October 2, 2008, 12:00 AM

Videos improving sales at Pets United sites—if shoppers view them

5% to 25% of shoppers viewing a product on Pets United sites also view the associated video, with loading time a key factor.

PetsUnited LLC has made a $1 million-plus commitment to video on its sites, with well over 1,200 videos across three of nine sites-Dog.com, Horse.com and Statelinetack.com-and plans to add more at the rate of about 100 videos per month. So far, “It appears that a general rule is, if someone watches a video on a product, that improves the sale of that product by about 50%,” says Alex Tabibi, co-founder and CEO.

Tabibi notes that’s an estimate, and that with the videos having been on the sites for less than a year, the complexities of tracking their performance for hard data still are being ironed out. Over the next year, Tabibi says, the company will be working on associating a marketing expense with each video so as to more precisely calculate its effect on sales and return on investment. “If it turns out that overall it reduces our marketing expense as a percentage of sales, then we will have found something worthwhile which we’ll continue to do,” he says.

The retailer already has learned that the percentage of visitors viewing a product who also view a video about it ranges from 5% to 25%, and that viewership of video depends in part on how soon the video starts to play, according to Tabibi. Because customer response to the videos is stronger when the videos fully load prior to play, eliminating a long wait for download, Pets United compresses file size to reduce the bandwidth needed to transmit them over the Internet. To further ensure fast-loading video files on its sites, Pets United also made the decision to serve them using Limelight Networks Inc.’s content distribution network.

PetsUnited LLC is no. 194 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites.


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