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In today’s retail climate, marketers are under pressure to demonstrate the value of their investments in driving company success. It’s critical for retail brands to understand the evolution of consumer preferences in an era where purchasing power is increasingly in the hands of digital-native generations. Video marketing can no longer be just one component of your marketing strategy; instead, it has become the central pillar around which consumer engagement revolves.

Video plays a large role in influencing consumer purchase behavior through product education, demonstrations, and testimonials, ultimately driving brand engagement, loyalty, and of course, conversions. With 58% of consumers relying on product videos to make purchasing decisions, the importance of video in the purchase journey cannot be understated.

“The power of video in today’s market cannot be overstated – it is the lens through which consumers view, evaluate, and connect with brands. Marketers must think video-first from this point forward.” - Vincent Yang, CEO, Firework

Recently, Firework, a leader in the field of video commerce, surveyed 750 U.S. consumers to better understand the video-first phenomenon and how retailers can be more aligned with this paradigm shift in consumer preferences. Here are five insights from the report that hammer home the need for a video-first marketing approach, plus pro tips to help your brand jump on the video marketing train:

Videos shape purchase decisions

With a 51% increase in purchase likelihood when consumers are able to engage with video content, the influence of video on purchase decisions is undeniable. Think of video as a tool for informing, persuading, and ultimately converting shoppers.

Pro Tip: Craft compelling narratives around your products through video storytelling to connect with your audience’s emotions and needs, effectively guiding them from interest to purchase.

Use videos at key inflection points to drive sales

The presence of video on brand websites significantly affects consumer behavior - 40% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brand websites that incorporate video content.

Pro Tip: Enhance your brand’s website with a variety of video content, including product showcases, customer reviews, and behind-the-scenes looks, to enrich the customer journey and encourage conversions. For a low-cost option, try encouraging your customers to post user-generated content so you can amass video content and position your brand as the leader in your retail sector.

Video leads the consumer journey

With 62% of consumers favoring video to learn about new products, the message for retailers is loud and clear: video is a necessity. The preference for videos signals a shift towards more dynamic, engaging content formats that cater to the modern consumer’s needs.

Pro Tip: Capitalize on this trend by producing educational videos showcasing your product’s features and benefits, making sure they are easily accessible across all your digital channels.

Product videos are no longer a “nice to have”

Over 80% of consumers state they want more product videos, highlighting an opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves, stand out from competitors, and improve the customer shopping experience through rich, informative video content.

Pro Tip: Expand your video library to include a range of product-focused content, from how-tos and tutorials to influencer and user-generated content, ensuring a comprehensive online shopping experience for your audience.

Consumers expect more from videos

With 40% of consumers preferring personalized video content, it’s safe to say the desire for personalized shopping experiences is here to stay. This trend reflects the growing consumer expectation that brands tailor their communications and offerings to individual customer preferences.

Pro Tip: Leverage data analytics to create segmented and personalized video campaigns that resonate with different audience groups, enhancing relevance, loyalty, engagement.

Building human connections through video

With e-commerce booming, offering a better online customer experience is how retailers can set themselves apart from competitors. Video commerce goes far beyond simple product education and demonstrations - it builds long-lasting consumer-brand connections, ultimately boosting brand loyalty and conversions.

Retailers have always strived to reach audiences where they are, whenever they’re there, and via their preferred methods. For today’s tech-savvy generations, that method is video, which has become the primary format for communication, entertainment, and commerce. The video-first approach is about keeping pace with the digital generations of now and the future. For brands looking to grow consumer engagement, embracing the video-first imperative is a logical, data-backed step forward.