Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Strategies for Marketing and E-Commerce

Businesses that sell product online can benefit greatly with an online video marketing plan. Studies show that video is more effective than any other medium for building brand recognition and generating sales. Although today’s consumers are savvier and more skeptical than ever, and will quickly click away from obvious pitches that don’t provide them with any intrinsic value. But according to Rico Nasol, Content Team Senior Manager for Zappos, "Online video is another way for the customers to see the product and the company culture.” The E-Commerce giant sells over 300,000 different products, and the company sells anywhere from 6-30% more merchandise when accompanied by videos. This session from the Online Video Platform Summit, "New Strategies for Marketing and E-Commerce", was moderated by Justin Foster, Founder of the non-profit Video Commerce Consortium, who was joined by a panel of retailers that are each using their own innovative strategy with video and social media to create brand awareness and loyalty, and to increase sales conversion rates.

Each panelist brought on interesting story to share how they are approaching the challenge of implementing social video. Foster shared some background on the state of video and e-commerce from a report by Forrester Research, Online Retailers' Adoption Of Online Video Content Is Ahead Of Consumers' Preferences, which found that 68% of the top 50 Internet retailers use video content on their Web sites, compared with 18% in 2008 – a 400% growth in one year. Sunday Sky's Quarterly Research Report, Q2 2010, "State of Video in E-Commerce" also looked on the same category of the top 50 North-American online retailers and found that more than 65% of retailers use videos. has a unique model of creating, or sourcing, user-generated content through YouTube.  They find YouTubers with a lot of subscribers and sign them into talent contracts, and then do product placement in their videos.'s Jordan Blum says they've generated over 340 million views from those YouTube videos alone, with practically no marketing budget. Laurie Williams says uses their "quirky" company culture to build trust with customers. They have been producing short videos  featuring actual Zappos staff members who demonstrate and talk about the products in an authentic and relevant way. They have also been promoting, The Zappos Video Experience, which is a forum where customers can submit video testimonials to share their stories as well. Jimmy Healey says uses a hosted ratings and reviews system that's embedded in the video to increase conversion rates. Watch the video of the session to see how these retailers are reaping the benefits of e-commerce video, social media and YouTube marketing.

Speaker Bios

Justin Foster, Founder, Video Commerce Consortium (Moderator)
Justin is Co-Founder and VP Market Development for Liveclicker, Inc., an early stage technology startup, where he is responsible for developing the overall market for video commerce in the e-commerce industry. Video commerce is a new paradigm for facilitating e-commerce through video content, leveraging both established and emerging online marketing channels. Additionally, Justin is President and Founder of the Video Commerce Consortium, the industry's largest trade group devoted to advancing the use of video in e-commerce. The VCC currently counts over half the Top 500 retailers as members. Justin has extensive experience in the online marketing industry, especially as it pertains to e-commerce. Prior to Liveclicker, Justin led the services practice for WhatCounts, Inc., an email marketing services provider, where he was responsible for all services revenue and management. He also founded the Email Marketing Roundtable, an industry discussion forum that represents over 1,500 email marketers worldwide including the majority of the largest online retailers in North America.

Jimmy Healey, Senior Manager Social Media,
As the Senior Manager of Social Media and E-commerce Jim Healey leads the evolution of Social Commerce for through the use of Social Media, Video, Blogs, PR, Community and Mobile. Including: the evelopment of campaign plans for Social Media as a channel within the overall campaign calendar (PR releases, blogs, videos, and other content/events). is the nation's first online shoe retailer. Profitable since 2000, it's also the only privately held Internet business among its competitors and continues to enjoy revenue growth rates in the high double digits year over year.

Laurie Williams, Video Product Manager,
Laurie helps make Zappos videos go. Laurie Williams is the Video Product Manager for, who she’s been an employee for since January 2005. Before that she served in the U.S. Army. was founded in 1999 with the goal of becoming the premiere destination for online shoes. Since then, has become much more than just an online shoe store.

Jordan Blum, CEO,
Jordan is the President of, a leading online retailer of beauty and personal care products. At Jordan has helped build its pioneering "LaunchPad" marketing platform that takes advertising to the next level by seamlessly placing products in highly popular beauty and fashion related online videos that are being watched by millions of engaged users worldwide. These videos are produced by "BeautyStars" who are credible and proven influencer's. Collectively, their videos have been viewed more than 300 million times and they have over 1.7 million followers on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Jordan graduated from the University of Southern California with a business degree in Business Finance. Founded by beauty industry experts, is trusted by consumers to carry only authentic, high-quality branded merchandise with a money back guarantee. carries a complete line of premium and popular brands at the most competitive prices, including Andis, Babyliss, Chi, Barbar, Clarisonic, Conair, Elchim, Hot Tools, Helen of Troy, Mason Pearson, Oster, Solano, Wahl, Wigo, and others. Visit for more information.

See this video: YouTube - Product placement on steroids with Jordan Blum, at SES New York 2010

Social video marketing for e-commerce: lessons from Streaming Media West

Following the session, I recorded this interview with Justin Foster by Grant Crowell which is posted on the Video Commerce Consortium. They discuss, "the new opportunities with video in for getting discovered and monetization, user-generated video innovations with retailers, and the different priorities around online video between marketers, talent, and producers." I've included a short excerpt of the transcript below. Grant also edited this video and you can read the full interview here.

Social Video Marketing for E-commerce from Grant Crowell on Vimeo.

Grant, ReelSEO: Justin, you had several notable panelists talking about new monetization with search and social media strategies. Tell me, how was that session like?

Justin: It was a great session. Each of the retailers on our panel is using their own innovative strategy to tap into social media using video. It was awesome to moderate.

Grant: What were some of the questions you asked the panelists about video marketing and video in e-commerce?

Justin: There’s been a lot of talk lately about the YouTube Promoted Videos program. So we were asking some of the retailers how many of them are actually taking advantage of Promoted Videos and understand the potential benefits of doing CPC buys with Promoted Videos. We found that it’s pretty early; we really don’t have a lot of retailers that are taking advantage of it yet. But you see a lot of people that are seeing a lot of opportunity.

Same goes for Facebook. I was really shocked that a couple of retailers on the panel really don’t make it possible to share a video that’s on their product detail page; but all of the panelists did think it was a good idea to enable sharing of their videos on the product detail page. So it seems like it’s pretty early. (more...)

The Online Video Platform Summit is a two-day event designed to help organizations of all types, not just those for whom video is their core business. Held on November 2-3 in conjunction with
Streaming Media West in Los Angeles, the Online Video Platform Summit is designed for video publishers of all types and sizes, whether small businesses looking to publish content for the first time, independent entertainment content creators, large media organizations, or anywhere in between.