Lack of attention to detail loses sales. There are several websites that specialise in finding products on auction sites that have been entered by “fat fingers” in a rush. They work on the principle that misspelled products sell for less than those that have been spelled correctly.

Along the same lines, low quality images can put your customers off the products on your website. Some examples of these: low resolution images that make useless “full” images; low quality, over compressed images that look blotchy; rotated, cropped or even non-centered images. These poor images don’t give your products a fair representation against your competition’s.

To give your potential customer a full view of the product, it’s a good idea to include several images which highlight particular key features and selling points. The more images you show to your customers the more confident they will be about your products as they will have that extra information about it. Amazon for example, display several images covering various angles and arrangements of the product on offer, even allowing a very large image to be viewed to show as much as possible.

Unfortunately, there will always be an angle that hasn’t been covered that might be important to someone. When looking at an item in a shop, the customer can pick up the item and view it from any angle they desire (unless it’s something particularly large – like a refrigerator).

A way to get closer to the interaction with your products is to use 360° photography or “rotational imagery”. This is a process where a series of photos are taken of a product while the product is slowly rotated. These images can be displayed quickly in a loop to give the impression of a video, and can be controlled to give an interactive experience. A nice example of this in action for several product types can be found here.

Product videos allow you to give an auditory/visual sales pitch to your potential customer. While you can not currently tailor your video around your customer’s reactions, like a sales assistant might, you can gain many of the advantages:

  • Demonstrate key features: Show off your product’s key features: show how they work; and if necessary, briefly explain why the feature is important. A demonstration will also help your customers get a clearer idea of the product before they make a purchase. This helps on two fronts; it makes your customer more comfortable that the product is right for them, and it also reduces return rates caused by mistaken sale – where the product was bought to fulfil a purpose for which it was not designed. A demonstration will also give your customer a sense of scale if the imagery was lacking a comparison.
  • Provide a human touch: Even if a video only has a voice-over, the element of personal touch is increased greatly. Have the person on screen and it’s increased still further. This is evident from the wealth of research done into advertising.

There are, however, several points to consider when planning your videos:

  • Length: People have short attention spans. Even if a video is less than one minute, 40% of the viewers didn’t stay to the end. If the video is between 2 and 3 minutes, then only about 40% of the viewers will have stayed to the end. If your video is 10 to 20 minutes long, then only 28% of it’s viewers will have seen it through. Dropoff is at its highest at the beginning of videos – indicating that people decide whether to watch it or not very quickly. This is explained in this infographic.
  • Script: Make sure that the video is planned; this will ensure that your video stays concise, on track and coherent. Although the video should not be overly long, be careful not to cram in so much information into a short space of time that the whole thing becomes confusing. For example, your video might tell a story where a problem is identified, and your product is the perfect solution – better than your competition’s too.
  • Ending: It’s often helpful to start at the end as it’s what your customer will most likely remember if they watched it through. You can give a call to action – “Sign up for a free trial”, “Watch more videos”, “Sign up to our mailing list”; or emphasise your brand name.
  • Tone: Do you want your video to portray a professional or friendly image? Should the message have an urgency to it, or should it be laid back?
  • Opening: One of the most important parts of your video is the opening line. If it’s not good enough, your customers will hit their browser’s back button and they won’t hear any more. Your opening should convey the main message behind your product.
  • Etiquette: Don’t have the video auto-play on the website – many users find this very annoying or even rude. This may cause your users to immediately exit your website!
  • Search engine optimisation: On top of all these reasons for helping your customers decide to purchase your products, videos are being given more and more weight in terms of SEO. This is especially useful when combined with rich snippets. These are the images added to some Google search results. They are thought to increase the click through rate because peoples eyes are drawn to the imagery over the plain text.
  • Where to host your video: There are several websites that will host videos for you. The main contenders are YouTube and Vimeo. YouTube is free, and has some excellent analytics tools, but might have ads before or after your video, and might display competitors videos as related videos at the end.Vimeo is not free for commercial videos – you need a PRO account at $199 (£130) per year, but it has no upload limits on individual videos, 50GB of video space, and you can choose your own thumbnails.The alternative is to host the video with your website, however you will have to take your hosting packages disk space and bandwidth caps or pricing into consideration before you do this.

Image Credit: Camera operator setting up the video camera by jsawkins, on Flickr