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How Zappos Plans To Use 50,000 Online Videos

December 8, 2009

The use of online video is continuing to grow and develop as higher broadband speeds become more widespread worldwide and the appetite by the younger generation for viewing rather than reading.

The old chestnut phrase , “A picture is worth a thousand words” begs the question, “How many words is a video worth?”So how do Zappos utilize online video and how effective is it?

They use video to engage with the buyer as much as possible. The use of  video is to create “virtually” the reality experience of a bricks and mortar  store, as if the buyer were in store and “more”.

They use online video to

  • Describe their shoes
  • How to use the product
  • To demonstrate

Note: The videos are about the products, are with real Zappos employees and not models or actors… a bit of authenticity happening here, not stock photos with incredibly handsome and beautiful people.

They are testing interactive video on their site for Nike products. The company has launched interactive product videos.

The website provides the following 9  Functionalities, Features and Future Plans

  • Allows viewers to click on items in the clips before landing on product detail pages.
  • It can signal to consumers if an item is out-of-stock, discontinued, or part of a special offer.
  • If the viewer mouses over a shoe in a video, it becomes highlighted, alerting the person that the item is clickable.
  • Users are then taken to a product detail page in a separate browser window where the item can be added to a shopping cart.
  •’s media player also allows shoppers to post the videos to their Facebook and Twitter profiles while the clip continues to roll.
  • The 10 product videos currently on the site are each around one minute long.
  • plans to leverage the interactive videos by incorporating them into its  user-generated-content program (UGC).
  • Its “Daily Shoe Digest” is one of the few e-mail newsletters — in any niche — featuring UGC (User Generated Content) 100 percent of the time.
  • Site visitors will be encouraged through future marketing messages to create product video reviews that will also have the interactive features.

Selling products directly from online video content, known as “hot-spotting,” is an advertising niche that’s growing slowly but surely. For instance, earlier this year, H&R Block began utilizing YouTube’s annotations allowing viewers to click on specific items in a video linking to a landing page or another video. And last year, clothing brand Express sponsored Vogue magazine’s online reality show, Models.Live, which featured clickable overlays in a manner combining product placement and direct response marketing.

So what are the effects of using video?

Zappos’s experience has shown “It obtained increases of 6 to 30% in conversions ..for products that use video”.

Note: This has prompted Zappos to strive for 50,000 videos !!! next year (they have about 8,000 currently), they will include “10” fully working studios in house in 2010 to handle all of it.

Zappos, last month partnered with Overlay.TV and rolled out “Engagement Pages” for specific brands, where the videos engage users with clickable overlays. These overlays allow users to shop within the video content, pull up additional information and click through to product specific landing pages. Users can also record product video testimonials directly from the engagement pages.”

Online at Zappos you can see the shoe from “7” angles and “3” different magnifications (see Nike page at Zappos) and the screenshot below.

Note: This goes a long way to overcoming the issues of online shoppings  “experience gap” that shopping at bricks and mortar store provides.

This is starting to show how “real” an online store can become, as online video enables a more pervasive and integrated experience within an ecommerce website.

For a good resource on Online Video “Best Practice”  see Reel SEO article.

So how are you using online video to good effect? Like to hear your stories and the tools and apps you are using.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2009 5:18 pm

    Jeff, thanks for sharing the information in this blog. Wanted you to be aware that I made a reference to it: Keep on knocking out your timely posts.

  2. May 20, 2010 5:19 am

    Jeff – More shopable video content – the first shopable video experience on Facebook
    Take a look at


    Let us know what you think


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