The ultimate guide to product videos in e-commerce

Insights Team

We’re all used to seeing videos everywhere in our day-to-day lives. Having videos to support our decision-making is slowly but surely becoming an expectation instead of just a nice-to-have. 

Old-school brick-and-mortar shops still have one advantage over e-commerce: Buyers can look at and examine the products they’re interested in before making a purchase. 

Therefore, the challenge for e-commerce businesses is to replicate that experience as faithfully as possible. And that’s where product videos come in. 

Regardless of which products or services are sold in your online store, adding videos makes the product page much more lively. They satisfy shoppers’ curiosity about the product. 

Greeting potential customers with a high-quality video can be the difference maker in converting interest into sales. 

But how do you go about it in general? In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about product videos in e-commerce. It’s a long one, so grab a snack and let’s get started.

Table of contents

1. Why do product videos matter in e-commerce?
2. Key elements of effective product videos
3. Types of product videos
4. How to use product videos in e-commerce
5. The ROI of using product videos in e-commerce
6. Overcoming challenges and obstacles
7. Case studies and success stories
8. How to get started

1. Why do product videos matter? 

Having a library of product videos is a must for every online retailer. Besides improving the customer experience, videos also help your store rank higher in search engine results.

According to the State of Marketing 2023 report, more than 50% of marketers rely on product videos, and the number is climbing. Product videos will help keep your e-commerce business relevant.

Apart from these associated benefits, product videos also directly impact your online store in the following ways:

Increased conversion rates

Online shoppers watch product videos to make decisions.

A global consumer survey conducted last year found that nearly half (48%) of respondents said that videos increased their confidence in online purchases.

Paid product reviews and brand testimonials, as well as user-generated content like unboxing videos and reviews boost your store’s trustworthiness in your target audience’s estimation.

Videos also help potential customers get a better understanding of the product. Remember how every student in your middle school classroom looked forward to the day the teacher wheeled in the TV? 

That’s because humans are visual learners. Most online shoppers will turn to video to better understand how a product works.

Videos provide a comprehensive view of products

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

If that’s true, then videos are worth 10,000! Video is one of the best mediums to give customers a comprehensive view of the product. 

Through product videos, customers can see a demonstration of how to set up or install a product while browsing your online store. 

For example, an e-commerce business selling power drills or hiking tents would greatly benefit from adding usage and assembly instructions.

Improved customer engagement

There’s a reason companies have spent billions of dollars on advertisements for as long as TV has existed. The power of visual storytelling is highly compelling. 

As a storytelling medium, videos are perfect for sharing information while also appealing to the emotions of the customer. Improving customer engagement is the first step to increasing sales. 

As discovered in a 2014 survey, 73% of U.S. adults stated they were more likely to make a purchase after watching an explanatory video.

And, what’s more, really engaged customers might even make some video content of their own — such as a review on their Instagram or TikTok page. 

Reduced product returns

Product returns are undesirable for any e-commerce retailer. Not only does your brand’s reputation take a hit in the customer’s opinion, but you’re also likely to be saddled with the return shipping costs. 

Most returns can be chalked up to some combination of disappointment and unrealistic expectations of a product.

Having high-quality, informative videos on the product page helps manage customer expectations. By accurately representing the product and its features, videos lower the likelihood of a customer buying a product only to find it not working how they thought it would.

Reducing returns also means a more sustainable e-commerce business — and the less we ship items back and forth, the better. 

2. Some key elements of effective product videos

With so many apparent benefits, you want to get started on product videos immediately, right? 
So, what should you look for to optimize effectiveness? Compelling product videos all share a few traits in common. Some of those traits are:

Clear and informative content

Customers want to learn something when they click on a product video. That’s why e-commerce product videos need to avoid fluff and remain on-topic. 

Concise videos that convey all the necessary information quickly are highly effective when demonstrating the use and benefits of your products and services. 

High-quality production

A product video needs to be visually appealing if you want to hold your customer’s attention. Production value matters. These videos communicate a brand’s identity to the target audience. They need to look good.

That doesn’t mean they need to be the next Avatar, but they should still make the best use of the budget to look as professional as possible. 

Optimization for different devices and platforms 

A successful product video is one that gets shared organically among its target audience. 

Brands and online retailers want their product videos to be shared widely. To that end, product videos should be produced with multiple platforms and devices in mind. The more places the video is visible, the better it is for your e-commerce business. 

3. Types of product videos

Every product video is unique. The one thing they should all have in common is they should aim to achieve one of these three goals:

✨ Making a sale
✨ Informing consumers
✨ Reinforcing brand identity

When making product videos or deciding to showcase existing video in your store, the first question is, what are you trying to achieve? Once your goal is clear, planning your video strategy  becomes much easier. This will help you decide what type of product video best suits your purposes. 

The key to success lies in data analysis, developing a well-defined video strategy, and establishing clear objectives for video content, whether it's to increase conversion rates, improve customer satisfaction, or enhance engagement.

With this in mind, product videos can be broadly classified into the following types:

▶️ Product demonstrations
▶️ Product reviews/testimonials
▶️ Product unboxing
▶️ How-to/tutorial videos
▶️ Product comparison videos
▶️ Brand videos

Let’s look at these different types in a bit more detail.

Product demonstrations

How often have you scrolled TikToks or Instagram Reels on your phone and suddenly found yourself hypnotized by some random baking video or a clip of someone building a miniature model of a house? 

Well, you’re not alone. Watching a product in action immediately grabs a consumer’s attention.

In situations where you want to showcase a product’s features and functionality or demonstrate how to use it effectively, product demonstration videos are the way to go. 

While shoppers may never be able to physically pick up and examine products in an online store, high-quality product videos go some way toward bridging that virtual gap.

Product demonstration videos can take the form of a spotlight vignette or a practical exhibition.

For instance, a retailer selling electronics might use a spotlight video to show off the sleek design of a new phone model. In contrast, a kitchen appliance store might use a demo video showcasing the many modes of a new blender. 

Product reviews & testimonials created by brands

Imagine two hot dog carts on the same street. One has a queue stretching around the block, while the other only serves the occasional distracted customer. 

Which one do you think has a more loyal customer base, and which one is more appealing to someone who just passes by? 

Us humans tend to look at the line and think, “I want what they’re having!” and to avoid that sinking feeling of FOMO, get their hotdogs where everyone else is getting them. 

Testimonial videos serve the same purpose as that queue. They convey trustworthiness and reliability.

A testimonial video usually depicts a previous customer narrating their experience of owning a product. They serve as a form of social proof for potential buyers that the product will work as advertised. 

Knowing that other consumers are satisfied with the product could motivate viewers to make a purchase themselves.

Testimonial videos can also be used to promote the usefulness of a product. Consumers view people’s real-life experiences as more authentic than branded communications. This authenticity can help drive sales and overcome objections from potential buyers. 

Product reviews & testimonials created by users — and unboxing videos

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools in both e-commerce and physical retail. 

User-generated content—like reviews and testimonials – works much like a friend recommending a movie to you versus just watching the trailer. Buyers are more likely to trust a positive review from an independent third party rather than the brand itself.

Unboxing videos and user reviews are an excellent way for a brand to connect with its customer base.

When a wealth of third-party content about a product exists, it shows that there’s already a thriving community of users. Like testimonial videos, user-generated content is another form of social proof of a product’s effectiveness.

How-to/tutorial videos

Watching a step-by-step video guide is a bit like having an expert mentor right beside you, explaining and demonstrating the process to you in simple terms. 

Just like when picking a mentor, most of us are more likely to trust a tutorial video from someone who has hands-on experience, or the manufacturer who has in-depth knowledge of their own product. 

From makeup tutorials to how-to videos on setting up your camping gear, the internet is brimming with how-to videos. They provide both practical guidance but also social proof and a sense of community. 

Product comparison videos

Product comparison videos play a crucial role in helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions.

To be honest, in this day and age it might feel overwhelming to choose the right product from such a wide variety of options. Product comparison videos act as a reliable source of information, presenting a side-by-side analysis of different options.

Whether a tech gadget, an appliance, or a beauty product, consumers appreciate seeing a visual comparison that highlights the pros and cons of each product. 

User videos often provide different perspectives and personal anecdotes, while manufacturer videos offer expert insights and in-depth knowledge about the products. Both are useful when making purchase decisions. 

Brand videos

Finally, let’s look at brand videos. 

Well-made brand videos are like the most captivating storyteller you ever encountered, telling you a story so vividly you can’t help but listen. They allow you a little peek into their company’s mission, culture, and offering. 

By taking a look, the viewer quickly gets a sense of what sets that brand apart from others, and why they should align themselves with that particular brand. 

It’s an easy way for manufacturers to share their story with their target audience directly. This helps them build a lasting relationship and brand loyalty.

 🔗 Read more: How to create, find and use product videos in e-commerce

4. How to use product videos in e-commerce

By now, you will have realized how vital product videos are for success in e-commerce.

Whether you already run an online store or want to start an e-commerce business, you should know how best to use product videos for your business’ benefit.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when getting started with product video:

Determine your objectives. Before you begin, clearly envision what you want your product video to achieve. Knowing whether you want to increase sales, reduce returns, or build trust and credibility will determine what kind of product video you need.

Choose the right products. Not every struggling actor becomes a Hollywood star. In the same way, not every product will make a compelling video subject. Online retailers should use complex or visually appealing products that benefit from video demonstrations and excite viewers.

Showcase product features. While product videos can sometimes be entertaining, they should always be informational. Customers watching the video should be able to learn about a product’s key functionalities, features, and appearance.

Keep it concise and engaging. Short and sweet is the way to go for product videos. A runtime of 30 seconds to two minutes is optimal. That’s more than enough time to communicate a product’s usefulness without reaching the limits of a customer’s attention span.

Tell a story. People can forget facts and figures, but they always remember their feelings. A product video should tell a story that connects the viewer emotionally. And don’t forget the happy ending where the product’s usefulness makes its owner’s life easier!

Provide usage examples. For shoppers who have doubts about a product working as advertised, seeing is believing. Product videos should showcase functionality, versatility, and practicality. Use real-life scenarios and examples to show how your product can solve a customer’s problems.

Address customer concerns. When you know your target audience, you can address their concerns through your product videos. Brands can use product videos to answer frequently asked questions, compare themselves to the competition, and respond to any other queries or objections.

Optimize for different platforms and devices. If your online store is accessible via multiple platforms and devices, your product videos should be too. Remember different screen sizes, formats, and orientations through which your videos will be viewed.

Incorporate SEO techniques. Having videos on a product page already boosts its search engine rankings. Take advantage of this by doubling down on SEO optimization techniques, like tailored video titles, URLs, and tags. This helps improve your store’s discoverability for new customers.

Use video hosting platforms. Hosting your videos on popular platforms like YouTube or Vimeo is a great way to increase their reach. Social media integration on these platforms also lets your user community share the videos among themselves, boosting your brand’s accessibility and profile.

Measure performance. Like every other area of your e-commerce business, you need to measure your product videos’ performance. Metrics like views, engagement, click-through rates, and conversion rates give you a glimpse of how consumers view your product so you can modify your approach.

Test and iterate. Don’t be scared to experiment with your product videos. You won’t know what works best for your brand until you’ve tried different styles, formats, and approaches to making product videos. Find what resonates with your consumers to generate maximum engagement.

🔗 Read more: Examples of the best product videos in e-commerce

5. The ROI of using product videos

High-quality product videos do represent a cost for e-commerce businesses. But when used correctly, they also yield significant returns.

Here are a few statistics that underscore how important video is for e-commerce businesses:

✨ 92% of respondents in Wyzowl’s Video Marketing Statistics 2023 report said videos gave them a good return on their investment
✨ 73% of U.S. adults surveyed by Animoto said that watching a video that explains a product’s usefulness makes them more likely to buy that product
✨ 62% of Google searches include pages that feature videos

Increased click-through rates and engagement

As more e-commerce businesses adopt videos, the medium’s impact on their success is undeniable. 

Research from Wyzowl found that nearly 80% of consumers gain confidence in a product after watching a video. Since videos play a key role in the online customer’s journey, it’s no surprise that their use boosts click-through rates and engagement.

High conversion rates and average order values

Increased traffic from clicks and dwell times isn’t the only reason to use product videos. They also drive conversion rates by convincing fence-sitting shoppers to make a purchase.

Product videos that boost sales for your brand are assets that can provide long-term benefits and continuous ROI for an online store.

🔗 Read more: The measurable benefits of product video in e-commerce

6. Overcoming challenges and obstacles

So, what can go wrong?

Here are a couple of common stumbling blocks for retailers when it comes to incorporating video in their online store, and how to overcome them.

Budget and resource constraints

Good content costs money to make.

That doesn’t mean you should forgo the benefits of high-quality product videos. Brands on a tight budget should strategize and find a way to get the most out of the available resources.

Having a wealth of user-generated content to turn to is a blessing in such a scenario. If fresh content must be created, consider using a DIY approach that looks good without cutting corners. 

Accessibility and loading time

Once your product videos go online, you can’t control where and how customers see them.

Ambient noise, background disturbances, and poor internet connections can derail the viewing experience. That’s why brands should keep things like loading time and accessibility in mind while creating product videos.

Optimizing video performance and increasing accessibility by adding subtitles help your video reach a much wider audience.

Manual video management

Managing your videos manually can be hard. 

Where do you upload them? How do you embed them onto your product pages? If you use user-generated content, how do you ensure there are no broken links?

Keeping track of your videos takes time and requires effort, so it’s a good idea to consider automating at least those parts of the process that can be automated easily. 

7. Case studies and success stories

From major brands to smaller online stores, product videos have been proven to help achieve e-commerce business goals. Here are a few examples of how brands used product videos to meet differing targets.

Lumene: Increasing customer engagement

Lumene, a leading Nordic beauty brand, had invested in creating high-quality videos about its products.

By including videos in the product detail pages on the online store as well as partnered retailers’ stores, the brand was able to overcome its video distribution problems.

From September 2022 to February 2023, it witnessed a new high of over 10,000+ monthly views.

Outnorth: Boosting sales

Popular outdoors brand Outnorth has a huge product catalog.

Supplying buyers with information on this vast collection was daunting until it automatically linked videos to the product detail page on the online store.

After taking this step, Outnorth witnessed a significant increase in conversions from customers’ shopping carts (14.8% increase on desktop and 4.9% on mobile).

Mike’s Bikes: Increased customer engagement

Bike retailer Mike’s Bikes wanted to add product videos to their store to amp up their customer engagement. 

To do so, the company added over 1,700 videos on the product pages. This led to a 33.5% decrease in exit rates and a 12.4% decrease in bounce rate, and much more.

🔗 Read more: Transforming e-commerce success stories with effective product videos

8. What should you do next to get started on your product video journey?

It’s evident that product videos are integral to the success of e-commerce businesses. They improve buyer-seller relations, disseminate important information, boost sales, and reduce returns. 

With Videoly, you can ensure that carefully curated videos receive prominent placement within online stores. 

Whether you're an online retailer or a brand looking to showcase your videos, consider a software tool like Videoly to turn your browsers into buyers by streamlining the process of integrating product videos on your site.

Making product videos a priority will help your online store gain an edge over the competition.

Get started here!