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Online video is increasingly becoming part of the on-site merchandising mix that helps turn browsers into buyers. 37% of Internet Retailer Top 500 retailers use video in some way on their e-retail sites in 2010, inching up from 35% in 2009.
StacksandStacks.com 343 Stacks and Stacks Jewelry Online Sales:$23,900,000 (IR estimate) Growth:-7.40% See More , an e-retailer of home storage and organizational products, uses more than 500 product videos to help merchandise its site. The e-retailer’s internal tests reveal that 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.
Frequent web shoppers consider video an important part of the buying experience. 46% of consumers who shop online more than once a month say having video demonstrations of products in use is important, and 49% say videos that show how to assemble or install a product are important, according to a survey conducted in 2010 by Limelight Networks Inc., a content delivery network that focuses on making web sites load more quickly. Content delivery networks help e-retailers serve up rich media faster by operating servers across the country—and the world—that deliver site data to consumers nearby, so that a consumer in Dallas is accessing data from a server in that city, and not from the retailer’s data center in Boston, for example.
At Living Direct Inc., adding videos that demonstrate a less-familiar product’s unique features and how it operates has contributed to consumers spending more time on the site, the sale of more products and fewer returns. For example, one video describes how a portable ice maker—a product a lot of consumers might be unfamiliar with—works. The e-retailer says consumers spend 9% more time on a page when a video is present, and consumers convert at a higher rate when they watch a video demonstration of a product than those who do not watch.
Surveys invariably show that consumers use rich media features, and are more likely to buy when they do. However, retailers should be cautious not to sacrifice site performance for beauty. Rich media content like video can burden systems and slow site performance. Luckily, there are services that can help e-retailers deliver video’s benefits.
Some e-retailers, such as StacksandStacks.com and Living Direct, find that hiring a vendor to help create videos, host them off site and stream the content to consumers when they click Play is the solution. Others host their video content on YouTube and embed it on site. Regardless of how they support video playback, many online retailers find using a content delivery network is particularly important when offering video and other rich media that can slow the performance of web site pages.