The Data Digest: The Power Of Video

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.

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The Data Digest: The Power Of Video

Videos are definitely one of the strongest forms of media in our society nowadays, and there are 48 hours of video uploaded on YouTube per minute: from consumers sharing their creative expressions to companies uploading how-to videos about their products and brands.

These videos help many people in their purchasing process. My colleague recently had to shop for a car, and it’s been interesting to hear about her car shopping journey and how online videos helped her make the ultimate decision. She was interested in one specific car — the 2012 Ford Focus with the Sync with MyFord Touch comes as standard package. The challenge she, and Ford for that matter, encountered was that the majority of car salespeople aren’t that tech-savvy. While they are familiar with the horsepower and the smart-key entry feature, they really struggle to explain how to turn the car into a Wi-Fi hub or how the Sync system can read incoming text messages.

Trying to learn about every available optional feature, my colleague had to turn to the Internet for help. She was able to find demo videos on the Ford Focus website, on YouTube, as well as on her cable TV widgets. These online videos, produced by Ford, auto review sites, as well as tech-savvy online peers, really helped her understand how the optional features of this new product will enhance her ultimate driving experience. Forrester’s Technographics® data shows that videos created by other people are the most watched online type of video:

My colleague’s experience is backed up by a recent Forrester report, ”Using Online Video To Drive Clicks And Conversion,” from my colleague Martin Gill that shows that video is driving real benefits for retailers who have integrated it into their eCommerce experience. The key, as Martin says, is integration: "Of course it isn’t as simple as sticking a few videos on your existing dot-com site and hey presto, conversion rates skyrocket. Video needs to support the sales process in a way that makes sense to your customers, that supports your brand values, and that enhances the shopping experience."

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