The digital landscape is evolving at breakneck speed, and online shoppers are demanding more than just static product images and detailed descriptions. In this dynamic, complex and crowded environment, video content has the potential to be a powerful tool for enhancing e-commerce and customer experiences.
To cut through, retail businesses need to reach their target audience in the right place at the right time with a seamless path to purchase and as little hindrance as possible. A slow website or confusing payment screen can be detrimental, leading to lost sales and missed opportunities.
Retailers also need to keep abreast of shopping patterns and commercial trends. Today, consumers are constantly exposed to video ads on social media and websites. This new format of advertising, called contextual commerce, which sells products within a piece of content, like an article, video, photo or TV show, is gaining momentum.
Video has the power to hold viewers’ attention for longer than static content, allowing you to showcase your products and brand in a captivating way. Studies show that including product videos can increase conversion rates by up to 80% (Wyzowl, 2023). Videos allow you to showcase product features in action, highlight functionalities, and address customer pain points in a clear and engaging way. This leads to a deeper understanding of the product and increased confidence in purchasing decisions.
Video storytelling can evoke emotions and build a connection with your audience, thereby building trust and credibility. Share customer testimonials, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or product-related narratives to create a brand personality that resonates with your target demographic.
Content-led shopping is fast becoming a big trend, targeting customers who are excited to purchase in the moment of inspiration rather than being redirected to a brand’s website.
The TikTok generation
TikTok is the primary driving force behind the explosion of content commerce. In Australia, over 8.5 million people and 350,000 businesses actively use the social media app, which more than doubled revenue to $173.9 million in 2022 compared to the previous year.
The platform offers millions of items to discover, interwoven into user-generated content created by the TikTok community. For example, the “BookTok” trend has increased physical book sales, with Dymocks even creating a special landing page. Beyond just watching videos, TikTokers expect to interact with the content and even buy from them. Items from multiple sellers can be added to a cart without users leaving the app. TikTok’s recent partnership with Ticketmaster is a great example, which enables fans to purchase concert tickets for their favourite artists directly from the platform. TikTok has well and truly set the bar for user expectations with in-app commerce.
Enabling purchase at the moment of inspiration
Videos are a hugely powerful tool to engage with consumers. A survey by animated video production company Wyzowl found that 96% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service, while 89% of respondents made a purchase after watching a video.
However, the key to an effective content commerce strategy is a seamless link between the moment of inspiration and purchase. TikTok, Amazon, YouTube and Snap have recognised that this functionality will drive conversions and increase gross merchandise value. For example, YouTube recently introduced a timestamps feature in the US, enabling creators to make a shopping button appear at relevant times in their videos.
While not every retailer can rely on a large audience of content creators like TikTok, or has the sheer scale of Amazon, they can adapt their offerings to reflect the new behaviours these trailblazers have nurtured.
Experimenting with technologies such as interactive video and augmented reality (AR) can be hugely beneficial and offer frictionless, convenient shopping experiences. Customers get real-time pricing and availability, and, crucially, can check out in-stream without leaving the content they are engaging with.
Uncovering deeper insights into consumer behaviour
Interactive video and AR tools are effective not only in driving conversions but also in tracking in-video decisions through branching. This mechanism makes pathways to conversion easily visible, and clickable hotspots enable retailers to see how consumers behave. Google’s new AR “try-on” function allows users to virtually apply makeup and hair colours to their own image.
These tools also uncover deep insights into customers’ decision-making and behaviour, which retailers can access in real-time. This enables businesses to quickly identify any barriers to conversion and personalise customer journeys by showing appropriate content and relevant products to the right person at the right time. This immediacy is vital for brands that want to maximise key sales periods throughout the year, including Valentine’s Day, Afterpay Day, Mother’s Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
Retailers who embrace interactive, shoppable video to enhance customer experiences can significantly benefit from the content commerce opportunity that lies ahead – leading customers’ hearts to their carts.
The impact of TikTok on consumer behaviour will continue to be seen in the long run and businesses should capitalise on video and adopt contextual commerce as an integral part of their long-term content commerce strategies. Consumer expectations will quickly move beyond in-app and onto the open web. Seeking out innovative solutions that require low tech infrastructure and integration is going to be key for businesses to quickly capitalise on this evolving market.