May 9, 2013, 3:36 PM

A mobile app offers an inexpensive way to shoot product videos

Liveclicker’s MobileStudio app includes templates and licensed music for fast product video production.

Lead Photo

A retailer films a product video with MobileStudio

MobileStudio is a new app that helps retailers quickly create product videos using an iPhone, iPad or iPad mini. It allows retailers to scale up their video production, perhaps making 20 or 40 videos per day, without needing to spend lots of time and money on studio production, says Justin Foster, co-founder of the company that built the app, Liveclicker,  which provides video products and services for e-commerce.

The app comes with movie templates, pre-licensed music and editing features like fade-ins that are designed to be easy for anyone to use, he says. Two people can make a video in minutes, with one shooting and one demonstrating the product features on camera, he says. Liveclicker automatically creates a desktop, smartphone and tablet version of each video a retailer shoots.

MobileStudio is available for free for Liveclicker customers, who pay a monthly fee for the vendor’s services, Foster says. Liveclicker includes a list of recommended add-ons to use with the app, such as a tripod and lenses that attach to an iPad case, and says the total cost of an entire setup including the iPad runs $1,500 to $2,000.

The small set-up enables retailers to justify making more videos that are shorter in length, not having to bring the resources of a full-blown studio to bear for a quick, simple clip. As mobile by nature begets a shorter attention span, the ability to quickly and efficiently create short video clips for mobile web sites will be increasingly important for e-retailers, Foster says.

Compared to shoppers who watch longer product videos, those who watch presentations lasting 90 seconds or less purchase 24.7% more often, spend 14.1% more for each video play and complete their purchases 15.1% more quickly, Foster says. Liveclicker compared behaviors after consumers watched 22,000 product videos on the web sites of its clients across 12 industries, including e-commerce. Consumer electronics is the only category for which shorter videos don’t outperform longer ones, he says, likely because those goods are more complex and consumers give them more consideration before buying.

Additionally, while Foster doesn’t yet have data about mobile video consumption as it compares to desktop viewing, he says it’s clearly on the rise.

One retailer that agrees is web-only bags seller eBags Inc., No. 149 in the Internet Retailer Top 500. In 2012, eBags had 480,000 unique visitors to its mobile site each month, and those shoppers accounted for $8.065 million in sales, or 5.4% of the retailer’s $150 million in web sales for 2012, according to Internet Retailer estimates. In Q1 2013, 16% of traffic stemmed from tablets; 90% of tablet traffic came from iPads. During the same quarter, 16% of traffic stemmed from smartphones; 12% of total traffic came from iPhones and 3.5% of total traffic came from Android phones.

Customers who watch short—one-minute or less—product videos on eBags’ web site convert 37.3% more often than those who do not, generate 21.5% more revenue for each video play and purchase items 5.7% faster after watching, says eBags co-founder and executive vice president Peter Cobb.

“Now so many people access our site via mobile devices,” he says. “So we feel like video is ideal for the way people are engaging with us.”

EBags has about 800 videos on its web site and would like to increase that to 5,000, Cobb says. He is looking into MobileStudio as a way to that cost effectively. Normally, eBags selects about 40 products every few months and shoots videos of those items at a production studio. The e-retailer spends at least another week working on edits with the specialists, he says. A single video produced that way can cost around $300, he says. Because some products are in stock for only a few months, such as a $120 handbag, he says the cost and effort of shooting videos for those products isn’t always worth it.

“It may not eventually be the same quality, but if you can produce 20 or 100 times the quantity, you’ll be better off from a sales standpoint and a customer standpoint,” he says. “If you can have five videos in a month of Academy Award-winning quality or 500 videos a month and have something appropriate for your customer base, any of us would choose 500.”

The retailer will continue to shoot some professional videos for other parts of the web site, such as how-to videos on packing luggage or picking the best back-to-school backpack, he says.  But for many product videos, Cobb says he would like to have a small green screen background set up in eBags’ office for merchandisers or even interns to spend some time every day shooting short product descriptions. “The ideal dream would be a video on every product and a video for every situation,” he says.

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