Videos change the shopping experience

October 11, 2013

Supermarkets can use video to more fully engage shoppers with food/wine, HBC, magazines and other categories.

The consumer surge of product video viewing online in recent years has compelled 70% of retailers in 2012—up from 59% in 2011—to make video part of their Web shopping experience, according to a newly released study of 1,073 consumers this past December by the e-tailing group.

Product video views are a growing part of consumers’ path to purchase—52% watch regularly and 87% at least once in a while, notes the research commissioned by invodo.  Habitual video users (23% of respondents) watch eight or more videos per month (up from 14% in 2011), and 22% watch five to seven per month (up from 18% in 2011).

The more information-intense the product (such as refrigerators or computers), the more views; three out of four survey respondents (74%) watched videos two to four times for complex products before buying, the data show.

While people cite numerous categories for which they view product videos, many involve the supermarket.  During the three months prior to the survey, 20% watched in the food/wine category (#6 on the list), 19% watched toys/video games and health and beauty care (tied for #7), 14% watched books/magazines (#11), and 12% watched pet supplies (#15).

Therefore, F3 urges supermarkets to develop a stronger video presence on their websites—to carry an impact beyond the packaged goods on their shelves.  Consider the positive impressions of videos that feature local farm suppliers discussing the freshness and wholesomeness of their foods, or nearby wine growers talking about their vintages and the special conditions of their climate and soil.  Or in-store deli chefs discussing prepared foods recipes.  Or in-store bakers demonstrating their cake-decorating skills. 

F3 and The Lempert Report have steadily documented consumers’ growing interest in healthier eating, food preparation, cooking and recipes.  Today’s growing appetite for video enables retailers to use video for dialogue with customers beyond the typical item-price circulars, which tend to commoditize the shopping experience. 

There are many potential video applications that pertain to categories cited in the e-tailing-invodo study.  For instance, seasonal videos could be especially productive within HBC, say to explain a new cough-cold-flu-allergy remedy, or in summertime to show good techniques for applying sunscreen to kids, adults and the elderly.

Moreover, within books/magazines, videos launched by QR codes on shoppers’ smartphones could show more about food items that are simultaneously written about and displayed on nearby shelves; they culminate in cents-off coupons that can be applied at checkout.  Also, videos of pet supplies could show new items in use and enjoyed by dogs and cats.

Of 18 separate categories mentioned by respondents in the survey, consumers cited just one that relates directly to supermarkets—health and beauty care—as an area where they expect to see product videos online.  HBC had a 2.77 expectation score on a scale of 5.

A majority of survey respondents said product videos had these effects on them: they are less likely to return the product (57%), more confident in the purchase (55%), willing to stay on a website longer (52%), and more engaged with a retailer or manufacturer (50%).