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How Retailers are Using Video to Increase Sales

Videos, and the immediate distribution of them through the internet has profoundly changed the way we live…and shop. We’re relying more and more on using video to help us discover and compare products we are looking to buy and retailers know it.

Traditionally, the merits of video were merely practical: it helps boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), helps your brand establish trust, and increases discovery to your site if you have a video people love to share. But there is so much more to video. Video still does all of that, very well, but it can be worth much more to your brand.

Retailers who adopt video are finding amazing ways to connect with customers or potential customers, and seeing existing customers’ average order value rise. In a recent survey, 57% of retailers said video is responsible for increased spend from the average customer.

So, how are winning retailers using video? Here are some great examples:

They’re engaging fans of their brand regularly

A clever campaign by JCrew on Instagram Stories

Retailers who are hesitant to deploy video should understand that more video means higher order values. A study found a startling 69.49% increase in order value the more videos a retailer deployed.

J Crew is a company that is using video very effectively. On their Instagram, they regularly post videos. Some videos are explanatory (like “How to Wear Denim on Denim”) while others are aspirational, but all of them serve a purpose: to draw Instagram followers in and entice them to make a purchase. Instagram Stories, a collection of pictures and video can help set the mood for customers looking to buy a new jacket and get them to purchase after seeing a 30-second clip. What’s more, Instagram stories expire in 24 hours, so J Crew has deployed them for sale announcements to drive excitement.

J Crew can also post a video of a new product and get immediate customer feedback. This can help them tailor future product lines based on verbatim criticism or praise.

They’re demonstrating products to bring the in-store experience home

A playable electric guitar shirt is much more interesting with video, no?

Photographs of products offer a limited amount of information about an item because there is little context. A video is an excellent way to show how large an ottoman is in relation to a child, a dog, or an average sized couch. Video can show you how a dress pattern moves or how long the hem REALLY is on a dress, where a photo simply cannot provide this kind of detail. Video can also show how easy it is to use a product (think Apple’s demo videos for everything from iPhones to their Airport Wireless Routers) or how a product can be useful. This is important for items that can’t be experienced in real time online. It helps bridge the experience of trying on an item to the immediacy of looking up a product online.

They’re showing customers how to use their products better

Instant Pot is the home appliance equivalent to a viral video thanks to their creative recipes

How do you explain how to use a brand new product with a learning curve over the internet? Video. That’s how holiday 2017 sensation Instant Pot was able to quickly ramp up their business, by simply showing how to use their category-busting product. Since there are some safety procedures and an interface to learn, Instant Pot knew that by making videos about how to make the most popular and easy to cook dishes, they could lower the barrier of entry.

They also have more advanced videos on their site to explain to intermediate and advanced users how to get the most out of their Instant Pot. It’s working. The Instant Pot is not only wildly popular, it has inspired dozens of knockoffs from major kitchen appliance companies.

They’re creating shareable experiences

This is a fun execution of video and experience!

Can you convert your fandom into walk-in traffic to your store? Give them something to talk (or snap) about. Recently, Eddie Bauer launched Cold Rooms in some of its retail locations to allow consumers to test out the efficacy of their cold weather gear. The Cold Rooms are designed to look like Ski Chalets and even have ice sculptures inside. Why? So visitors will share their video #Experience on their own social media, thus encouraging others to do the same, and raise awareness of this new way to shop.

They’re making themselves indispensable with advice

The Home Depot has a how-to for everything…including the kitchen sink!

Can you get someone to buy something they didn’t even think they needed? Ask The Home Depot. They have hundreds of videos showing how easy it is to change the hardware on a bathtub, or install a baseboard, for example. Home Depot understands that people don’t just need to be walked through the steps, they might actually need to know what products they’ll need to complete a project.  Seeing objects in context and in use is crucial to convert shoppers who are unclear about a product’s worth or how to use it.  Showing customers the complete project allows them to get fully equipped and retailers to sell more items, increasing cart size per visit.

Video might seem like a big undertaking for your company, but there are so many advantages that it’s worth your investment. There are so many ways it can be applied to draw in shoppers, and so many advantages to trying out a video campaign, you might want to try to start out small. Even a few videos highlighting a sale, your staff, or a special event can help you connect with and build an audience.

Once you build out a video plan and commit to creating regular videos, you could see boosts that retailers who have mastered video are already enjoying. Are there other examples you can think of? Please let us know in the comments below.





Salesfloor is on a mission to unlock the power of today’s omnichannel sales associate by connecting them with shoppers online and in-store. We believe that associates are product experts, trusted advisors and social influencers for customers in their local communities. In today’s omnichannel world, retail chains have a unique opportunity to leverage their biggest competitive asset: their people.


Learn all about how this works here.


KPI’s Retailers Need To Track: Part II: Retention, Talent & Marketing

In our last article, we talked about a bunch of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you can measure to help keep track of your retail goals, including overhead costs, online and in-store sales. These are all really great ways to measure your success. However, reducing costs and increasing sales may not be your only or immediate goals. There may be other metrics that you want to watch like: attracting and retaining talent, customer retention, even brand awareness. So, then how do you track these?

In this article, we explore what KPIs you can use to evaluate your customer retention, talent attraction, and local marketing tactics.

The Measurement Process

Like we mentioned in KPI’s Part I, measuring your KPI performance this way is a handy skill that helps you create conclusions based on the differences in your trends over time. It’s a vital skill for any retailer, and it’s easy to do with just a bit of experimentation!

First, you’ll need a control group: the reports on your sales, costs, or whichever figure you’re monitoring from 12 months ago. Next, make your business the test group by implementing one of these nifty KPI metrics for a while. Compare those figures from your current period to those from 12 months ago to see the results of your metric!

KPIs for Customer Retention

Cart Abandonment Rate:

Driving sales in e-commerce can be difficult when so many virtual shopping carts never make it to the checkout screen. While it may seem like counting a loss, measuring cart abandonment rate has a thick silver lining: it helps you keep track of potential customers that are already interested in your product:

Cart Abandonment Rate = 1 – (Total # of Completed Purchases / # of Carts Created)

Of course, you don’t need to do the math yourself. Marketing softwares such as those offered by BigCommerce can track your cart abandonment rate and respond by initiating email campaigns that convince customers to complete their shopping journey.

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value is the projected revenue that a customer will generate during their lifetime. It’s a great metric that both measures your business’ return on investment and helps you strategize upcoming goals. Determining the lifetime value of a customer is simply a matter of calculating all the sales your average customer has completed since their first purchase and then doing some number crunching:

Lifetime Value = Revenue x Gross Margin x Average # of Repeat Purchases

Don’t know how to measure the average number of repeat purchases? Just use order gap analysis to calculate the time between each of your customers’ consecutive purchases.

KPIs for Talent Attraction

Source of Hire

Job boards, store windows, employee referrals, flyers—it’s easy to spread out your recruitment ads to fish for applicants. But did you know that employees’ performance tend to correspond with their source of hire? Tracking your recruitment sources and comparing them to performance reviews will help you determine which forums send the best candidates to your hiring manager. You can easily measure the effectiveness of your sources by using an applicant tracking system like iCIMS.

Offer Acceptance Rates

It’s easy to reflect on how many of your job offers are accepted, but what about those that were rejected? Understanding why your offers aren’t accepted by candidates can drastically inform and improve your recruiting process, which alone makes it worth measuring:

Offer-to-Acceptance Ratio = Total # of Offers / # of Acceptances

Low offer acceptance rates are a telltale sign that your employment incentives need improvement. It could be that you’re not meeting your candidates’ expectations or cultural tastes, or that they’ve taken a better offer from one of your competitors. Minimize the risk of losing attracted talent before they’re even hired by analyzing candidate feedback and offering new incentives.

KPIs for Local Marketing

Ranking and Reviews in Local Search

When locals search for a product you sell, is it your business or your competitor’s at the top of Google’s results? What about on Yelp, Facebook, or Apple Maps? Your ranking in keyword searches for your area is a strong indicator of how accessible your store is and how far your brand awareness has spread. Low rankings can be improved through SEO optimization tactics, such as pining for positive reviews online. The more (high) ratings you have, the more likely it is for your business to be featured with a star rating within search results. Take a look at Google’s review guidelines to learn more about how it’s done.

Social Media

Social media interactions can be pivotal in establishing your popularity among both current and potential customers, in addition to their own local network. While using this KPI effectively requires you to actively monitor and encourage growth in followers, likes, and so on, it yields great rewards in terms of brand awareness and foot traffic. Both Facebook and Twitter also have built-in analytics that can track customer engagement and web traffic to your site by tracing your shared links. Why not encourage check-ins and use of hashtags so you can follow along with your customer’s engagement?


Want more KPI tips and tricks? Check out our other article on easy-to-use metrics for overhead costs and both online and in-store sales!


How Large Retailers Can Localize Their Marketing

We often think of the retail juggernauts as having a huge advantage over smaller, more local retailers. From big budgets and brand recognition to large audiences, it would seem that local retailers just can’t compete. But this isn’t always the case.

Many local businesses succeed where larger retailers don’t because of their ability to target and focus on one specific type of customer in a regionally or culturally specific manner, speaking to them in a way larger retailers cannot. Where large retailers have the breadth in their favor, local retailers have the depth in theirs.

A nation-wide message can’t go too specific in fear of losing the attention of the audience. The message needs to be more generic. For instance, a national shoe retailer would focus in on the new arrivals and best sellers nationwide, whereas a local shoe retailer could design e-blasts and ads that speak to the trends, weather and preferences of the local market.

But thinking about executing this well is probably a bit daunting. Wherever your head office is located, it’s nearly impossible to know what is going on in any other part of the country (let alone world for international retailers!) and would mean hiring more people in marketing to keep track.  Not to mention that the large media buying agencies you work with benefit from buying in bulk, and small, localized efforts would be too expensive for you to execute through them.

So, how do you do it, then? How can you localize your marketing efforts to tailor to the needs of specific locations without going crazy or broke?  Here are the steps towards winning through localized marketing

Step 1. Offer a decentralized marketing budget

The first thing you need to do is decentralize some of your marketing – create a portion of your budget to spend at the local level. This means also decentralizing things like messaging and branding, which may seem frightening at first, but will allow your local stores to cater messages and images to their markets.

If quality control is an issue, you can create a role in head office to make sure that images and messages going through each local store are still to brand standards. You can also create guidelines to follow so that they don’t fall too far out of bounds. The idea is to give each associate in each location the tools and empowerment to reach their audience efficiently.

Step 2. Leverage the wisdom of local sales associates

Your greatest asset for understanding the pulse of local trends and culture is your sales associates. Not only do they live locally, they also interact with customers daily, so they have a great sense of tastes and preferences for the local audience. Sales associates will be your greatest means of localizing your marketing efforts and it is in their favor to participate as well. It is empowering and offers them the tools to increase their sales.

As a good first step, empowering associates with their own storefront, a personalized version of their retailer’s website, to give them the tools to communicate more frequently and directly with their local customers.  On top of that, give them a budget for things like local social media campaigns and geotargeting.

Step 3. Teach them how to geotarget with social platforms

Snaps screenshots from Contently Blog:

In 2015, fashion brand Lilly Pullitzer received all sorts of kudos for creating Snapchat geofilters in select locations that matched some of the patterns in the collection that year.  Shoppers loved them, the media loved them, and they gained all sorts of media impressions on both social and traditional media by implementing them. Total cost? Probably under $1000.

Because the geofilters are self-serve and relatively inexpensive, they are often not considered within large media buys. Big media agencies that work with large retailers probably won’t even suggest them as part of the plan. But both the cost and the ease of implementing them can be executed locally.

Similarly, using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram targeting can also help national retailers tailor their marketing to more local needs. You can target:

  • interests of the audience – tailoring the message to reflect those interests
  • location of the audience – targeting messages hyper-locally
  • demographics of the audience – framing the message to suit the life stage of each audience
  • language of the audience – delivering messages in the language the audience is comfortable in
  • and more…

Once again, these smaller, more tailored campaigns are often not suggested by the large media buying agencies because of their lack of scale, but giving a small budget to your local associates , could be incredibly impactful.

All of these platforms are self-serve and fairly simple to learn.

Step 4. Align messaging and even merchandising to local culture

Photo credit: Bill Brine, Flickr

Every year, Louisville Kentucky celebrates the Kentucky Derby. This is an enormous event for locals AND out of towners alike. The event attracts over 150,000 people annually, which is a larger crowd than travels for the Super Bowl!

All local retailers benefit from the influx of the Derby, but there is something specific about this event that can make fashion retailers benefit the most: the hats! Practically everyone gets dolled up and wears elaborate hats to the Derby – some home made, others purchased. And it isn’t just women who wear them. Nearly EVERYONE wears a hat. It’s almost unheard of to go without. At the very least, they dress up in their very best Derby gear.

If you are a nationwide department store head, you probably don’t think too much about hats and you probably wouldn’t want to create a nation-wide campaign about hats. Most people won’t care. However, if you have a store in and around Louisville, Kentucky, your marketing AND merchandising  before and during the Kentucky Derby should be all about hats.

By celebrating and supporting local culture, retailers win.

Step 5. Support local communities

Photo by Jerry Bowley on Flickr:

It’s one thing to sell a product that celebrates local events and culture, it’s a whole new level of thinking to get involved in local events and culture. If there is one place where local businesses get all of the love and kudos, that’s with their financial and physical support of local events – from kids sporting leagues to arts festivals to cultural days.

Supporting locally is often in the realm of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) departments, but when it comes to smaller locales, this involvement may get missed.

Large Canadian food chain, Tim Horton’s, helped forage their invasion of every small town across Canada by supporting local hockey leagues through their local franchises. They were welcomed with open arms and it increased sales everywhere they went. Large food chain, Whole Foods, is well-known to source as much from local farmers and food producers as possible, making locals feel better about them moving into the neighborhood.

If you are a fashion department store, consider carrying local designers and setting up apprenticeships for local fashion hopefuls. Support any local fashion events. If you are a big box home supply store, consider sourcing what you can from local producers and support local chapters of Habitat for Humanity and buildings that support the local community.

The core here is that the more empowerment and budget you give your local outlets and employees to spend on their local community -whether through events or marketing – the more it will be appreciated. And the more the locals feel that you are embedded in their culture, the more they will make the choice to shop with you.

If you want to localize your marketing, you will make sure your biggest local assets – your sales associates – are empowered.