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How video can increase mobile site conversion

March 2, 2011

HSN relies on mobile video to drive sales on its mobile site

Retailers first learned the value of sight, sound and motion after incorporating videos into their PC sites. With the proliferation of smartphones resulting in a spike in mobile shopping, retailers should now be figuring out ways to incorporate video into their mobile sites to influence purchase intent. 

As consumers, we all understand that the look and feel of a product is an important factor of the purchase decision. A video depicts the product features and benefits exponentially better than a static image, text or audio and can better drive sales. 

“Retailers should encourage consumers to interact with videos and reward the customers for doing so,” said Srini Dharmaji, founder/CEO of GoldSpot Media, Sunnyvale, CA. “Social interactions – to share it on Facebook or Twitter – download product coupon, product reviews and other call to actions within the video will drive better sales and also helps viral promotion of the product.” 

The proliferation of smartphones and tablets make the potential for mobile video within retail sites a real opportunity for retailers. 

These devices make mobile video more feasible. There’s the bigger size screen, they have more processing power and they have Wi-Fi. 

More than half of mobile video content is being watched via Wi-Fi so there are no worries about mobile networks being congested and all that, according to Rhythm NewMedia.

These smartphones and tablets are the primary drivers of mobile video consumption. 

Value of mobile video
Videos on a mobile site or within an app entice consumers to look around a mobile Web site, leading them to spend more time there and bringing them closer to purchase. 

“One of the best ways to influence a purchase decision is through sight, sound and motion,” said Michael Hirshoren, vice president of sales at Rhythm NewMedia, New York. “Retailers can now offer informative short form and long form video describing their products. 

“Consumers want to understand what they’re buying and can be informed beyond text and images,” he said. 

Brands need to think about creating video products specifically for the mobile Web because it gives a great opportunity to close the sale or provide more information. A consumer on a company’s mobile site is showing interest in that particular brand and its products and services just by being there. 

Adding a short 15-30 second promotional product video may help bring that individual to make a sale. 

Videos should be easy to find on a brand’s mobile site. If video content is buried within site navigation, three of four clicks deep into the mobile Web site, they may never realize their potential. It’s important, therefore, to find a way to feature video content either on the homepage or other high-traffic sections of the mobile site. 

Influence purchases
“The ability to showcase a product with video offers consumers a greater understanding of their purchase,” Mr. Hirshoren said. “It gives the product many dimensions and brings it to life. 

“[Retailers] can have an expert or celebrity describe the product,” he said. “You could have designers of the product discuss what makes it unique and their motivation for design. 

“You could also have testimonials from existing buyers on why they purchased the product. You could show the product being used in everyday life or in an exotic environment. The options are endless.” 

But mobile video does have its challenges, per GoldSpot’s Mr. Dharmaji. 

Online video is easier to deploy, as Flash is ubiquitous on the PC Web. 

Mobile devices present quite a few challenges in terms of video formats. For example, HTML5 video tags do not work the same way on iPhone and Android devices. 

Feature phones support 3GP/3GP2. Deploying videos on mobile Web sites is not as straight forward as doing it online. 

Although challenges exist, the opportunities are much stronger. 

“A video can help the product stand out from just a text or images,” Mr. Hirshoren said. “It gives the product dimension and provides the consumer more product information. 

“This can make them feel more comfortable or excited about their purchase,” he said. “When a retailer meets these fundamental consumer needs, it will eventually drive overall sales.”

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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