Zappos.com Sells 6-30% More Merchandise When Accompanied By Video Demos

While the rest of the online video world seems to be paying attention to ad formats, the death of pre-roll, YouTube's ineffectiveness, and video content monetization, a quiet revolution is brewing in the commerce industry. At the Streaming Media West show last month, we had a great session with speakers from the retail industry who explained just how crucial video is to their business.

On of our speakers, Rico Nasol, a Content Team Senior Manager at Zappos.com gave out some great details on what video means to their business, how they utilize video today and what their goals are for next year. Rico was also one of our speakers that was interviewed live on Fox Business News which you can see here. Also, check out this link for a longer interview with Zappos from the show.

The best stat Rico gave out was that Zappos sells anywhere between 6-30% more merchandise, depending on the item, when accompanied by product description videos. Rico says that by the end of next year, Zappos will have ten full working video studios, with the goal of producing around 50,000 product videos by 2010, up from the 8,000 videos they have on the site today. If you want to see a longer interview with Rico, you can check out his red carpet interview on the StreamingMedia.com website.

I get the sense that a lot of people in the online video world forget just how much is going on outside of the media and entertainment industry, or are simply not aware of what's taking place. The commerce, enterprise and government sectors are all doing more with online video today, with positive results, than we have seen so far seeing in the broadcast world. If you're interested in following the online video market in the commerce industry, then you need to check out Justin Foster's blog at www.video-commerce.org and Xavier Casanova's blog at www.videoretailer.org

  • It was a great event Dan. Rico, congrats on the press – you deserve it. Truly a memorable experience. Video is the future of e-commerce. Period.

  • Very interesting video report. I have a google alert that searches for “video sells” because I feel that video is not used in its full potential.
    I’m always curious to look at websites when I go to social networks, such as Qube, ASW, LinkedIn, etc… No doubt, a lot of folks invest time, money and effort into them.
    But most websites that I visit are missing the one thing that make a difference.
    Friends, you need at least one video on your home page!
    Videos bring your world to life. The sounds and images carry an emotional message, hopefully a very good one, which will translate into a real connection between the visitor and whatever you are trying to represent.
    In fact, the website doesn’t need to be spectacular or very sophisticated, as long as you have videos. A crappy website with a great video has more impact than a nice looking but cold one.
    As a video producer and director, I have done a lot of research on the matter, and videos are the most powerful way to communicate your message on your website.
    Photos, animations, moving picture are cute, but they don’t quite convey your real identity and they don’t touch your audience.
    If you sell a Jet leasing business for example, imagine what a difference there is between an ordinary image of an airplane in the sky and a nice dolly shot towards an airplane, it’s door opening, and flight attendant coming out looking at you smiling. The difference is huge, in credibility, and emotion!
    Now, imagine that your short video becomes a hot and exciting commodity as viewers themselves send it to each other, around the world. It turns into a viral video.
    Creating a video that becomes viral can be done only when the 2 following ingredients are present. First, the company must know clearly what the video must contain, and that must be very well understood by the video producer, specially when it comes to demographics. I am always very careful at closely listening to what the people who hire me have to say.
    Secondly, the video director, such as yours truly, must be inspired. His inspiration will bring forth a vision that will illuminate your message, your services and products, ultimately bringing your brand to a new level. And, it doesn’t matter what the nature of your business is. Everything can be interesting.
    It’s the right dosage of those two elements that will make the difference. With that kind of savoir-faire, or know-how, your video will exceed all of your expectations.
    And that is a very exciting thing!

  • Very interesting video report. I have a google alert that searches for “video sells” because I feel that video is not used in its full potential.
    I’m always curious to look at websites when I go to social networks, such as Qube, ASW, LinkedIn, etc… No doubt, a lot of folks invest time, money and effort into them.
    But most websites that I visit are missing the one thing that make a difference.
    Friends, you need at least one video on your home page!
    Videos bring your world to life. The sounds and images carry an emotional message, hopefully a very good one, which will translate into a real connection between the visitor and whatever you are trying to represent.
    In fact, the website doesn’t need to be spectacular or very sophisticated, as long as you have videos. A crappy website with a great video has more impact than a nice looking but cold one.
    As a video producer and director, I have done a lot of research on the matter, and videos are the most powerful way to communicate your message on your website.
    Photos, animations, moving picture are cute, but they don’t quite convey your real identity and they don’t touch your audience.
    If you sell a Jet leasing business for example, imagine what a difference there is between an ordinary image of an airplane in the sky and a nice dolly shot towards an airplane, it’s door opening, and flight attendant coming out looking at you smiling. The difference is huge, in credibility, and emotion!
    Now, imagine that your short video becomes a hot and exciting commodity as viewers themselves send it to each other, around the world. It turns into a viral video.
    Creating a video that becomes viral can be done only when the 2 following ingredients are present. First, the company must know clearly what the video must contain, and that must be very well understood by the video producer, specially when it comes to demographics. I am always very careful at closely listening to what the people who hire me have to say.
    Secondly, the video director, such as yours truly, must be inspired. His inspiration will bring forth a vision that will illuminate your message, your services and products, ultimately bringing your brand to a new level. And, it doesn’t matter what the nature of your business is. Everything can be interesting.
    It’s the right dosage of those two elements that will make the difference. With that kind of savoir-faire, or know-how, your video will exceed all of your expectations.
    And that is a very exciting thing!

  • Ken

    Great Post Dan. I think Zappos gets it – the power of product demo videos is real.
    I think the primary obstacles for smaller retailers are:
    1. Low cost production
    2. Effective hosting
    There are several companies working on lowering production costs. Most of these services run around $500 per video. This is great for an evergreen video about your business. But, if you’re trying to do more granular product videos, this won’t fly – especially for smaller retailers trying to do several items.
    So while companies like Zappos and Vat19 probably have in-house production to bring costs down, smaller retailers need to embrace cameras like The Flip or the new Kodak Zi8
    For hosting, the Online Video Platform (OVP) space is growing, but most are not specifically geared toward retailers selling product. But, since YouTube is free, most merchants us that.
    But there’s some problems with free sites like YouTube merchants should be aware of:
    – No Free Lunch:
    o YouTube sells ads so get ready to have a pre/post or overlay for a competitor on your product video
    – Call to action:
    o YouTube does not always provide call to action links
    – Traffic Leakage:
    o Click on an overlay – visitor is gone
    o Double click the video – visitors is sent to YouTube
    – Player:
    o Have a player with your name, not YouTube’s
    o Host/stream the .FLV for use with your own player
    Now for a shameless plug ☺ merchants should check out http://www.ShopWatchBuy.com a video enabled e-commerce marketplace.
    As you would expect with a marketplace, shoppers can find listings by category, price, location, etc… But our transactional video widget allows Sellers to redirect shopper to a website or paypal account with a “Buy Now” call to action button.

  • I’m a huge advocate of online video. We’ve done a test relating integrated conversions and viewership. 89% of visitors watch the entire demo with a CTR (on calls-to-action) of ~15%.
    Great to see the support of big organizations!
    The details are at http://www.redwoodsmedia.com

  • The video doesn’t work. 🙁

  • Something is wrong with the video. It’s not playing.

  • I am a bit disappointed. I was so excited to watch the video. It’s logging.

  • I am looking forward that you will fix this video. I am been searching and I found this! This might be helpful to me.

  • Alex

    Hoping the video be fixed the soonest possible since i know this will be helpful to me…It was a great event Dan. Rico, congrats on the press – you deserve it. It’s a great experience. God Bless..

  • Hi,
    The video is not working, i thought I will find it interesting but then I disappointed with it, still looking forward that you can fixed that problem so that sooner or later I can watch it. Thank you.

  • Thank you so much! I’ll watch it later!

  • I am glad to watch your video, Dan it is a great job, you are right theres somebody that not aware of what’s taking place. The future of e-commerce. Period is the what we called “video”

  • Alureon

    Video demos are really helpful especially when advertising. That’s a great way to endorse and make your product known. The videos should have high quality and very enticing so that the viewers will want to buy what you are selling.

  • Margarita Machine

    If you’re running a website there really isn’t a good excuse to not offer some kind of product related video. It really does help a great deal to drive sales. And these days, with YouTube, its a snap to put up a video on your site. Takes all of about 30 seconds. If you’ve been hesitant to try, I encourage to give it a shot. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is.