Opinion: Role of videos in driving commerce post COVID-19

Saurabh Singh

Co-Founder & CEO of Flickstree, Saurabh Singh writes on how videos act as an effective tool of communicate & audience engagement, shaping commerce in the new normal. 

Covid-19 has been a watershed moment on the entire humanity. As the healthcare industry struggles worldwide, the entire planet came to a stand-still. Business fundamentals changed as economies across countries struggled to cope with this uncertainty.

With the lockdown in place, e-commerce companies with physical goods delivery could not do much. However, even though the audience could no longer order their favorite goods, they are seen consuming digital content like never before. People, who are sitting at home with less or no work, are enjoying online videos now more than ever. The numbers released by the OTT players revealed how the world went crazy watching content on their smartphones.

Now as the unlocking is in gradual progress, there is a general sense that a “reset” button has been pressed. However, the “new normal” looks very different than the “old normal”. This may also mean that the content consumption habits of users must have just gone up. The interesting question that then remains is how can commerce companies benefit from this behavioral change?

Going by the significant shift of the overall brand spending on advertising during the lockdown, brands are now focusing on storytelling more than ever before. Recently, a leading automobile brand launched a new inspirational video series titled ‘Soul Stories’ in India, which features three customers from different backgrounds, describing their passion in life. Their journey captured through individual video episodes, each discussing personal beliefs, values, and the chosen path in life. This series is a good example of the brand moving away from traditional advertising to captivating the audience through storytelling.

One interesting trend to look out for shall be Video Commerce.

Video Commerce, in the most traditional sense, is the practice of using video content to promote and sell products or services.

In today’s cluttered environment, brand recall and brand messaging are becoming tougher than ever, and driving e-commerce sales in this market scenario, is altogether a different challenge. With so many brands talking to the same customer, there is huge clutter to serve the same audience. Reaching them across all mainstream channels is getting very expensive.

Also Read: Opinion: Cashbacks & Discounts: Is the post-COVID consumer reward ready?

Moreover, people hate watching advertisements so much so, that in the digital world, most users have installed ad blockers on their browsers. However, when the same brand messaging is presented to a user in the format of a story, the same user tends to binge these stories and often shares the content as well. It is obvious, people relate to stories more than just advertising.

For example, a pioneer restaurant aggregator has now started featuring their restaurants and chef’s journey videos, which builds a personal connection or relation with the consumer rather than simply consuming the brand advertisements.

Post Covid-19, as more and more brands turn to digital mediums to drive sales, this clutter is only going to increase. Even brands/advertisers who have traditionally relied on offline channels to drive sales and establish consumer relationships will now turn to digital channels for sale. This will put tremendous pressure on each advertising dollar spent and brands will need newer ways to overcome these challenges and come out with innovative ways to drive sales online.

So how do brand owners overcome these challenges in a cost-effective way? The answer is simple – by adopting content marketing.

Content marketing is on the rise as the buying tendency is reinforced by good, engaging, and aspirational content. And what better way to market content than videos as they have emerged and proven to be the most engaging format of content marketing. People don’t buy products; people buy stories associated with the product. Videos are the most effective way of demonstrating a product and its features when told in the form of a story. This leads to an increase in conversions. Website visitors are 64 – 85% more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. Additionally, people are also more inclined to click on a video thumbnail than on something with no visual or multimedia element.

For instance, a leading Salon Chain that generally focused on traditional media has launched a video that takes the medium of poetry to take the viewer through the current lives of the customers, the salon staff, and how they are now adapting to the new normal of resuming services but with complete precaution. The video not only showcases the new guidelines being followed and how they will make the salon safe to visit but also strikes a personal chord with the customer.

Videos help boost consumer confidence. In fact, 57% of consumers say that videos make them more confident in the products they buy and less likely to return their orders. Videos have a 16.85% conversion rate as compared to standard banners (2.14%) and mobile (1.62%). (eMarketer)

Videos can convey an incredible amount of information extremely fast and also strike an emotional chord to tell customers how they should feel about a product/service.

For example: During the lockdown, we created multiple videos for our advertising partner Vidyakul, who does live education classes for students appearing for board exams and competitive exams. Video commerce increased its sales by more than 150%. The brand was able to connect with its potential users with the help of video content and could explain the benefits of their online courses clearly leading to a significant jump in their sales.

Videos can convey an incredible amount of information extremely fast. It is also possible to strike an emotional chord and tell customers how they should feel about an item.

Content websites and apps shall also thrive to take a pie of the video commerce momentum. They can partner with platforms that promote video commerce as it immediately enhances their proposition from “content only” to the “content plus transaction” platform. Even those platforms that promote coupons, deals, price comparisons, and cashback could jump onto the video bandwagon, but in a partnership model with existing video commerce platforms.

Taking these key learning and keeping the consumer insights at the core, Flickstree has partnered with more than 100 content and deal platforms, who use our content, technology, and advertiser associations to drive video commerce on their platform. We are spearheading video commerce with our +You offering to see a significant uplift in sales for our advertisers.

Consumers love video content because it is entertaining and requires less effort than reading. Audio-Visual content makes consumers relate to the brand a bit more than the static media format. We have now reached a crossroads in terms of media vehicle availability and utilization. I would like to conclude by stating that the future of commerce belongs to brands that bring commerce and content closer together in a seamless, engaging, and interactive viewing environment.

This article has been authored by Saurabh Singh, Co-Founder & CEO of Flickstree, a video publisher platform powered by Artificial Intelligence.

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