers want to know about a product in copy without boring them half to death,” she says. “Video is one way to do it without expressing it in words.”

Stacks and Stacks is No. 343 on Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.

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