ecommerce-decision-processThe importance of video in ecommerce marketing materials is hard to deny, but we know that video -- like any content -- isn't going to be universally loved by everyone. Before you drag out the cameras and send your employees off to makeup and wardrobe, you may want to draw up plans for your videos and decide how to use them throughout each phase of the buying cycle.

Your customers are all in various stages of this buying cycle. Some folks have different psychographic characteristics, and some folks just aren't in the same place in their relationship with you Some may be hovering on the “buy” button while others have just discovered your company. The videos you create and present should help those buyers through the cycle just as any other content would. If you’re not sure which types of videos could take the place of your usual content, take a look at our list.


Videos during this phase should show your buyers how your products can be used in everyday life. This white bean chili recipe from Bed, Bath & Beyond is a great example. Anyone watching can benefit from the recipe, but they’ll also get a chance to see the products in use. Pots, pans, spice grinders, and various other products make cooking easier, and Bed, Bath & Beyond knows just how to make that apparent. The goal of the marketer in the relevance phase is to build an audience by creating content that adds value to the type of person they're looking to attract.


The research portion of the buying cycle extremely important and shouldn’t be left out when creating your content. Buyers need to know how your products can improve their lives and why the cost is necessary. You also have a chance during this period to create a need buyers didn’t realize they had and then show your solution. This video from Best Buy is designed to help buyers choose between various cell phone carriers and phones. While the conclusion is left to the customer to draw, the video does fully inform buyers of various possibilities while showcasing the features of the phones they sell.  


When options are plentiful, the only way to convince customers your product is the best is to make comparisons. Videos for this are ideal, as buyers can see products in action, which can’t happen otherwise unless consumers have the chance to actually use all the options themselves. This video from Hunter Industries shows two different sprinkler systems pitted against each other. Buyers who have researched other companies might just be swayed by this comparison.


When customers are nearing the purchase point, they may need a final push to tip them over the edge. A video that encourages this intent to buy could be that push. These videos should create the same urgency your written content does. If you can include social proof, or excitement from other buyers and potential buyers, the video is that much stronger. Consider this video from Shoedazzle, which was supplied by an actual customer. Shoedazzle encourages video reviews, which they then post on Facebook for everyone to see.


Smart ecommerce companies know customers may have questions after a purchase. Videos showing how to make the most of their new purchases are a great way to keep the lines of communication open. At this point in the buying cycle, you’re working on delighting the buyer, so take a page from Best Buy again, who shows how to connect a new TV to an HD source. It’s good info to have.


Give your buyers a chance to share their own experiences, too. By giving the customer a voice, they’ll feel important, which certainly delights them. This video from a FIAT dealer gave a buyer the chance to talk about his new car. FIAT got promotion, and the customer got his 15 seconds of fame.

Happy Customer Dan Showing Off 2012 Fiat 500... by FiatofEdmond

However you use video, remember to make it fun. Customers aren’t going to stick around for tired, boring commercials. Keep them as interactive as possible, write short scripts, edit out silence, and don’t be afraid to cut content that doesn’t further your video’s purpose. Above all, identify where the video fits in the buying cycle and promote it as such.

What other great videos have you seen that move buyers through the buying cycle? We love to see great examples, so share with us in the comments.

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Originally published Nov 5, 2013 10:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023