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Digital Marketing 20 min read
Written by Sarah Harris
Content Writer @ Galactic Fed
Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter
Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed
Published 01 Mar 2023
Whether you own an e-commerce store or handle the marketing for one, you should definitely consider incorporating a shoppable video platform into your comprehensive marketing strategy to manage your campaigns and analyze their results. Shoppable videos offer a unique visual experience to consumers, allowing them to view your products in action and shop directly from within the ad.
With shoppable videos, a retailer incorporates their product links into the advertisement itself. By directly clicking on promoted merchandise, such as a purse, shoes, or another item, the consumer adds the product to their shopping cart. Usually, they’ll finalize their purchase on the seller’s website, though some platforms even provide buying options within the video itself.
Though the concept of shoppable videos first became prevalent on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok, new shoppable video platforms exist for e-commerce stores to advertise their products to larger amounts of interested consumers. In the following article, we’ll discuss what shoppable video platforms are and their current use cases in the realm of e-commerce.
A shoppable video platform is a platform that allows (and encourages) the use of implementing shoppable videos to build brand engagement, convert browsers to website traffic, and eventually land a sale.
Shoppable videos encompass both short and long-form video content that incorporates merchandise to encourage viewers to make a purchase, providing an interactive experience and allowing them to simply click on a product they see to learn more about it or purchase it outright. Rather than seeing products through pictures, consumers will see actors wearing the store’s clothes or showing merchandise in action, making for an immersive experience that is much more effective in marketing than simple product descriptions and photographs.
When it comes to picking the right platform, note that it’s possible to view shoppable videos on virtually any social media site that incorporates video, including Instagram, TikTok, Amazon Live, and YouTube. However, platforms designed exclusively for shoppable videos are cropping up and growing in popularity.
With that in mind, here are some key features that you can leverage with shoppable video platforms to convert more browsers into customers.
If you plan to expand your marketing strategies to incorporate shoppable videos, it’s essential to understand the shopping video platforms that are available and the critical features to look for in your choice of platform.
A few features to consider include the following:
If your brand has a large following on social media, you’ll benefit from live selling, an approach that allows brands to stream videos of their product across multiple social media platforms simultaneously. You can advertise new merchandise, promote a discount on a specific product, or simply show off your brand’s personality and image.
Live selling is beneficial for brands that find that social media algorithms limit the reach of their ads. With a live video, all of your followers will receive a notification that you’re live-streaming, and they can join the video to see what you have on offer.
Furthermore, you won’t need to devote any time and energy to editing live video content. Instead, you’ll simply turn on a video camera and immediately reach your audience.
Most shoppable video platforms include features that allow a retailer to directly post pre-recorded videos to their business page, which will appear in the newsfeed of consumers who follow the brand. You can expand the reach of these videos by incorporating hashtags or posting the video as a paid ad targeted at specific audiences that are most likely to be interested in your merchandise.
In your videos, you can provide direct links to purchase specific products contained in them. Viewers will only need to click on the product to add it to their shopping cart, then complete their purchase on your website.
Some shoppable video platforms can create a mobile app for you, where you can include live streams, past videos, and photos of the products you offer, allowing and encouraging shoppers to purchase the items they want at the click of a button.
Mobile apps are valuable to brands that want to further streamline the buying process and brand loyalty. Regularly posting new videos in your app will promote regular customer engagement, and you can alert clients (who agree to accept notifications) of current sales, promotions, and new products.
Additionally, with a mobile app, you can allow customers to purchase what they want with their saved purchasing information. Once they establish an account with you, there will be no continued need to fill in their details each time they make a purchase.
Many shoppable video platforms include capabilities for customer loyalty and rewards programs, which encourage consumers to purchase regularly from your e-commerce store by offering unique benefits, such as cashback or free products. Users can track their rewards through their mobile app or your store’s website.
Some shoppable video platforms offer marketing automation opportunities, such as automated emails and abandoned cart notifications. You can set specific parameters for the platform to follow to encourage clients to take a particular action, like completing their orders.
Other platforms encourage users to sign up for your organization’s newsletters or automated SMS text messages, allowing you to build an audience across multiple communication channels.
Before live streaming to share information about your sales or promote a product, you’ll want to ensure you have enough items currently in stock to fulfill the influx of customer orders. Some platforms include inventory management tools, which allow you to assess your stock in real-time across multiple warehouses and stores.
With the assistance of these tools, you’ll know precisely when it’s time to replenish stock. You can also take down ads for currently-unavailable products, ensuring you don’t accidentally disappoint clients who place an order only to find the item they’re excited to receive is out of stock.
One of your client’s first questions when placing an order will usually concern the expected delivery date. Few customers will make a purchase if you can’t deliver their products within a few days.
Thankfully, some shoppable video platforms allow you to manage your shipping process through them, setting specific shipping rates for your products based on the customer’s location and delivery preferences.
Additionally, to encourage further sales, you can set parameters that allow for free shipping on certain products or entire orders once a certain price threshold is reached.
A serviceable shoppable video platform will provide robust analytics that allow you to examine the performance of your shoppable videos and specify which resulted in the highest level of customer engagement.
You can then use these analytics to determine your best-selling products, sales revenue, and customer returns. On some platforms, you can even obtain real-time information about your available stock across multiple warehouses.
Most videos benefit from proper editing, allowing you to cut out unnecessary fluff and provide professional-looking content that is more attractive to consumers. Instead of using a third-party video editing program, some platforms will allow you to edit your videos within their system; that way, you won’t need to pay additional fees for editing software.
Whenever you live stream a shoppable video, you’ll likely find that your users have comments and questions. Some shoppable video platforms include the option for live chat, either with a sales agent or an AI bot. With a chatbot, you can quickly answer customer questions, allowing you to address clients’ concerns before placing their orders. In some cases, you can even moderate the comments you receive automatically, blocking negative information about your brand or its merchandise.
You might benefit from a collaboration with an influencer if you don’t have any in-house talent to show off your merchandise. When you work with an influencer, you’ll pay them a set amount of money to advertise your products to their audience, which should align with your typical clientele.
Some social media platforms, such as TikTok, allow for influencer collaboration directly within the app. You simply search for someone who meets your criteria and offer them your proposal.
Additionally, if you’re located in the U.S., you can work with approved Amazon influencers to showcase your products through live streams and videos through the Amazon Influencer Program.
Over the past decade, shoppable video platforms have become available to retailers seeking to increase their revenue and user engagement through video content.
Here are a few recommendations if you’d like to experience how a dedicated shoppable video system can benefit your brand:
Instagram was one of the first social media tools to introduce shoppable videos to the mainstream public, and it currently offers an established platform that retailers can rely on to effectively reach their followers and other audiences that fit their criteria. Companies can live stream their product options or create videos, slideshows, and carousel images.
Within the platform, you can showcase new product collections or individual items and tag available items for sale so that users can simply click on an item to visit your website and make a purchase.
One of the best things about Instagram’s shopping platform is that it’s free to businesses who qualify to use it. You’ll need an Instagram business page and an active website with a verified domain to qualify, as well as operate in a supported market area.
Most Western countries, including the U.S., Canada, member states of the European Economic Area, and Australia, are considered supported markets. Businesses that operate U.S. storefronts can even sell items directly through Instagram, as well, allowing users to further streamline their shopping experience.
Of course, if you intend to run paid ads using shoppable videos, you’ll incur expenses according to the budget you set for your ads.
CommentSold is the most robust system on the market for companies looking for a holistic approach to shoppable videos, as it includes inventory management, shipping and fulfillment features, and marketing analytics.
With CommentSold, you can create your own mobile app and store website for your customers to visit. You can also use it to hold live streams or post pre-recorded videos to audiences across Instagram and Facebook. Furthermore, CommentSold contains automation features for email and SMS and tools to help you create content, like product descriptions, all at the touch of a button.
CommentSold is an effective tool for companies in various market sectors, including women’s retail, home decor, sports merchandise, and jewelry. Its Basic and Business Plans are appropriate for retailers with less than $5K monthly in revenue, while large-scale retailers have the option of an enterprise plan that includes additional support features, such as a dedicated account manager.
The Amazon Live Creator app is a platform for shoppable videos available to qualified influencers, Amazon Sellers, and Amazon Vendors. You can live stream product demonstrations for your merchandise through the app, allowing viewers to purchase your products directly through Amazon.
With Amazon Live, you can connect with your customers via chat during your live stream. You can also share promotion codes, allowing clients to save money on purchases. Amazon provides helpful data insights, such as the number of live views, product clicks, and sales. Once a live stream ends, it will appear on your channel or product page, depending on your seller classification.
New sellers who opt to live stream with Amazon follow a rating system. They begin as Rising Stars, where their content appears to anyone who decides to follow them. Their videos will also appear on Amazon.com/Live, and as sellers increase their ratings, their streams may appear on the Amazon home page, which (as you can imagine) offers significant revenue opportunities.
The Amazon Live Creator app is only available through the Apple App Store, and it responds well on iPhones. While it is also available for download on iPads, Amazon Live doesn’t optimize its video content to match the screen size of a tablet. Regardless, Amazon Live is completely free to use, so it’s an excellent opportunity for brands to experiment with shoppable videos. Over time, as you perfect your live streaming, you’ll gain more followers and increase sales.
Clicktivated helps large retailers create shoppable videos that are easily shareable across social media platforms. Retailers who live stream their product offerings can download a recording of their video to distribute over their social media pages or on their website.
Each video contains clickable links to purchase items on display in live-action shots. Once customers click on a product, they are directed to the company’s retail website, where they can finalize their purchase.
Clicktivated counts many big names among its customers, including Target, GMC, Under Armour, and Zappos, and the company holds a patent on its software, incorporating customer behavioral data to identify what customers like the most about your products. To learn more about their pricing and additional features, interested parties must contact Clicktivated for a consultation.
Buywith is an interesting new take on the concept of a shoppable video platform. When a brand, influencer, or celebrity shares a Buywith link, anyone interested in joining the live stream can participate in a live shopping experience.
Typically, a Buywith live stream appears directly on an e-commerce platform or website instead of through a social media platform, and these events can be short or extended, allowing companies to offer in-depth information about their merchandise.
Through a Buywith live stream, anytime a customer viewing a live stream sees a product they like, they can add it to their shopping cart and finalize their purchase. They can also ask questions of their shopping host through an ongoing live chat. Buywith includes content moderation so that negative comments will be blocked from the audience in favor of constructive feedback.
Companies that need support from influencers can easily search the Buywith marketplace for a shopping host that meets their criteria. Influencers can advertise your items and services, allowing greater collaboration between brands and experienced content creators.
Buywith clients include major retailers like H&M, Estee Lauder, Bobbi Brown, and Charlotte Tilbury. Various pricing options are available, from a basic package offering one free weekly live stream to fully customizable, enterprise-level packages.
With so many available options, knowing which platform suits your needs is challenging. Here are a few recommendations to consider in your decision-making process.
If you’re a new e-commerce retailer without an established following, you’ll want to focus your budget on building your following and sales channels, so purchasing access to an expensive all-in-one shoppable video platform like Buywith or CommentSold is probably not worthwhile.
Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean you can’t join in on the shoppable video experience through Instagram or Amazon Live. Both services are completely free to companies that meet their qualifications, so you can work on your video content while increasing brand awareness and sales that way.
Larger-scale platforms, like Buywith, Clicktivated, and CommentSold, are relatively easy to use, but having an experienced shoppable video content manager can help ensure you’re not wasting time and money on videos that ultimately don’t convert.
If you don’t have a dedicated marketing team, consider starting with inexpensive options like Instagram and Amazon Live, and if you don’t possess the capabilities to produce your own videos, consider outsourcing the task to experienced influencers or video marketers. They can ensure your videos align with your brand voice and display your products attractively and professionally.
Not all retailers will reap benefits from every platform. For instance, an organization that doesn’t have much traffic flowing to its online retail store may not benefit from Buywith, which primarily shares live streams through a company’s website. Similarly, a retailer with a comprehensive CMS or CRM system may not need the extensive features, like inventory management or automated emails and SMS texts, that CommentSold offers.
You’ll want to identify the features that align best with your business needs and select the right shoppable video platform that contains those features.
Some companies don’t have extensive product catalogs on offer. Instead, they may market just a few products. For instance, an e-bike manufacturer might sell only one or two types of bikes at a time.
On the other hand, investing in a comprehensive shoppable video platform might be well worth it if you offer a vast selection of women’s wear. Companies with many available products will find more opportunities to showcase their merchandise in shoppable video formats.
An athletic store could use CommentSold, for instance, to showcase its products through a video of a jogger wearing the brand’s clothes and sneakers, while a cosmetic store might use a shoppable video in an explainer video on applying eyeshadow.
When used appropriately, shoppable videos can drastically improve the customer experience and increase revenue, so if you’d like to see if shoppable video content can benefit your company, we suggest trying the concept out through free platforms like Instagram or Amazon Live.
Do understand, however, that there is a learning curve to creating effective shoppable videos. You’ll need to plan your video, ensure they are engaging and fun to watch, and set aside time to edit it so that it has a professional appearance and presents your company in a positive light.
If you’ve already tried shoppable video and experienced some of its benefits, consider investing in an established shoppable video platform that aligns with your company’s needs. Platforms like CommentSold, Buywith, and Clicktivated offer built-in features that streamline your marketing processes and make producing many videos at scale easier. You’ll likely find them helpful in building your audience and encouraging brand awareness.
Content Writer @ Galactic Fed
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