6 Ways E-Commerce Brands Can Sell More by Embracing Video

Oliver Bridge

The stats are there—video drives conversions, helps shoppers make decisions, and builds trust online. Pretty important stuff, no?

For e-commerce brands, those benefits are amplified. Selling products online comes with some unique challenges—you're asking people to purchase an item without touching it or trying it on first, and even if there are great photos that show a product in action, it's no replacement for a moving, 3D view.

This article looks at different types of product-focused videos and when to present them to customers.

1. Entertain & Educate

BlendTec is an excellent example of a brand using video to show off its product's capabilities in an engaging manner. Sure, the series dates back to 2006, but it's an excellent example of a simple idea that both shows off the product while adding in

The viral Will It Blend? campaign was made up of a series of YouTube videos showing the brand's line of blenders in action. In the video series, BlendTec's founder Tom Dickson blends various items to test the power of the blenders.


More recently, BlendTec has expanded its video strategy to other channels, including a Facebook campaign where viewers can suggest things to blend.

2. Product Tour Videos

If users are unfamiliar with a product or want to see under-the-hood before buying, product tours are a quick way to showcase the features in a way that connects with how your audience might use these items themselves.

For higher consideration items--think SaaS products, new smartphones or laptops, people tend to do a lot of research, and often, seek out information that helps them understand how the purchase will impact their daily lives.

Apple uses this approach to show potential customers how the new iPhones look in action, highlighting new features and different ways you can use them.

In the iPhone 11 video, you’ll get a two-minute rundown of the major improvements from the updated camera to the water-resistant device.


A similar approach may also work well if you have a product that requires a bit more explanation. Here's an example from StitchFix from back in 2015, before the whole subscription box trend really took off.


In this case, you have someone showing users how the service works, what it costs, and the visuals, combined with the explainer goes a long way in clarifying a concept that might not be straight forward to every customer.

3. Close-up View

Pretty self-explanatory; close-up videos are exactly what they sound like, offering a closer look at your product for customers. According to BigCommerce, 49% of customers say that their least favorite thing about shopping online is not being able to touch the products before they buy.

Close-up videos are the next best thing, and work almost like a moving photograph, perfect for showing off details like stitching, wood grain, or anything where you might use the word "craftsmanship" in the product description.

Here's an example from Tiffany that offers an HD close-up of a diamond ring. In it, you can see the setting, the quality of the stones, and so on, which might not be as apparent in a still photo of the same quality.


In fact just last week I was purchasing a new pair of running trainers, and both Adidas and Nike's websites did a killer job of letting me see them close up. It was a close call between a ton of different options but the photography and close up videos for the PulseBoost HD from Adidas, and the Nike Pegasus 36 really brought them to life and gave me confidence in the look and movement of the trainers when worn on actual human feet.


4. Animated Product Videos

Animated video is an effective tool for engaging your audience, offering all of the benefits of traditional video, without the limitations of reality standing in the way.

Animations bring abstract concepts to life and help explain complex ideas with the help of strong visual elements.

Spotify does an excellent job here using eye-catching graphics, combined with animations, and some classic Beatles footage to go through their comprehensive feature set. While Spotify isn’t especially complex, compared to say, enterprise accounting software, this is far more entertaining than a list of features and benefits.


Here's another example from Nest, which combines real product shots with animation and a friendly voiceover to explain the long list of benefits the company’s smart home solutions bring to the table.


5. Storytelling

Storytelling, of course, another powerful way to promote your product. Instead of simply describing your product, you're creating a narrative around it that connects with your audience.

Nike is always a shining example when it comes to brand storytelling. Whether they're selling shoes or running tights, they don't just go over the features and benefits of its products. While the brand’s signature swooshes feature prominently, they take a backseat to the brand’s inspirational content.

In this year’s “Dream Crazier” campaign, Serena Williams narrates the ad celebrating female athletes, while also addressing the often problematic way they’re treated in our society. The 90-second spot starts with, "If we show emotion, we're called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we're nuts."


Another campaign, “Sport Changes Everything” inspires by focusing on “unconventional” athletes, like this example featuring Justin Gallegos, a runner with cerebral palsy. Though this series has a different focus than the Dream Crazier campaign (documentary-style vs. multiple clips with narration), both examples are instantly recognizable as Nike.


6. Bring Video & Email Together

One of our favorite approaches at Bonjoro, is combining video and email. Email marketing is already hugely popular with e-commerce stores as its an effective way to let customers know about promotions and drive them to your website. you're

Just adding the word "video" to email subject lines can increase open rates by up to 19%. To boost that number even more, use an animated GIF in your email or an appealing thumbnail (hint: smiling faces tend to do well, here).

The email + video approach applies to a whole range of goals and video types. A few examples:

Getting Started Video: Reading a manual is right up there with reading the terms of service associated with the apps you use. Creating a setup or installation video is an alternative you can offer your customers after they make a purchase.

We could see this working for anything from setting up a new speaker system to assembling a piece of furniture or showing users around a digital tool. Or, you might make like Headspace and show new users around the app with a friendly set of animated characters:


Testimonials: Testimonials from happy customers have to be one of the most effective ways to convince prospective buyers that your solution is “the one.” In this example from Roku, viewers get to hear from a range of people who have used the solution, noting how easy it is to set up, how many choices are at their fingertips, etc.


While you can certainly apply testimonials to social media advertising, your YouTube channel, website, and so on, it’s also an effective addition to your email follow-up strategy--allowing your customers to make the case for your product on your behalf.

Thank You: Finally, e-commerce brands can send a short “thank you” video via email, like the below example, provided by our client Fable Beard Co. In this case, the brand uses video to drive customer engagement after the products arrive with hyper-personalized messaging--an effort that has resulted in a 25% increase in customer retention.


Don’t Forget to Measure Your Efforts

You can't improve what you don't measure. Whether you're creating video email campaigns, advertising on social media, or adding product videos to your site, you'll need to make sure you're tracking the right metrics.

  • View Counts: View counts vary by platform. For instance, Facebook counts video views when someone sticks round for three seconds. By contrast, YouTube counts views as an engagement that lasts longer than 30 seconds (organic videos and paid ads follow different rules). Paying attention to view counts lets you know if your intros are effective. If it seems low, that may be an indication that you need to rethink your "hook." Is it engaging? Are you creating content that makes people stop and look?
  • Watch Rate: Watch rate represents how long people watched your video. Slightly different than view rates, which refers to the number of people that watched, watch rate refers to how long viewers spent on your video. If watch rates seem low, it may be an indicator that your content isn't interesting (sorry) or that viewers didn't find the information they were looking for. It's worth mentioning that shorter videos may be more effective, as video length is one reason that people stop watching.
  • Click-Throughs: Click-throughs measure the efficacy of your CTAs. If you're posting your video on social media, YouTube, or sending videos via email, clicks are a key metric to watch. If the share of clicks seems low, look toward elements like your CTA, headline, descriptions, and audience breakdown to learn more about how you can generate more interest.
  • Conversions: And, since we're talking e-commerce video, success really boils down to conversions. The higher the conversion rate, the more sales you're making. However, conversions alone don't paint the full picture.

Wrapping Up

The examples we've listed above prove that any e-commerce brand can make video work for their strategy. From how-tos to personal videos, testimonials, and explainers, video can do a ton for driving sales and setting customers up for success--just ask our e-commerce clients.

Bonjoro gives e-commerce brands everything they need to add personalized video to their existing strategy including video message templates, custom branding, analytics, and integrations with your online selling essentials like Stripe, Drip, MailChimp, Shopify, and more. Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself.

Video tips
About the author
Oliver Bridge
Growth Grizzly
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