A Practical Guide to Video for Your eCommerce Store: Camera, Lighting, Editing and Exporting

Video is an incredibly valuable tool for eCommerce retailers. It can help to build your brand in a more engaging way, gain customer trust and even increase conversions. Unfortunately, video can sometimes be time-consuming and can often be too complicated to produce - if you’re unsure of where to start.

Here’s how to create great visual content for your audience that will significantly improve your customer’s experience. This blog post is mainly about integrating video directly with your online store, but if you want to learn more about using video in your digital marketing strategy, check out our other blog post on video within social media.


Where to Utilise Video on Your Store

When thinking about beginning to produce video content, it's important to consider where exactly you're going to embed the video within your eCommerce store/online presence to get the best return on investment.

This could include creating a video that showcases your brand in just a minute or two, that you can place on your 'About' page to give potential customers a better sense of who you are, what you do, and why they should buy from you. Don't try and sell your products in this video - instead, concentrate on selling your brand.

When the customer is further along in the journey, its time to discuss the products themselves. This can take place on individual product pages, or on brand collection listings. Relatively brief, but information-heavy videos work best here as customers are looking to gather as much information about the products you're offering in the shortest amount of time possible.


Getting Started with Video

Video Camera

When it comes to starting their own video production, the biggest barrier for most retailers is the initial cost and complexity of purchasing the necessary equipment when they’re unsure if it will bring them a return on investment. Thankfully, you probably already have a perfectly serviceable camera in your pocket.


Camera

iPhone Camera

Most modern smartphones will allow you to record 1080p HD video, and even more modern phones will give you an extra 30FPS, giving you silky smooth video that will give the impression that you have a professional set-up.

However, a lot of us have shaky hands, and even a slight shake that you may not notice day-to-day is sure to translate to handheld video. Phones are also specifically designed to be as light as possible, which can make for unstable video. Buying a tripod can be a simple solution for this and many are relatively affordable. Find a sturdy, reasonably priced tripod and a shoe (a bracket to connect your phone to the tripod) for your phone and you will have a video production suite successfully constructed.


Audio

Beautiful visuals are no good if your audience can’t hear what you have to say. Not all product-focused videos need audio from your source though, as you can always just include royalty-free music (generated by a service like Jukedeck, or purchased through any number of sites) over the top of the video.

If you do have someone talking during your video though, you’re going to want to make sure you have a dedicated microphone for that person. Your smartphone’s microphone might pick them up, but if you’re shooting from further away, the person is going to be harder to hear and your core messages will probably be lost.

A good quality lavalier microphone will give you great sound recording no matter where your camera is, and doesn't look completely unnatural on-camera.

Depending on your budget, you might also choose to go for a boom microphone, thats either held or sits on the top of the camera. This eliminates any microphone in the shot and gives the audience a deeper sense of immersion, as they can't see any of the behind the scenes action.


Lighting

Lighting

Lighting is another incredibly important yet often neglected element of online video. Any video is useless if your subject is in the dark, so it’s essential that you have appropriate lighting. This can be achieved in a few ways. The first way is natural light. By simply placing your subject in a room (or outdoor setting) with good natural lighting, you’re in with a great chance of getting high quality footage. The only thing you have to worry about now is Mother Nature, who may make it necessary to move your production indoors.

If you have a poorly lit office, have been struck by bad weather, or are just based somewhere that doesn't get a great deal of sunlight , you may need to invest in some artificial lighting.

If you wish to learn more about lighting for your videos, Lifehacker have a great article on purchasing simple, cost-effective equipment that you can read here.


Editing

Once you have your video clips recorded, it's time to edit them together. There are a multitude of video editing programs available and it all depends on your current resource and skill set.

For beginners, all Macs come with iMovie pre-installed. This is a great option as it’s incredibly simple to use and will be able to achieve almost everything you'll need for your video, including creating fancy title sequences and adding catchy background music. For Windows users, Movie Maker is still a viable option for simple cutting and syncing. Don’t expect to be able to accomplish anything too creative though!

EditingA more advanced option is Adobe's Premiere Pro CC, and chances are you yourself, or someone on your team, already utilises Adobe's Creative Cloud service. Get them to install Premiere Pro CC and you'll find yourself with a more advanced editor, that can help you create some incredibly complex effects, without too much hassle.

Another powerful, advanced option is Corels VideoStudio Pro X9, which has a slightly steeper learning curve, but will give you the power to create incredibly unique content for your incredibly unique eCommerce brand.

When you're just starting out creating video, make sure you focus on getting the right sales-focused content across without spending too much time on eccentric effects. Customers looking to buy a new fridge-freezer aren't going to be swayed by fireworks alone.

If you’re still struggling to create the effect you want with your video, outsourcing your editing may be a viable option, as it gives you the freedom to focus on the ideas, without getting bogged down in the specifics and complexity of post-production.


Exporting

Choosing the right format to export/render your video in can have a huge impact on both quality and file size, two important factors to consider, especially when embedding videos on your product pages.

Typically, the WMV or MP4 file types are your best option, as they'll give you a good quality file without taking up too much space. If you don't need to think about how much bandwidth/space you're going to be using up (if you're going to be showing the video in a presentation for example), you might want to use AVI for the highest quality possible.

YouTube, Vimeo and other streaming services accept a variety of file types so you shouldn't run into any issues when uploading your videos, although you may struggle with a poor Internet connection if your files are too large.


Examples of Successful eCommerce Video

As previously mentioned, it's easier than you may think to get video right, but it's also just as easy to get it wrong. It's about finding the right balance between professionalism and customer relate-ability that will help build your brand, and therefore, sell more products. Below are a couple of great examples of online brands that have managed to get that balance just right.


The Body Shop

Beauty is a very profitable industry, especially online, and beauty videos are a huge, growing market. Research by Pixability found that beauty videos amassed 45.3 billion views on YouTube in 2015. The Body Shop is a brand that people around the world will be familiar with - with locations in over 60+ countries.

If you head over to The Body Shop’s online store, you’ll find that they include embedded video as much as possible, including in the main product image gallery. This is a great way to bring video content above the fold (visible before the user scrolls down the page).



As you can see from the video above, The Body Shop have used influencer outreach to get their products out to as many relevant people as possible. By partnering with beauty vloggers, they’re instantly capturing the attention of the personality’s subscribers and pre-existing community, who they know are already interested in beauty.


Seattle Coffee Gear

The ‘crew’ behind Seattle Coffee Gear love coffee and their whole brand is in place to reflect that. To show that they’re not just another boilerplate vendor, reselling coffee machines from the better-known brands, they put together 'Crew Reviews' of the products they sell, showcasing the features and providing initial instructions on the ease of use of each machine.



On Seattle Coffee Gear’s website, you’ll find their videos embedded just below the fold, as to not be too intrusive, but still easily accessible. The videos are displayed before the detailed specification of each product's features, as people tend to be more engaged when watching products in action.

Coffee and beauty are two different industries, so it’s important to note the versatility of video and how it can be used across a broad spectrum of different brands. Hopefully the information above will give you the opportunity to create your own video content without overcomplicating things.


eCommerce Video Made Easy

If you’ve been inspired to make a video for your online store, maybe now it's time to create a video for your 'About Us' page, telling more customers about you and your company, or maybe you want to include a video on your homepage showcasing how your products are made. If you have any great tips for working with video in eCommerce, let us know on Twitter @Statement.

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