7/09/08

In-house pet care and product videos coming to DrsFosterandSmith.com

Direct marketer of pet supplies and medicines Drs. Foster & Smith will expand its commitment to video this month with the rollout of product and pet care videos on its e-commerce site. Web videos are produced by an in-house creative team.

Bill Briggs , Senior Editor

Direct marketer of pet supplies and medicines Drs. Foster & Smith Inc. will expand its commitment to video this month with the rollout of product and pet care videos on its e-commerce site. Earlier this year the retailer introduced “Drs. Foster & Smith’s Faithful Friends,” a cable TV show that educates pet owners about proper pet care.

The syndicated TV show now is seen in 70% of the country and growing, Internet marketing and analysis manager Gordon Magee tells Internet Retailer. “We’ve committed to a second season,” he says.

The TV show also airs on Discovery Communiations LLC’s Animal Planet network on Sunday mornings. Drs. Foster and Smith is No. 91 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and Discovery Communications is No. 183.

Web videos are being produced by an in-house creative team, which was already in place through Drs. Foster and Smith’s long-standing catalog channel.

Product videos are a mix of “how-to” segments, such as cleaning a dog’s ears, and product-related shorts, Magee says. “Product-related videos will help customers get a better feel for how a pet interacts with a toy or a piece of furniture,” he says. “Over time we will have more web videos, probably including company history and maybe to explain the promotion of the week.”

The retailer set up a studio in-house and shoots videos in high definition. Product videos are short, usually about 30 seconds, while how-to videos can be up to three or four minutes.

Committing to video is an all-or-nothing proposition to Drs. Foster and Smith. In addition to the financial investment – which Magee would only describe as “expensive” – there is a need to produce high-quality content.

Static photos for catalogs and web pictures, which the retailer has plenty of experience creating, require a different style than video, he says. “Once you go to video you are competing with the quality of TV and all other video,” Magee says. That requires close attention to such variables as scripting, sound quality, line delivery and voice-over. “Video quality has to be great because it will tell the customer about you. If the quality is not there it will take away from everything else you do,” he says.

Drs. Foster and Smith has in place another prerequisite: a staff member who understands video production and editing. On the technology side, videos must load and play quickly or the consumer will go elsewhere, he adds.

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Entertainment Culture, Human Interest, Technology Internet, Video hosting

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