By Max Childs, Marketing Director at Amplience

The influx of high-resolution touch screen devices has led to consumers demanding unique content from brands. This change in behaviour has impacted retailers, driving more use of visual content to drive interaction and prompt purchase decisions at all available touch-points.

Traditionally, video has worked well at increasing engagement and encouraging positive brand experiences for retailers, but has always missed the vital ‘add to basket’ link that drives sales. With video merchandising, brands are able to create richly engaging experiences, merchandising products in a smarter, more intuitive way.

This article outlines how retailers can use video merchandising to successfully boost customer engagement, conversion rates and drive up average order value (AOV).

The Balancing act: Merchandising and Engagement

Retailers often use video; whether it’s animated look books, inspirational catwalk looks or TV advertising videos. However many fail to maximise this investment in content by effectively linking consumers to the products they see.

Over the past year or so a number of retailers have attempted to forge a link between the strong brand experience provided by engaging content and the essential pursuit of sales and conversion.Retailers such as Bally and All Saints have experimented with adding add-to-basket or product view capabilities to video and animation. Experiments like these have met with mixed success, some creating effective, engaging content with easily purchasable product links, others appearing to have over-egged the add to basket, to the detriment of the engaging content.

BooHoo.com is a great example of how retailers can merchandise effectively with video. The brand created its own channel, Boohoo TV and has expanded its pre-existing library of TV ads and other promotional videos, creating a shoppable channel for its fashion-conscious customers. Through Video Merchandising technology, it now maps specific items or clothing collections featured in the video alongside the clip so customers can effortlessly click “buy now” to add the items to their basket. The video sequences run uninterrupted, maintaining the right mood, prompting browsers to identify a product and decide to click through. At this point the experience continues with product detail, social sharing and add to basket functionalities, resulting in considerable conversion uplift.

BooHoo’s videos are centred around fashion trends, presenting viewers not only with relevant products, but with advice on how to wear them. Not only does this help engage existing customers, and drive up AOV, but providing browsers with rich-media content allows them to buy into the overall brand experience, helping to convert would-be buyers into new customers.

Our experience in delivering merchandising alongside video shows that it is quite enough to flag the product visually — if it is of interest consumers will click through

The All Saints ‘We Are All Saints’ animation is a great piece of consumer engagement and brand building media. However, conversion opportunities could be enhanced. What is missing is the availability to view within the media, without navigating away from the original tableau, using a popup lightbox or 'sneak peek' type of view. Ultimately from a conversion perspective the most important missing feature is 'Add to basket' which isn't on the page. You have to first go to 'explore the look', opening up a new window away from the seductive presentation of the collection.

The ultimate goal from all of these tools is to make the customer journey as short as possible. If a consumer can go from the moment of inspiration to authorising payment with as few barriers as possible then conversion will increase. Video merchandising creates an opportunity to collapse that journey and combine some of retailer’s most effective content with complete ease of purchase.

What is video merchandising?

Launched by Amplience earlier this year, Video Merchandising is an off-the-shelfSaaS solution for digital commerce, enabling retailers to provide an immersive experience to rival that of the bricks and mortar store.

Video Merchandising is great way to merchandise products in an engaging way, as well as to create an online shopping channel that inspires the customer to buy at every level by involving them in the brand experience.

How does it work?

The technology allows retailers to bridge the gap between compelling video experiences and purchasing behaviour. The solution can deployyour existing video content from advertising or YouTube, for example. Through the use of drag and drop cue points, and simply merchandise products and collections directly in an interactive, brand-building way. Product features are highlighted as the video is playing,

The solution can be easily embedded into category and home pages. This means you don’t need technical expertise or lots of time to create compelling merchandising experiences for customers using mobile and tablet devices. It also pulls in live product data feeds so customers are viewing up-to-date information on stock, colour and size options available.

Customers see product detail and click on ‘buy now’ tabs at cue points within the video player. This creates a positive customer experience, as shoppersare able to add products from the video to the basket there and then, without manual searches or interrupting the show.

Giving browsers the opportunity to interact with a product in a more engaging and intuitive way shortens the journey to checkout and has driven up AOV for many of our retail clients.

How successful can it be?

Video Merchandising allows ecommerce managers to track views and customer interaction. It comes with integrated analytics featuring engagement, conversions to the product page and performance optimisation.

Early adopters of the platform saw conversion increase by over 10 per cent, and AOV by 17%. As an example, Womenswear retailer A|wear saw a 30 per cent uplift in sales on products featured in it’s A|wear TV channel videos, which used the Video Merchandising technology. It also saw a spike in traffic to this TV section of the site, as well as an uplift in overall conversions, reiterating the direct link between compelling video content and converting browsers into buyers.

Another of our fashion retail customers has seen average order value increases of up to 20 per cent since implementing, and 60 per cent of those buying via video merchandising have been new customers. This proves the solution’s ability to turn browsers into buyers.

For more information on Amplience and Video Merchandising, visit http://amplience.com/