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The dos and don'ts of using video in your online fashion shop

By Marjorie van Elven


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If you run a fashion webshop and it doesn’t feature videos yet, now is the time to start. Videos provide visitors with a richer shopping experience, which makes them a very effective tool to increase sales, according to video marketing experts Moriam Hassan Balogun, from Orangevine, and Jelle Rood, from Exposar. FashionUnited spoke with the duo at the Dutch trade fair Modefabriek, held in Amsterdam this week.

“If you add videos to your webshop, the people who look at your video are 50 percent more likely to buy your items, because they can actually see how items fall and flow. They can assess better if they will fit them. As a result, returns decrease by almost 60 percent”, said Rood. Listen more

Videos are also essential for any online entrepreneur interested in keeping up with the times, as the Internet becomes more and more dominated by video. There is no doubt the future of the Internet is much too dynamic for customers to be satisfied with two dimensional photos. YouTube is used by 80 percent of Millennials and 85 percent of Generation Z consumers in the United States. According to market researcher Pernille Kok-Jansen, another expert present at ModeFabriek, younger consumers are turning to YouTube as their primary search engine, a practice which she calls “yougling”. The “Snapchat” format (short videos that disappear after 24 hours) is now featured on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram as well.

Speaking of Instagram, the last two years have seen the social network become a lot more than just a virtual photo book. Earlier this month, Instagram announced the launch of IGTV, a feature which allows for users to post videos of up to 60 minutes. IGTV comes in addition to the self-destructing 15-second videos (“Instagram Stories”), a functionality which was added to the platform last year. Last but not least, one cannot help but mention the rise in popularity of virtual reality and augmented reality, which are expected to revolutionize the retail landscape.

If video is everywhere, then why aren’t more online fashion retailers using it? According to Balogun and Rood, many of them still believe videos are too expensive. But that is no longer the case. Listen more

However, to really succeed in increasing sales and decreasing return rates, webshop owners have to do use video the right way. FashionUnited asked Balogun and Rood to share some tips on how to best add videos to a fashion webshop.

How to use video on fashion webshops: Dos

1. Make an overview video for your homepage: Videos featured on the homepage should give a good idea of what your shop offers. Listen more

2. Highlight popular product categories: Alternatively, you can use homepage videos to push popular category pages even further -- after all, they are popular for a reason. For example, if your analytics reveal that many visitors find your website when typing the word “dress” on a search engine, it may be a good idea to feature a video showing different dresses on the homepage.

3. Make it interactive: Clickable videos make shopping a lot easier for the visitor. If shoppers like what they see in the video published on your homepage, all they have to do is click on the screen to be directed to a category page or product detail page.

Dutch womenswear retailer Studio Anneloes is a good example of a webshop that uses clickable videos to make the shopping process as quick and easy as possible.

4. Feature overview videos on category pages as well: Many shoppers look for something specific, such as “strapless dresses” or “work dresses”. Using videos to guide them from parent categories towards subcategories is another way to make shopping easier and fun. Listen more

5. Pay attention to the lighting: Lighting is everything! Poor lighting can make a video look grainy, regardless of how good the camera you’re using is. It can also alter colors, possibly causing shoppers to feel misled once they receive their purchase. Natural light is the best option, but if it’s not possible to use it, make sure to hire a good lighting professional.

6. Ask models to move: What’s the use of watching a video if it looks just like a photograph? Model should move to show how the clothing items flow. If possible, shoot models as they walk.

In this video by e-tailer Catwalk Junkie, you can see the model moving to showcase the piece she is wearing the best way possible.

7. Zoom in on the details: If there’s a certain detail that makes a piece unique, such as sequins, embroidery or a small floral print, make sure to zoom in so shoppers can see it better.

By zooming in on the shirt, this video by Dutch plus-size brand :PlusBasics helps customers to see both the print and the fabric better.

How to use video on fashion webshops: don’ts

1. Don’t make it too short: Many retailers think visitors will not have the patience to watch a video if it is too long. As a result, their videos are way too short and fail to properly display the items. Balogun advises webshop owners to not worry about video length, as too long is no big deal, but too short often harms sales. Listen more

2. Don’t post your videos on YouTube: it may be tempting to host your videos on YouTube, considering the platform is free and simple to use. But, for Balogun and Rood, that’s one of the biggest mistakes an online retailer can make. Here’s why: Listen more

3. Don’t hire just anybody to be your model: Modelling may seem like an easy job. All you have to do is smile for the camera (or “smile with your eyes”, as former supermodel Tyra Banks would say) and twirl once or twice, right? Wrong. Professional models actually know how to look good on camera -- and, most importantly, how to make an outfit look good on camera. “Many starting retailers ask somebody they know, or somebody who doesn’t have a lot of experience. You can see that in the video. The result is not very good”, said Rood.

4. Less is more: “A lot of brands think that, if they start using video, they have to make a spectacle of it. That actually just forms a distraction”, notes Balogun. “It’s about practical, functional videos that display the item and help the consumer”. Fancy, campaign-style videos may be effective for branding, but the ultimate goal of a webshop, especially within a product page, is to convert.

The two video marketing experts also advise online retailers to use neutral backgrounds when shooting their products, as focus should be given to the item they’re trying to sell. Avoid distracting your customer! Listen more

5. Don’t use the same video on several pages: Many retailers use the same video to promote different products. They shoot a model wearing a T-shirt and a skirt, for example, and use the same footage on the T-shirt page and the skirt page. Balogun and Rood advise webshop owners to make a different video file for each item. Listen more

Videos: courtesy of Exposar and Orangevine

Pictures: Pixabay

Moriam Hassan Balogun
Online Shopping
video for webshops