Shoppable and Interactive Videos: Baton Of E-Commerce Handed to the Right Trend

August 10, 2017 Written By Hemant Parmar

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Youtube and Alibaba Shopping Videos

Are you reading this? Or is your cognitive system too lazy to read whatever I have scrabbled? Am I keeping you engaged enough, to not make you lose your attention for this article? You must have leaped this article already? Do I even have a reader here? Hello, Are you there? I am unaware about your whereabouts, I don’t even know if my efforts would bear fruits, but let me give my explanation a whirl.

It’s not your fault. Texts are processed slowly, universally. Brains are usually wired to interpret visuals much faster than the carved words. I know I have been sailing on a boat of irony, but that is how it is.

Visuals trump texts.

In fact, 90% of the information transferred to our brains are visuals. The whole and the sole reason is – Procrastinating receptor. No, it is not a lame joke but a wisecrack. Our lazy receptors are hardwired to avert the cognitive strain and they always move towards the fissures which are easy to fill. Videos are believed to be processed 60,000 times faster than text.

According to Forrester research, “A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. But I have a difference of opinion for the stated research. “A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, 95% of better understanding, 90% of better decision-making abilities, 85% of better brand value, 80% of better eCommerce sales and 60% of better employment rates”. A minute of video is responsible for the existence of human race. That sounds exaggerated, but indirect benefits are often ignored. The importance of two bits- 0 & 1 can’t be ignored.

Interactive video marketing and shoppable videos have taken those two bits to another level. They have become two of the major ingredient for a perfect recipe of eCommerce cuisine.

This is what Google has to say on shoppable and interactive videos after its launch of a new channel gadget on youtube.

To shorten the path to purchase and translate video views to sales, today we’re introducing a new channel gadget on YouTube that will enable consumer goods brands to connect consumers directly with retailers throughout the entire YouTube experience. This new channel gadget will enable shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing how-to videos and featured products to finding which retailers carry them, check availability, compare prices and make a purchase, all with fewer clicks than today.

As Google states, the interactive video offers a quick way for consumers, it reduces the sales channel and purchases funnel, it is very much possible for everyone to rely on this trend to strengthen their sale.

We are instantly smacked with the names of YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, whenever we talk about digital media and video service applications. They have been so successful in cementing their places in the world of digital media, that they are used as generic trademarks for it. How have these platforms translated the video views into the sale?

YouTube: A T-Shaped Tube with Three Ends. Central One to View, Second to Market and Third to Sell

We are aware of how YouTube has revolutionized the digital world in the past decade. However, its role has been transferred from “just projecting the videos” to “marketing and sale for companies”. It is one of the best shoppable video platforms, besides, it is a great social selling phenomenon.

The confirmed analogy for it could be a T-shaped tube, where the central shape protruding is to view the videos and the other two ends are used to combine the flow of sales and marketing. It is estimated that about 6 billion hours are watched per month on YouTube, 100 hours of videos are uploaded every minute and 1 billion unique visits take place each month. Hence, YouTube is the junction which controls the flow of sales and marketing based on how interactive the views are.

How YouTube has evolved from a video sharing website to handling an e-commerce business at a different phase of its existence?

YouTube is a video sharing website (2005):

YouTube’s general principle worked upon metastasizing videos to everyone having access to the internet.

YouTube enters in advertising partnerships/pre-roll ads(2006):

It entered into marketing and advertisement with NBC in 2006. Now, most of the videos have pre-roll ads which are promotional videos before the actual content starts.

YouTube permits to add interactive elements using annotations(2011):

YouTube started to permit its users to add texts, hyperlinks and interactive elements on the videos which could help customers in getting navigated directly to the website. It was meant to serve the tray of options to the interested customers. Annotations make the video more interactive and engaging. But using them sparingly is important because overuse of it may confuse the customers.

YouTube Launches Click-to-Shop Button to TrueView Ads(2015):

YouTube decided to reduce the process of sale funnel, which made it introduce the click to shop button on the video itself. This led to the shortening of purchase path for consumers. They were offered with the best schemes on their favorite networking site.

Since YouTube has its merits, it is also sewed with some of the demerits. They are not some tenacious mountains, they are just another hurdles which could be crossed with proper conviction.

A lot of users have ad-blockers:

Ads are probably turn offs because they hamper the continuity. This is the reason why about 30% internet browsers have ad blockers. This puts a puddle of mud to the hard work engrossed.

Viewers have the option to skip the video:

A maximum number of users press the skip button within the frame of 5 seconds. Having said that, it destroys the chances of any kind of conversion.

Viewers come to YouTube for entertainment, they don’t want you to interrupt their experience:

Most of the YouTube users seek it as an entertainment source. They don’t want to be sold to your product because of unready mindset. They are not prepared to loosen their pockets. This makes your endorsement an exasperating experience for them.

Copyright Issues on YouTube:

We all know that per 1000 views are paid on YouTube. But the real problem lies in copyright issues. A lot of unethical subscribers steal and upload the ads and product descriptive videos, and get paid. This is termed as wrongful appropriation.

These are some of the online barriers faced by eCommerce marketing. They can be decimated by a little presence of mind. Here is my pearl of wisdom for it:

Don’t force the user to watch your ad, let them watch it by their rational interest:

Don’t muscle users to watch your ad. Give them an option of skipping it. But make sure to utilize 5 seconds in the best possible way. Though 5 seconds are jiffy, make sure that you lure your viewer by keeping a bait. Let them watch it by their rational interest and not by force. Be creative and draw their attention.

Note: Creativity is a subjective matter. Sometimes, no matter how creative you are, you fail to appease your targeted audience.

Draw attention immediately:

Draw the attention of your viewers as soon as they are about to abandon your ad. Use phrases like, “Don’t skip this, this video might help you” or “Halt right there”.

This might break their scheme and grab you in the immediate notice of them. Check out this video in which actors are trying to pursue its users to not to skip their video.

Don’t worry, YouTube has found a way to stop plagiarism:

Yes, you heard it right. A lot of ads and products are stolen on YouTube, just for few views and handful of bucks. YouTube has found a way to slow down the plagiarism, if not stop it completely. YouTube will no longer allow creators to make money until they reach 10,000 views. Thus, the official makers of ad/product descriptive videos would be paid relatively.

Hulu: The Primary Meaning of It in Chinese is the Holder of Precious Things, and Rightly So

Just like YouTube, Hulu has solidified its position in digital media. 70 to 80% of Hulu subscribers watch their favorite shows and sitcoms at their homes. Hulu holds the horde of shows, movies and now e-commerce, making its name and meaning completely justifiable.

We all drool over the haberdasheries and wardrobes, which we see in our programs. What better place than our Adobe to buy something that we watch? Yes, that’s astonishing but true. Hulu is focusing on interactive shoppable videos, which would allow its users to shop directly from the videos/programs which they are watching. It also engages its users in buying the movie tickets with the help of QR codes. Users just have to scan their QR code from the TV ads and book their tickets. This is called bringing an e-commerce to television (T-commerce).

Let us check what Ben Smith, Hulu’s senior VP and head of the experience had a say on shoppable videos:

We have always believed that TV should fit your lifestyle, not the other way around. You shouldn’t have to think about whether something is live, recorded or on demand, or care about which device you’re using. TV is about connecting with the shows, movies, and sports you love—and we want to make that really easy for you, no matter where you’re watching.

However, there are certain issues with the trend. This trend might not give its users a seamless experience. The continuity is disrupted. And it can be a repelling participation for the users. One smart method to dilute users’ annoyance is – Don’t disrupt the course of action. Yes, let them watch their programs until they cease to stream. Once the show is over, give them a reminder or option to pin the items. Bookmarking the items is another method. Let your user’s book mark the items and put them in the cart. Give them a gentle notification when they are done with their shows.

Ted Breaker: Breaks the Internet with Its Shoppable Video without Shoppable Features

Ted Baker is a British luxury retail company which has taken the shoppable video trend in the most efficacious way. It published a short thriller film in an interesting way. The video featured the latest collections of the company. It projected a scenario which gave a proof of how an e-commerce world would look like if it comes to reality? All the clothing items had a clickable icon. Just by a touch, the product would move to a ‘vault’. What’s interesting was that the vault could be moved to a shopping bag for purchase (after the film gets over).

Even though without the shoppable features, the YouTube version of the video has crossed 4 million views. The instructiveness of the video is believed to have surged the online purchases and brand engagement by 30%. After the release of a 1st video, Ted Baker are analyzing which part of the videos are most engaging. They are also analytical about how users interact with their sites after their smart videos. This helped them to do subtle changes to their website.

  • They removed the vault reducing the purchase funnel to just two steps process.
  • The new videos were shorter and included a handful products (eradicates any kind of confusion from customer’s mind).

Alibaba: Launched Its Video Streaming Service, Preparing to Enhance Its E-Commerce Sale through It

Alibaba, also known as “Amazon” of China has its unlimited video offerings for some of the smart TV users in China. This move by Alibaba makes it a potential competitor to Youtube and Netflix from the United States. But how is video streaming linked to the online sale or eCommerce? Well, the link is not surreptitious, it has to be observed neatly.

Jack Ma is a razor sharp head. He is eyeing at probable sales for his e-commerce through his video contents. The layout is almost ready. Execution is the only thing left. TBO (Tmall Box Office) gives access to Chinese and foreign shows. But it is expected to introduce shoppable videos which could intensify the sales of e-commerce. So, the founder and other finest brains of Alibaba have already stretched their limbs in the path of shoppable videos, assuming the bright future in it.

A lot of other e-commerce companies have sensed the vivid future of shoppable videos. But some of the genuine challenges, which need immediate addresses are:

How to Use Videos When Products are Out Of Stock?

Videos are permanently stored in YouTube and other channels. It is possible that an old video (supposedly of 2016) which has a great view rate might not have the product in 2017. It is a waste of viewership. It also creates a negative impact on the user. The annotation attached to the videos might land your user to nowhere, resulting in depletion of conversion.

For example, Zendaya’s Shoppable Video which was published on 13th Of Feb in 2016, has most of its product out of stock (today’s date). An act like this could thrust back your user and of course, make your efforts futile.

One way to stop the breakdown of your clients is to show the similar or related kind of products. It should be visually and functionally similar. But again, you can’t tag similar products manually to the video. It may be a time-consuming methodology. Another thing which can be done is to link the video with another video (video with available products).

Commercial Success Stories: Blood Vessels for V-commerce

Since shoppable videos are at its dawn, success stories available in the market are very less. A lot of merchants, retailers and even customers are waiting to hear about its success stories. Success stories ensure a safe bet for everyone. It is not the purest kind of issue, but something in which market is lagging. Immediate addresses to it may empower merchants and retailers with confidence.

User-Interface Complexity: Needed to be Solved as early as Possible

The process of the shoppable video is the bit strenuous. The complexity of its execution is a challenge for every platform. There is no fixed Constitution for the layout of websites and applications. This has kept retailers to cool their heels and wait for the perfect module. Since the current trend is at an early stage, an excess of experimentation with user-interface might backfire. The fear of experimentation is expected to go out with time. For e-merchants, it is advisable to undergo a lot of research and development before diving into this trend.

Scalability of the Trend: Should be Easy to Use

Scalability of the trend is under constant question because the project is in its inception. Also, the production of videos is costly. Most of the solutions don’t allow simple integration with the e-commerce. This is why the particular space needs quick research and innovation in it. However, YouTube and other media have made it much easier for the users to take advantage of this course.

Hotspot Availability: Should Last Longer

Sometimes, hotspots (clickable items) disappear without prior notice. These don’t go well with the customers. They may not appear long enough to grab customer’s click. Hotspots are the only sources which make your customers reach to your product. The timings allotted to them must be long enough to bear fruits.

Items Clicked should Immediately be Pinned: Bookmarking is Important

Technical glitches are part of this world. More often than not, products which are clicked, don’t appear in the cart. Bookmarking of the products gets eminently important. A customer loses its interest when his efforts don’t bear rewards.

Customers Unsure for Correct Click: Don’t Mess your User-Interface

Several shoppable videos have messy UI and messier hotspots. A large number of hotspots might rebut your customers. Try to keep User Interface clean as much as possible. Multiple options are good but ensure that you don’t block their decision making power.

Recommended Read: How Multiple Options can Confuse Customers?

If the above issues are greeted in a positive way, there are likable chances of this trend surpassing every other trend in terms of converting hits. With the pace it is hobbling, its chances are supreme – there is no doubt about it.

The Inference

Shoppable and interactive videos are at embryonic phase. But the embryo of them is all set to flourish. Glimpses of its flourishment are already seen in the form of giants like Youtube and Hulu. It is just a stride away from becoming the most successful e-commerce trend. The coming year would be a litmus test to its practicality, scalability, and feasibility. By 2018, videos would account for 70% of internet traffic, and this is the reason why advertisers are embracing video streaming as their dominant weapon.

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