According to Internet Retailer's latest monthly survey, online merchants are making search engine optimization and video their top web site design priorities for 2009. The survey also reports that "usability testing can also help retailers do a better job of deploying video" to which ReelSEO's Grant Crowell makes his suggestions for e-retailers to improve the website video usability experience for shoppers.
Retailers be design'in!
Retailers are as busy as ever updating their web sites, with about half of surveyed merchants having rolled out a new design in the past year, including over a fourth in the last six months and over an eighth within the last 3 months.
SEO and Video top e-retailer's design priorities
The survey also found that nearly 72.9% of surveyed merchants consider SEO their top web site design priority, and 43.3% of merchants will update their e-commerce sites with video this year.
What this data would seem to indicate that is that retailers are in a very good position to combine their SEO activities over to the video space. (However, the survey doesn't indicate if merchants are even aware of the SEO advantages with video, much less incorporating video into their SEO strategies.)
Much video to be made by e-retailers
The survey also indicates that most retailers by the end of 2008 haven't been showing video on their own websites. However, the above survey data would seem to predict that this figure could change to a majority percentage by 2009.
E-retail video and purchase increases
According to the survey, nearly half of shopper tickets who first viewed a video were larger than those that used standard rich media, and over 1 out of every 8 customers who viewed a video did more than 15% larger ticket.
The call for video usability
The survey does acknowledge that "usability testing can also help retailers do a better job of deploying video." It also interviews Betsy Emery, CEO of the retail design firm Tellus, who says that to incorporate video that drive more business, retailers need to position the content or application on the product page in a way that motivates the visitor to take a specific action.
"The customer review or video can't be placed haphazardly," Emery says. "Customer reviews and product videos need to be grouped along with the other text and images on a page in a way that gives the shopper all the information they need to make an informed buying decision. Some retailers think the review or the video by itself will generate a bigger sale, but that's a misconception. These elements have to be part of a well-balanced design that pulls shoppers in, gives them multiple ways to see and explore merchandise and then makes it easy to complete the purchase."
As the survey reports that over 3/4ths of merchants do testing on their website, increasing testing activities to their video content should be a natural extension for this group.
(Note: ReelSEO has also mentioned the need for usability in video, and has proposed a suggested topic list for video usability standards, which has also been reported today here in our interview at WebProNews.com.)
Combining purchase motivations - customers reviews in video
The survey report goes on to say that "Many retailers are making videos and customer reviews a permanent fixture on their web sites." This would seem to indicate a good opportunity for retailers to either develop their own platform – or adopt a 3rd party platform – for allowing user-generated content to go beyond just text submissions of product reviews by customers, but also in video form as well.
Having customer submit their reviews in video format would also address the top for survey responses for what retailers consider to be the biggest drawbacks of their current website design. (See below.)
Consider also the survey's findings that most e-retail websites are already allowing customers to post product reviews, and that shoppers who view customer product reviews spend more versus the average shopper.
Do you now see the connection? Do you see the opportunity? Yes, customers' passions for a product can come through much more effectively by including their video reviews, than just with text-alone, for "selling" other customers' on the same product. Provide customers with the tools to submit reviews and comments in video as well as text (and provide social media tools along with that video and text) and the community could further grow and better influence the purchasing decisions of the customer… as well as lining the pocketbook of the merchant.
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