Retail Videos on YouTube: Experts Weigh In

Jun 28, 2011 — Allan Pulga

Last month, YouTube celebrated its sixth birthday and announced it had surpassed the 3 billion views a day mark.

"That's the equivalent of nearly half the world's population watching a YouTube video each day, or every U.S. resident watching at least nine videos a day," the company noted, on its blog (May 25).

It also announced that more than 48 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute (up 37% from six months ago and 100% over last year).

Naturally, retailers are interested in getting in on the action.

"The numbers of merchants and the views they generate on YouTube have taken off in recent years, with chains including Best Buy and Walmart creating multiple video channels," wrote George Anderson of (May 26).

Craig Wax, CEO of Invodo, told eMarketer that retailers use online video to increase sales and drive traffic to their own sites. "They're able to do that because of video's impact on SEO. They're also looking to decrease the costs associated with product returns. When people watch videos about a product, they're typically less likely to return it." (See Online Videos Reinforce Buying Decisions.)

Anderson opens the discussion to a number of retail experts who had the following thoughts to share:

  • "I believe video is very important but a big miss if all you can use it for is a generic product example. Why? Because you may sell the viewer but lose the sale."
    - Bob Phibbs, President/CEO, The Retail Doctor & Associates
  • "Online videos should definitely be part of any retailer's marketing arsenal and retailers should maintain YouTube channels that include (approved) customer-generated videos as well as company videos. There are also good opportunities for contests relating to customer-created videos. However, retailers need to be realistic in their expectations. For every one YouTube user watching a retail video there are probably 10,000 watching the latest clip from Lady Gaga."
    - Dan Berthiaume, Editor, Retailer Daily
  • "It's always a question of the value of the content. If a retailer has great content and video is the best format, then YouTube is a great means of exposure. I think marketers need to think less about incorporating YouTube into their plans and more about creating wonderful, exciting, spreadable content."
    - Doug Stephens, President, Retail Prophet
    (Doug will be a keynote speaker at the iQmetrix 2011 Wireless Summit in Miami!)
  • "Retailers should be looking to develop capabilities and deploy video within the context of specific business objectives/initiatives and not be simply chasing 'video' as a strategy. This will be even more important as we ascend the adoption curves for smartphones and as mobile 4G connectivity expands. These factors will no doubt result in an increase in video-related capabilities and the pace of innovation."
    - Paul R. Schottmiller, Senior Director, Global Retail and Consumer Products, Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • "I agree with Bob that video should be used to differentiate the retailer, and not just promote a product the customer can purchase somewhere else. Video can also position a store's expertise, store experience, promote an event, etc. Most important, it should result in the customer visiting the store, or at the very least remembering why they shop at the store."
    - Doug Fleener, President and Managing Partner, Dynamic Experiences Group
  • "While video will only grow in importance to brands and consumers, it's only one step on the path to purchase. The brand at the end of that path -- i.e. the retailer that ultimately gets the sale -- will likely be the one who learns to successfully combine video with the rest of their offering to ensure the browsing shopper becomes a confident buyer."
    - Tim Henderson, Senior Director, Retail Consumer Strategist, Iconoculture Inc.
  • "As a video specialist, my sense is that retailers need video on the website -- but it's more explanatory video -- show people what they couldn't otherwise find out about the product. They CHOSE to look at the product."
    - Doug Garnett, Founder & CEO, Atomic Direct

Topics: Mobile Industry, Retail Marketing

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