When you start a presentation by posing the question, “Who here thinks that sex sells?” you’re likely to grab the audience’s attention. Which means you can then pose the next question, “Who thinks that video sells?” Both – unsurprisingly – get people raising their hands to say, “Me, I do!”
This is how Nancy Jenkins, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Swimwearboutique.com began her recent presentation about online video at eTail. Her site is the perfect venue for both as it’s a swimsuit seller that uses lots of online video. But the company hadn’t always used video to sell its suits. Only recently did Swimwearboutique.com start to utilize video, recognizing how powerful a sales tool it could be to its demographic.
“Videos are a very good way for us to play to our audience,” said Jenkins. But she warned that when online retailers decide to incorporate video, they must understand where the money they’re putting in is going. The most important part about getting into online video, according to Jenkins, is planning your strategy. She quoted Abraham Lincoln who said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend four hours sharpening the ax.” Don’t just do video to do video – figure out your message, she said. These are the top priorities to align before allocating budget for online video, she said:
1. Selection of video partner
2. Define scope and attributes
3. Define the message you want to be received
4. Budget and payback analysis
5. Confirmed goal – quantitative and qualitative
6. Discuss implementation details
7. Synergy with your partner (make sure they are meeting your needs)
At Swimwearboutique.com, one of the main benefits of using video is to upsell. For instance, the woman watching the video is primarily interested in the bathing suit being displayed, but she might also like the sarong that the model is wearing, or some other accessory. “We’re selling a lifestyle,” said Jenkins.
Another tip from Jenkins is to write down everything you want to achieve. It’s simple enough but very important to write it rather than to just think about it. “Write it down because then you’re accountable for it,” she said. Once you’ve decided how involved you’re going to be in video, you have to make some considerations about the production of the videos and how you want to source that work. In Swimwearboutique.com’s case, the company decided on a full-service video provider. What is full service? According to Jenkins, a full-service video firm handles more than just production. This is what you can and should expect:
- product coverage strategy
- product logistics
- pre-production and scripting
- content management
- site integration
- social media distribution
If you have the budget and this holistic level of involvement appeals to you, there are a host of providers who can take on the responsibility. But you’ll still want to be involved in some of the creative aspects of producing your video and guide its direction. Jenkins gave some successful directing tips which will help you plan your video(s):
- Visualize completed video and the feel
- Select video features, movements, etc.
- Select models, and products to film
- Choose background and music
- Make sure everything is organized and every detail is planned (camera shots for zooming in, accessories, sequence per model)
Jenkins said that you can’t underestimate how important this planning process is. When you start filming, you don’t want to have to create a piece from the ground up because once you’ve decided on your shot, your day of filming might be over. It’s not something most of us are used to, which is why it’s important to really understand the steps.
Swimwearboutique.com’s concerted efforts with online video are paying off. After a customer survey through the site, the company found that 70 percent of its online customers said the videos’ influence on their buying decisions were “excellent,” and 90 percent said the influence on the buying decision was either good or excellent.