Why eCommerce and Personal Video Make the Perfect Pair

Author Avatar Oliver Bridge wrote this on Apr 29, 2019

E-commerce can feel impersonal at times.

Customers get to know your brand through online channels and it is hard to imagine the humanity happening behind the scenes. It makes sense—at what point in the process do you talk to anyone that isn’t a chatbot?

Then, when you do get a real person on the line, it’s after there’s already been a problem. All hands are on deck, with customer service on triage duty. If all goes well, there’s no interaction beyond automated emails and the occasional order.

Faceless online experiences don’t exactly breed loyalty, much less advocacy. And that’s a real problem. Brands shouldn’t have to wait until something bad happens to make a connection.

Personal video presents a solution; bridging the gap between online convenience and the face-to-face connections you’d make in your local mom and pop.

Here, we’ll touch on some key areas where e-commerce and video come together and make magic happen.

Personalization Drives Sales

Before we dive deeper, let’s make one thing clear: personalization drives sales. According to a study from Epsilon, 80% of customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a personalized experience. It’s something we’ve come to expect in an age of data collection and automation.

But, it’s important that personalization is done correctly. According to another survey from Accenture, companies lost a whopping $756 billion in 2017 due to a combination of poor personalization and lack of consumer trust.  

Brands need to consider how personalization factors into the customer experience on the whole—are they coming off as thoughtful or straight-up creepy?

We have access to all of these tools that allow us to greet customers by name, and collect tons of data—but when everything is automated, we lose the opportunity to make a real connection with users.

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Companies are quick to tout their latest innovations, but customers say they want more human interaction. Things like retargeting, which is meant to keep brands “top of mind” can make people feel like they’re being followed around the web.

Polished newsletters and the “we” language you’ll find in a lot of branded content can give the impression that the human element has been removed.

The problem there is, that process lacks empathy, connection. That’s why today’s biggest brands are seeing major results by letting customers see behind the curtain.

Humanity is Hot Right Now

Before the Internet took over, sales took place in person—we’d go to a shop to get a new pair of shoes and a real person would help us, making recommendations and helping us find the right size. Today, most recommendations are delivered by way of algorithm.

As commerce moved into the online space, businesses began to take the personal out of the equation, instead of drawing people in with digital ads and automated email campaigns.  

One-to-one video is a hyper-segmented approach to personalization. Rather than targeting a group of people who fit into a persona, brands can connect with one, real person at a time. The thing is, people do still see value in brick-and-mortar operations.

We’ve seen online-only brands like Warby Parker, Everlane, and Rent The Runway set up pop-up shops and permanent showrooms—receiving positive responses from consumers.

Still, online shopping gives us more convenience and choice, and not every e-commerce shop has the budget or the bandwidth to open brick-and-mortars and run their online operations.

One of our customers, Munk Store came to us because it wanted a chance to give its online customers the same attention it gives the people that walk into its physical stores. Here’s an example of how Munk Store is making that connection with video:

Watch the video here

With 1:1 video, brands have this ability to provide support, answer questions, or welcome them aboard—in a way that actually is personal. Beats an automated shipping code on your birthday, no?

Build that Hard-Won Trust

The Internet is a place where anyone can assume an identity, make up false promises, and spread misinformation like wildfire.

There’s no shortage of statistics stating that videos help push customers toward making a purchasing decision. Namely, because videos are a fast way to build confidence since customers can see something up close and personal, with 360-degree views.

Videos in general, whether it’s a close-up view of a product, so customers can be sure that it meets expectations or a collection of customer testimonials instantly adds some credibility—you can’t touch a product before you buy as you can in person. When you can’t try something on or feel the fabric or see something move around, it’s hard to take the plunge and finish the checkout process.

When you make videos personal, you’re adding an extra layer of trust. Where you might use video in an e-commerce context varies based on what you sell. If you’re selling high-consideration (read: expensive) products that demand a little more research, video can help you reach out to qualified leads and provide some face-to-face assurance.

During the consideration phase, you might reach out by introducing your support staff or offering a short demo.

For most consumer goods (you know, clothes, home goods, electronics), brands need to earn consumer trust through word-of-mouth.

So, your best application of personal video is going to come after someone places their first order — say “thanks, glad you’re a new customer” or “We’re working on your order as we speak.”

Or, take this as an opportunity to show customers a quick look behind the scenes. One idea is, if someone asks a question about your products, you can go to the backroom, create a video with a 360-degree view of your fabrics, and make some recommendations.

The idea is here is to “wow” customers with that personal touch, so they’ll come back for more.

Personalized Video is the Perfect Way to Show Some Appreciation

According to Customer Experience Insight, 60% of businesses have lost a customer because they felt that the business did not care about them. You might think that price, quality, and convenience are your biggest differentiators, but it turns out, being nice tops the list.

In a recent report from PwC, customers who feel appreciated are more likely to keep shopping with a company, proving that a little sweetness wins out against slick technology.

Customers do expect speed and convenience. An old, clunky website won’t lead to many conversions. But outside of meeting basic expectations like usability and convenience, brands should spend more time and energy making customers feel like they matter.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone—in our day-to-day life, we love receiving compliments, we love it when our friends and family go out of our way to say “hey, I appreciate you.”

Here’s an example of how one of our customers, Collin Gray of Fable Beard Co. is using personal video:

Watch the video here

A lot of companies show the love by writing a little note, but a video makes things even more personal. You’re adding a human face to the mix.

Personal Video Stands Out in a Stack of Emails

The common wisdom is, e-commerce personalization is all about email marketing. From custom offers to geolocation to relevant recommendations, data-driven email campaigns are the reigning strategy here.

But, we live in a world dominated by spam and automation, meaning, even the best emails don’t make it to the final destination—the open rate that leads to the sale.

By contrast, taking the time to record a short video, proves you have invested some effort into this relationship. So, chances are, the customer is at least a little bit curious about what they’ll find inside.

If you’re wondering how to get people to open your video message, it’s all about the finishing touches:

Start with a winning subject line

No, personal videos don’t mean you can put web copy aside for good. With video, it pays to let people know that there’s something “special” inside. In the example below, the subject line just says “a personal welcome to Bonjoro.” It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy (unless that’s your brand, of course).

Customize

Add branding, emoji, and a smiling face. Bonjoro even has a feature that turns the first few seconds of your video into a GIF that plays in your recipient’s inbox. It is important to note that not all email clients support GIFs as default, but they can work wonders on your open rates.

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Finally, You Can Personally Re-activate Dormant Customers

Tracking churn is tricky for e-commerce since there’s no deliberate action that says, “Hey, I’m done with this business.”

Subscription businesses can identify a point where someone cancels a service, but e-commerce depends on continually proving value. As such, you’ll want to check in every now and again and make sure that any lulls don’t turn into a customer ghosting.

A short video presents an alternative to an automated birthday newsletter or a “hey you forgot something” email. Customers know that these messages, while often effective, are powered by machine learning technology.

Sure, if you’re using Bonjoro, you can set automated reminders that it’s time to check in with a customer. But, the actual message is manual, it’s not scalable, and most of all, it feels authentic.

Sign up for a free account and take a personal video for a spin--your customers will be hooked in no time. Just ask our e-commerce clients.

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