As the web continues to develop, retailers are constantly trying to adapt technological advances, utilizing the latest methods of capturing and converting new customers. Static text and graphics sites, those without any type of video, still predominate the Internet retailing landscape, which means that sites offering some type of video designed to convert sales are unique enough to garner a potential buyer's attention.

In the past, video technology often created problems for the buying public. Perhaps an individual's Internet connection wasn't fast enough or their computer didn't have enough memory to accommodate a video. But with advances in digital and DSL technology and the huge increase in memory capabilities for personal computers, this is less of a problem. More consumers are able to access this technology. Additionally, web video technology itself has become more user-friendly, allowing potential buyers to shut off and skip videos easily if they'd rather just shop.

A video can help convert sales in a few ways and the manner in which it works is partly dependent upon the type of video you use. There are many choices but they can all be broken down into three categories.

  1. Spokesperson: This type of video is the simplest and, yet, it can be highly effective. The Spokesperson video last from 15 to 45 seconds and it is, in essence, a person talking about some aspect of your business. The retailer, an employee or an actor can perform this type of video. The point is usually to make a personal connection with the consumer. The simplicity of this kind of presentation lends itself to creating an intimate link between you and the customer.
  2. Enhanced Spokesperson: This video utilizes a spokesperson or two and includes additional images and music. They tend to run from 30 seconds to a minute and-a-half. The spokespeople may interact, creating a certain chemistry. Visually, the retailer can introduce certain products, illustrate the effectiveness of their product or services and reinforce their spoken message with visuals. These contain more visual power than the simple spokesperson video, while retaining that personal connection.
  3. Commercial: This type of video can use actors, various scenes and settings and/or animation. They can be 30 seconds to three minutes long and are often very creative and evocative; although they can also communicate facts about your products or services. They are similar to the type of commercial you'll see broadcast on television and are more expensive than the other two. This type of video is often used to create a powerful image of your company and for branding purposes. It's usually meant to be powerful and impressive and because it utilizes the high end of 'high-tech' can be less personal.

What type of video will best serve your site? The fact is you don't have to do a full-blown commercial to be effective. In fact, many consumers simply skip the big-budget video to get to the product. Ask yourself this - 'As a shopper, when buying something online do I want to be entertained by the site or do I want to trust the person from whom I'm buying and their product?' Trust, dependability, quality and service are all important concepts and realities when it comes to selling your product and to converting one-time buyers into return customers.

A well-produced, well-written and well-acted spokesperson video can be extremely affective in:

  • Making a personal connection with each customer.
  • Creating a lasting, positive image for your business.
  • Reinforcing important consumer motivators such as trust, dependability and service.
  • Actively capturing someone's attention as you inform him or her about your products.
  • Enabling you to define your company in a memorable manner.

Prices for a video web presence vary considerably, depending upon the length of the video and the complexity of the production process. Before deciding on a production company be sure to conduct some research. Check out each company's videos, ask questions about their process, costs and timeline and contact references. You'll also want to make sure that your site can support the video technology you want to use. You'll need to discuss the technical support requirements with both the video producer and company that maintains your site. Throughout the production process, you should have full approval of each element, including the script, music, actors, video quality, style and final cut.

Remember, whether this is a simple video with a spokesman standing in front of a white screen or a high-end commercial using various types of technology, live action and animation, it will create a lasting image of your business in the eyes and ears of every potential customer. For this reason, it must be a quality product reflecting the quality of your company.