Last Sunday my washing machine broke down. And for a family with young children, a washing machine is right up there with shelter and food in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
As the shops are closed on Sundays in the Netherlands, I turned to the Internet to look for a new one. And because I wasn't very satisfied with my old brand, I was looking for another with similar features but (hopefully) better quality. Within minutes I was completely lost in washing cycles, special programs, and all the other fancy features washing machines have nowadays. I clicked picture after picture, trying to enlarge to see the controls, with little success. But I was saved by video. I came across a site that shows a video of each of the products they sell — how they work, what they do, the control panel, explaining what the fancy features mean, and so on. This information, together with the price, helped me decide which washing machine to buy (at that site, of course).
However, at this moment video support isn't the most obvious choice for customers. Our European Technographics® Retail, Customer Experience, And Travel Online Survey, Q3 2011, shows that only 10% of Europeans have watched a video from a retailer in the past three months in general. And only 8% have watched an online video for support purposes as the following graphics shows:
The majority of customers still turn to more expensive options when they have a question, like sending an email or calling the helpdesk. Or they turn to Google to find a solution somewhere else. But more and more retailers are starting to see the power of video to help customers. A report from my UK colleague shows how Lowe’s, for example, recognizes that consumers often lack the confidence to take on do-it-yourself projects at home, and it supports novices with a YouTube channel. Videos offer step-by-step instructions for projects such as "How to Install a Paver Patio." Consumers can gain the know-how and the confidence they need to use the products they buy at Lowe's by watching the online videos on either lowes.com or YouTube.