How Ecommerce Startups Can Use Shoppable Video & Scale Fast

By Rodney Laws | Ecommerce

Dec 09

Every ecommerce startup seeking growth in 2019 should look to social media. It’s a popular and functional channel that provides an array of sales and marketing features to help you grow.

The latest social feature that startups should use is shoppable video. The perfect blend of ecommerce and visuals, it’s ideal for connecting with customers and selling products in an organic, accessible medium.

Read on to learn more about shoppable video and how your ecommerce startup can use it to scale fast in 2019 and 2020.

What is shoppable video?

In late 2018, Instagram released a variety of features to augment its existing array of ecommerce offerings.

The platform already provided a number of functions for online merchants, including product ads and shoppable Stories. But this new wave of features included even greater functionality, spanning more comprehensive business pages, saveable product posts and, of course, shoppable videos.

As the name suggests, shoppable videos let users purchase products from videos, directly in their Instagram feed. It combines social ecommerce with video content to give digital merchants a valuable sales channel, and one that ecommerce startups can capitalize on to scale fast in 2019.

But shoppable video isn’t just tied to Instagram. Technology exists that lets you make any video shoppable, regardless of the social platform it’s on.

Why does it matter for scaling ecommerce startups?

Social media is a crucial channel for startups to occupy. Each platform boasts hundreds of thousands and even billions of monthly active users. Consequently, social media is a thriving hub where your customers are active the most.

Video, photo carousels, Stories, live video, and more provide a wealth of ways for merchants to market their wares. But what really makes social media such a valuable channel for ecommerce startups is the seamless integrations each platform offers for online retail. Instagram especially has a great video ecosystem for ecommerce sellers.

Shoppable video will help you overcome the challenge of generating more leads, creating a buzz around your products, and being where your target audience hangs out online.

How can I use it to scale fast?

You know why shoppable video is so valuable for ecommerce startups. Now let’s break down how you can use it to scale faster in 2019.

Give your customers a reason to engage

Your shoppable videos aren’t a passive thing. They can and should be interactive, encouraging participation from the viewer. But it’s not enough to simply give them the option to engage — you need to compel them to do so.

Immerse your viewer in your story and use your narrative to drive your viewers to click. Combine interactivity with your story, making the narrative twists of your video decisions to be taken by your customers.

A good story engages your customers, compelling them to act. To that end, create a story around your product and put your customer at the center.

The best way to do this is by placing your product naturally in the video — no clumsy product placements here! This helps your customer connect with the story itself, which then leads them organically to your product.

Use overlays to inform the viewer without distracting

Video overlays are an important part of shoppable video. They guide the viewer to products and interaction opportunities, shaping their experience of a video’s narrative.

The key to a good overlay is to keep it useful but unintrusive. They should complement the video content, not detract from it completely. For instance, you might offer style advice for a dress, or color matching tips for interior decor.

Shoot for subdued overlay colors where possible. If your video has a specific hue or filter, select an overlay color that matches it. Alternatively, opt for branded colors to reinforce your branding through your video.

Keep it tight and concise

Millions of photos and videos are posted to social every day. As such, it’s a busy channel with a lot of content, and users see countless photos and videos whenever they scroll through their feed.

This means that vying for user attention can be a struggle. With so much content to browse through, your customers spend only a few seconds on each post before deciding whether to engage or move on.

That means the pressure is on to hook your audience quickly. You can achieve this through speed and concision.

The specifications for social video vary depending on platform and format: IGTV, video, Story, and so on. But the optimum duration for most social platform videos is no more than 15 seconds.

However, this is just a rule of thumb. It’s possible to create a short, snappy video that hooks in just a few seconds — it just depends on the strength of the content. If you can create a video that is concise, witty, or simple enough to be effective in just a few seconds, then there’s no need to fill the full 15.

Stand out by blending in

The most successful social media users are those who have nailed a unique creative angle. Look at the posts that rank highest in Instagram’s search tool, and you’ll see only high-quality, creative, original visual content.

If you want your shoppable videos to get noticed and engaged with, you should strive for the same. They should blend seamlessly into the rest of the beautiful content on the platform.

Such a tactic delivers a high-quality video that reflects back on your brand. Beyond this, it also prevents it from repelling customers who might switch off if they see a forgettable ad appear in their feed.

The key to getting this right is by striking a balance between natural and professional-quality. Rather than shooting your video entirely in a studio, find a suitable natural location to record in, eschewing the unnatural glare of artificial light for sunlight instead.

This approach makes your shoppable video blend into the other content on your customers’ feeds, consequently boosting their engagement.

Shoppable video blends a popular content format with strong ecommerce functionality to give startups a powerful growth channel. Follow the tips above and create engaging shoppable videos that get your products noticed and your brand scaling into 2019 and beyond.