Shopping Online Via Mobile

How The Rise Of Mobile Commerce Affects Shopping Habits

Have you looked at your brand’s e-commerce sales numbers lately? If not, take a look right now. How many of your sales are coming from desktop operating systems? How many are coming from mobile?

If you are like most online retail brands, then your number of sales coming from mobile platforms has grown dramatically in the past few years. Mobile has become so vital in e-commerce that it now has its own name: “mobile commerce” or “m-commerce.”

It’s easy to assume that most of your e-commerce sales are still coming from desktop platforms. The image that most of us see in our heads when we think of “online shopping” is someone sitting in front of their computer, typing in searches and clicking their mouse to add items to their shopping carts. But that image is quickly shifting to accommodate the experiences that customers expect, like, and trust when shopping online.

The Power of M-Commerce

In 2014, Shopify studied 100,000 e-commerce retailers and found that 50.3% of their combined sales were coming from mobile platforms compared to 49.7% for desktop. In September 2012, Shopify’s numbers had only credited 17% of e-commerce sales to mobile devices. 22.7% is a big leap for m-commerce to take in just two years. Gartner, an information technology research company, predicted in a January 2015 press release that mobile commerce would account for half of “digital commerce revenue” after 2017. 

pie graph

There can be no doubt that m-commerce is growing and growing rapidly. In the not-to-distant future, it will surpass desktop shopping as the predominant form of e-commerce.

Understanding How M-Commerce and Video Go Hand-in-Hand

So how can online retailers keep pace with the changing world of e-commerce? The first step is to make sure that your site is as responsive and mobile-friendly as possible. It needs to be as easy for customers to use your online store on mobile as it is on desktop. From searching products to picking out sizes, colors, and other product variations all the way to the checkout process, everything about your e-commerce store needs to be optimized for mobile.

However, simply making your site mobile-friendly isn’t enough to keep pace with the changes that are transforming e-commerce. You also need to think about how your mobile customers will want to interact and engage with different parts of your site, including the homepage and the product pages. Specifically, you need to think about tweaking your content marketing strategy to include more of an emphasis on video content.

It’s no coincidence that online video has seen a rise in prominence alongside mobile devices. Cisco says that, by next year, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will come from video. The rise in video has something to do with our society’s short attention spans and decreasing willingness to read anything longer than 140 characters, but while these factors might be playing a role, the rise in video can also be credited to mobile devices.

Why is video the preferred content format for mobile devices? There are several reasons. First off, while smartphone screens are getting bigger on average, they are still much smaller than a computer screen. Reading an entire article, website page, or customer review on a smartphone screen is straining on the eyes. Getting the same information from a video is more convenient and user-friendly.

Video is also more immediately engaging. Most smartphone users do a lot of browsing the web or scrolling through their social media feeds during the short bits of free time they have during the day. Reading an entire blog post still feels like a time commitment, which means that written marketing content doesn’t usually engage users who are just checking their Twitter feed during a break from work or while waiting for an appointment. Bite-sized video content is more easily digestible for users whose time is limited, which leads to higher engagement rates and more shares.

The extra convenience and digestibility of video content is a huge boon for e-commerce companies. It makes product pages more mobile-friendly, helps you show off your products with words and visuals, and makes your content more shareable. The benefits range from higher dwell rates on your website to wider reach on social media, all the way to better revenues.

How to Incorporate Video into Your Content Marketing Strategy

The bottom line is this: to keep pace with the rise of m-commerce, your brand needs to start producing, publishing, and sharing video content. Criteek can help you take your first steps into video content marketing.

We help e-commerce brands like yours incorporate video reviews on their product pages. With this feature, you can encourage your users to start contributing video content to your site. These videos have the same benefits of other video content (they are innately shareable, they increase dwell rates, and more), but they don’t require your company to shoulder production rates.


Increase Conversion On Your Site With Customer Video

The Leading Factors for Increasing Conversion

If your e-commerce product pages aren’t recording the conversion rates that you want, there could be several factors to blame. From visuals to text-to-site responsiveness, conversion rate is not determined by just one thing but by many variables interacting with one another. When Criteek works with e-commerce companies, we find that the ones struggling with conversion rates are falling victim to all of the same pitfalls.

Here are the factors that the experts tweak to help clients increase their conversions:

Customer Reviews

Strong product descriptions help with SEO, and good specification sections help customers feel more informed before they buy. However, these factors cannot and will not give you a strong conversion rate by themselves. Most modern customers just don’t trust written copy that comes directly from a brand.

This fact is not a reflection on your company or how honest and forthright you have been with your customers in the past. Rather, customer distrust ties back to modern marketing as a whole. From targeted advertisements that feel like invasions of privacy to the “bad egg” companies that purposefully mislead their customers, there are plenty of reasons for modern shoppers not to trust any content that they can label as “marketing” or “advertising.”

customer reviews

What most modern shoppers do trust is the word of their peers. At Criteek, our statistics tell us that shoppers today are 12 times more likely to trust other shoppers than they are to trust marketers. As such, the best thing that you can possibly do to improve the conversion rates of your e-commerce site is to implement customer reviews. This way, shoppers can get the objective information they need about your product from other shoppers while reading a subjective opinion about the product. A good review on your product page will do much more to convince shoppers to click the “Add to Cart” button than marketing copy ever could. 


Another thing that marketing copy can’t replicate is a high-quality image (or several high-quality images) of the product you are selling. Customers want to be able to see what they are buying before they buy it. Online shopping makes this part of the shopping experience much more difficult than brick-and-mortar shopping because customers can’t hold the products in their hands before buying. Because of this shortcoming, including large and beautiful images of your products—preferably showing your product from multiple different angles and displaying different color options—will greatly increase the likelihood of a customer deciding to buy.

product images

Video Content

Images are great supplementary content, but ultimately they can’t rival the power of video. Pictures of your product help to fill the “hold it in your hand” facet of in-person shopping that often isn’t replicated in e-commerce settings. Video content does an even better job at filling that void. While video content can’t give customers the opportunity to touch or hold a product in their hands, it gets closer than images. With product videos, customers see your product without an edited (and potentially untrustworthy) brand-produced sizzle reel and they get to observe how it looks from all angles. They get to see it in action. A video that demonstrates your product’s features will help your customers imagine what it will actually be like to use that product. As such, video content is terrific for dispelling any doubts or reservations that customers may have about a product.

Video Reviews

You can pair video content and customer reviews into one powerful conversion-boosting tool. Video reviews are becoming more and more popular in the e-commerce sphere, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Combining the trust that shoppers have in their peers with the easy engagement and visual nature of video produces a site feature that your product pages must have.

Since producing professional video content is expensive, video reviews can help your brand save money. By letting your customers create videos that show off your products and demonstrate their features, you get the benefits of videos without having to invest in their production. The quality of the video will inherently be lower than it would have been if you had created a professional demonstration clip. However, since shoppers prefer to trust content from other customers anyway, they won’t mind the lower fidelity.

Customer Engagement

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Improve Shopper Engagement

By most metrics that you track, your e-commerce brand is doing fine. You have a lot of followers on social media, your SEO campaigns are paying off, and your website traffic is right in the sweet spot. The only problem is that all of those factors just aren’t translating into purchases, revenues, or increased customer loyalty. Why, when your brand is seemingly performing well on the internet, are you still struggling to record strong conversion rates? Read on to see how you can improve shopper engagement.

Dwell Times: The Most Important Metric for Your E-Commerce Website

If you look at the dwell times for your product pages, you will find the source of your conversion problem. Yes, you are getting good page view numbers. You are successfully getting customers to your website and onto your product pages. What you aren’t doing is inspiring them to stick around and make decisions.

Dwell times tell the story of an e-commerce company’s success much better than page view numbers and social media followers can. They don’t just tell you how many people clicked a link and visited a URL, or how many people tapped the “Follow” button. Dwell time figures tell you how customers are interacting with your website. When the dwell times for your product pages are somewhere near 60 seconds on average, that’s a sign that people aren’t engaging with the content or products on those pages. Something is causing them to lose interest and abandon the page. The question is, what’s the culprit?

Criteek’s Newton Running Experiment

At Criteek, we recently had the pleasure of working with Newton Running, a globally regarded running shoe brand headquartered in Boulder, Colorado—one of the most popular running cities in the country. Newton is generally a well-regarded brand, not just for the quality of their shoes but also for their environmentally-friendly practices and their philanthropic efforts. Despite all of this, Newton Running was having the same problem with their online store that so many e-commerce brands experience. Despite strong traffic and a fairly robust social media following, Newton Running was struggling to maintain strong dwell times.

Working with Criteek, Newton Running implemented a professional experiment to increase customer engagement on a few of its key product pages. The question behind the experiment was simple: could implementing video-based customer reviews on product pages increase the dwell times for those pages?

Newton UK Product Page

The answer to that question was a massive “yes.” Each page increased its average dwell time by over a minute with the biggest leap at 70 seconds. 84% of surveyed users said they felt that the addition of video reviews improved the user experience of the product pages in question. The presence of video reviews made customers feel more inclined to engage with those pages.

Newton Running Dwell Times

Why Customers Aren’t Engaging with Your Product Pages

Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. You are shopping for a product online and you end up on a brand’s website, browsing their product pages. The pages include product descriptions directly from the brand as well as a photo or two. However, the pages include no information you can use to gauge the quality or usability of the product. You therefore have two options: you can take the brand at its word and trust that the product will suit your needs perfectly, or you can head back to Google and try to find reviews for the product in question.

In a Dimensional Research survey from 2013, 90% of respondents said that their buying decisions were influenced by online reviews. Most customers actively seek out a second or third opinion when they are shopping for products. They don’t just want to trust the brand’s product description without finding any additional trustworthy information to back it up. As a result, e-commerce sites that don’t host customer reviews tend to lose visitors who either go elsewhere to find reviews or simply give up on that product or service.

This trend explains why many e-commerce brands see poor dwell times for their product pages. There is nothing for customers to engage with on those pages, so they don’t inspire customers to stick around. When customers don’t stick around, those product pages don’t convert.

Implementing customer reviews—and video reviews specifically—is a terrific way to boost engagement, dwell time, and conversion rates at once. When customers have the option to read a review of a product, they will take that opportunity to learn more about the product and come to a purchasing decision. Video reviews are even better because they create strong emotional connections between the reviewer and the shopper and allow for real-time demonstrations of products. Not only do customers learn more about product features via video reviews but they also see those features in action.


Negative Reviews Can Drive Ecommerce

Three Reasons to Embrace Negative Reviews Rather Than Remove Them

What to do with negative reviews is one of the biggest conundrums with implementing a customer review system on your website. It’s great when your customers are saying nice things about your product: these comments allow shoppers to get information on what real customers are saying about your products and help to push them toward clicking “Add to Cart.”

Negative reviews seem counterproductive in comparison. After all, you added a customer review feature to your site to benefit your business. You wanted to increase dwell times, boost sales, make customers feel more engaged, and improve the overall shopper experience. When negative reviews come into the mix, they could boost dwell times, but they certainly aren’t going to help your sales. Why not just remove them as they occur? We’re going to teach you something that will seriously challenge that logic. 

Why Negative Reviews Happen

Negative reviews help your brand more than they hurt it. There are several reasons why this counterintuitive statement is true. First, let’s talk about a fundamental truth in e-commerce: nothing gets unanimous appeal. From movies to music to clothing to electronics, nothing will ever have a 100% approval rating. If you are running a business, negative reviews are guaranteed.

While some businesses see negative reviews as their kryptonite and trip over themselves in their haste to hit “Delete,” a negative review could be due to multiple factors. Perhaps a customer got a defective product. Maybe the product is fine, but a customer is giving a negative review because they waited weeks to get their shipment. A negative review could even be due to something as simple as a misleading sizing chart or a product photograph that didn’t accurately portray the color of the item.

Nike Metcon 3 Review

If you maintain your high product and service standards, negative reviews aren’t necessarily a problem. Here are three of the biggest arguments for why they help your business more than they hurt it.

How Negative Reviews Help Your Business

1. Negative points of view prove that your reviews are real.

This point is the most important reason why you shouldn’t delete any negative reviews that show up on your product pages. No product and no brand is capable of eliciting true 100% approval. If all your products have perfect five-star ratings and glowing reviews, customers will get suspicious that the reviews were either bought or planted by your brand. This “fake reviews” assumption will do no favors to your brand image or your relationships with customers. 

Your shoppers will also notice if you start deleting negative reviews. The reviewers who leave negative comments will notice if their reviews never go live and deduce the rest. If you delete reviews after they’ve been published, you run the risk of a shopper reading a negative review and then coming back later only to notice that it’s missing. That kind of second interaction can deteriorate brand trust entirely.

You always want your customers to trust you, and censoring their opinions is not the way to get there. Customers will only trust your positive reviews if they see a few negative or neutral reviews, too. In the video below George talks about a pair of Saucony trainers providing both positives and negatives about the product. 

2. Negative reviews serve as cues to offer helpful customer service.

More than just showing that your brand has thick skin and can take criticism, negative reviews highlight areas in which customer service is necessary. Most of the problems we discussed earlier in this post—defective product, slow shipping, wrong sizes, misleading colors—can be easily resolved with a quick customer service exchange.

By giving buyers a public place to share complaints or concerns about your brand, you also give yourself a “message board” through which you can respond to customers who had a negative experience.  When a negative review comes through, comment on it, apologize for the customer’s experience, and offer to make it right. Offer to replace or exchange the product with a working model or a different color or size. Alternatively, you might offer store credit, discounts, or free shipping.

How you respond and make things right should depend on the magnitude of the customer’s complaints. However, the core benefit of this tactic is twofold. First, it gives you a chance to take a customer’s negative experience and turn it into a positive one. Second, it lets you show off your customer service publicly so that other shoppers can see that you care about helping dissatisfied customers.

3. Negative reviews give you valuable feedback on your products.

If you only listen to negative reviews and ignore the positive ones, you will be caught in an echo chamber in which you never acknowledge other points of view. By not only keeping negative reviews around but also reading them and engaging with them, you acknowledge criticism of your products or your overall customer experience. You can use this feedback to improve the shopping experience on your website, whether that means revising a sizing chart or offering multiple different shipping options. And when it comes time to create new products or upgrade old ones, you’ll know which weaknesses to target.


User-Generated Video

Why User-Generated Video Content is Your Best Marketing Tool for 2017 

For years, we’ve been told that content marketing is an essential part of online branding. Creating quality content and taking steps to make it as visible as possible can heighten your brand’s trust among customers and boost your search engine rankings. Now, user-generated video content has become even more important than brand-generated content. In fact, user-generated content stands to become the single most powerful marketing tool for brands in 2017. Read on for the three core reasons.

1Customers trust user-generated content

With content marketing, trust has always been a big part of the equation. Creating unique, informative, and well-written content was a way to show customers that your business knew its stuff. Trust is the driving factor behind user-generated content for a different reason. If content marketing works because it builds trust in your brand, user-generated content works because modern customers are inherently inclined to distrust brands like yours.

Before you start cycling back through your most recent consumer interactions trying to figure out why your customers might not trust you, know that this distrust isn’t directly your fault. Due to several factors, the average modern customer enters all brand interactions with caution. For one thing, they’ve dealt with online tracking and targeted marketing—tactics that strike most people as invasions of privacy that need to be avoided. For another thing, so many transactions take place online that it’s difficult to create the face-to-face human trust factor that brands naturally used to maintain with their customers.

Whatever the reasons for this consumer distrust, the fact is that your prospective buyers are going to take everything you say with a grain of salt. That includes social media posts, blogs, articles, email newsletters, and even product descriptions. It’s not that customers assume that the information you provide them directly is false. However, they are going to want to do their own research before purchasing your products, through sources they trust more than your brand’s mouthpiece.

User-generated video content is extremely helpful here. Customers don’t feel inclined to trust brands, but they do feel inclined to trust other customers, whether family members or online reviewers. As such, by implementing user-generated content on your website—like text reviews and video review media—you make it possible for customers to get “second opinions” on your products without leaving your platform. This content keeps customers on your site and increases the likelihood of them purchasing your products and trusting your brand.

2. Promoting user-generated content promotes brand ambassadors

When you enable user-generated content on your website, you give your customers a voice with which to talk about your products and your brand. When you give your customers that voice, you show them that they are valuable and tie them more strongly to your brand. Whether you are responding to each video review on your website with a simple “thank you” message or featuring top video reviews on your homepage or social media accounts, or both, user-generated content strategies make it easy to reward customers for standing up and becoming influencers.

User Generated Video Content

Your consumers see it as a reward to be recognized online by their favorite celebrities and brands. They will talk about those celebrities and brands more with the sole goal of being acknowledged, mentioned, or retweeted. If you start sharing user-generated content prominently, you will promote the kind of brand advocacy that amps up ROI. There is no better way to get customers talking about your brand online, both on your website and on social media.

3. User-generated content makes your customers feel valued

The Business 2 Community blog recently said that “influencers are the new celebrity spokesperson.” While celebrity spokespeople still drive user interest for larger brands, small- and mid-sized e-commerce companies experience similar benefits by getting lots of influencers to spread the word about their brand. Turning your customers into your own “celebrity spokespeople” will positively impact their overall brand loyalty.

Think about it this way: back in your school days, when you were recognized for accomplishing something impressive in one of your classes or subjects, what kind of response did that inspire in you? In most cases, positive recognition and reinforcement encourage kids to work harder in those classes to keep achieving impressive results. It also makes them enjoy those classes more because they feel like they are being rewarded for their input and effort.

A very similar psychology is at work with brand advocates. By giving customers a voice to use to share their opinions via user-generated content and then recognizing those opinions (on your website or social media), you give them the positive reinforcement they need to keep advocating for your brand. Your customers will feel honored and rewarded by the recognition and will continue stumping for your brand with the goal of seeing similar results, without compensation. Best of all, they will feel more attached and loyal to your brand.


Video Product Reviews Can Keep Shoppers Engaged Longer

How to Use Product Reviews to Resonate with Potential Customers

Ask three different online marketing experts how to increase your brand’s resonance with customers and you’ll get three different answers. One will tell you that you need to use surveys to find out what customers really want (and then find a way to deliver). A second will encourage you to focus on content marketing, since publishing interesting content that your customers want to read is one of the best ways to earn their trust and loyalty. Another will tell you to get as involved as possible on social media.

All of these tips are valid and worth considering. However, they all also have one inherent weakness: they rely on B2C communications. And, unfortunately, consumers just don’t relate to brands on a very personal level. They relate to people, to other customers who they see as being “just like them.” The question is, how can you harness the “other people” effect and use it to boost your brand’s resonance with customers?

Reaping the Benefits of Customer Reviews

How can customer reviews help boost your brand resonance? At Criteek, we specialize in helping companies implement video review media campaigns on their e-commerce websites. Once the videos are in place, they deliver benefits ranging from increased traffic to improved dwell times.

There are metrics to show that customer reviews help improve the user experience on your website. Here are four ways that you can use reviews to resonate with potential customers and score more sales.

1. Provide customers with all the information they need on one page

In most cases, e-commerce brands believe that they are already providing customers with all of the information they need about any given product. Product pages typically include product descriptions, specs, information about sizing and colors, lists of features, and full-color photos. What more could the average customer need to make a purchasing decision?

Newton UK Product Page

It turns out that what many customers are looking for on product pages is a second opinion. In most cases, they appreciate getting information on the product directly from the brand itself. However, they also want to know what the product is really like. For this information, they won’t count on the brand, since any company will try to cast its products in the best light possible. Instead, they will want to hear directly from a customer who has bought and used the product.

With a product review system, you allow customers to get a second opinion right there on your product pages. As a result, they don’t have to leave your site in search for another spot on the web where they might find a product review. Keeping customers on your website for longer improves your chances of making a sale.

2. Use them to discover what customers want

Customer surveys do have their value, but if you want faster and more direct feedback on your products, just ask for it on your website. By having a review function available for every product on your website, you can find out what customers love and dislike about the goods you are selling.

For instance, if you are clothing retailer, you can find out if your sizing chart is off, or if customers feel like the color of a garment in the spec photo doesn’t quite match the actual color. In other cases, customers might talk about features they’d like to see in a future incarnation of your product. These insights are incredibly valuable and show you clear avenues for improving both your products and your overall customer experience.

3. Harness existing customers as the face of your business

Every business needs a “face” that customers can trust. Some brands go for celebrity spokespeople to solve this conundrum. Others create cute mascots. With customer reviews, you make your customers the face of your business. Text reviews aren’t the be all, end all of customer reviews anymore. Video reviews are on the rise and they bring the added benefit of viewers actually being able to see the reviewer.

Picture this: someone is shopping on your online store and finds a product they think they might like. They watch a video review and spend four or five minutes listening to another customer rave about your product. Customers relate to one another on a personal level, especially when they have similar interests, wants, and needs. Showing customers a brand ambassador who looks like them and likes the same things they like is a fantastic way of encouraging them to buy.

4. Show that you care by responding to reviews

Next to social media, product reviews present the best arena brands have in which to interact with customers and fans. Using the comments section on your customer’s reviews is a great way to show that you care—whether you are thanking a buyer for a positive review or commenting on a negative review and asking what you can do to set things right. The reviewers themselves will see these comments and feel more personally valued by your company. Your other customers, meanwhile, will see the comments and know that you care about your customers.


Keep customers coming back by implementing video into your marketing strategy.

Increase Customer Lifetime Value with Video

Most marketing efforts are aimed at customer acquisition, and for good reason. Brands need to win over new customers because they see that route as the quickest way to achieve growth. To be a bigger company, you need to have higher revenues and broader brand reach. To achieve higher revenues and broader reach, you need to have more customers buying your products and recommending them to friends and family.

What many brands fail to realize is the importance of customer retention. They are so focused on winning over new customers that they make the mistake of assuming that the customers they acquire will always be there. Unfortunately, this single-minded approach to brand growth leads to high customer acquisition rates but low customer lifetime value. In other words, they bring new customers into the fold, but those customers only make a few purchases and don’t do much to move the needle.

Re-Centering Your Brand Marketing Efforts on Customer Retention

Growth is largely dependent on finding new people to adopt your brand and share it with friends. However, without customer retention being a strong focus for your brand, your customer acquisition efforts will ultimately be moot. Most of the people you are winning over with those efforts won’t bring considerable lifetime value to your brand because there will be nothing to keep them coming back.

Top-notch products and stellar customer service will help encourage customers to stick around for the long haul. Offering things that your competitors aren’t—like rewards programs or free shipping—will also drive customer loyalty and retention. But one important strategy that often goes overlooked is engagement

Your brand needs to make it a priority to reach customers where they are and interact with them on their own terms. One way to open that door is to invest in video content. Focusing on video content will future-proof your business and help you stay relevant to customers in the 21st century. Cisco reports that, by 2019, video will account for 80% of all consumer traffic. If you want your customers to stay with you going forward, you need to put the emphasis on video in your marketing strategy.

Video Statistics

Using Video Reviews to Drive Customer Value

Don’t have the budget to start producing video content right now? Don’t worry: there is a way that you can start using video on your website for minimal investment. This new strategy for adopting video content helps drive customer lifetime value more than other types of video marketing, from tutorial videos to video blogs.

With video review media, your customers take on the role of producing the content. All you have to do is implement the feature, encourage customers to use it, and then find unique ways to engage with the video and harness its value to contribute to your brand development.

How do video reviews help drive customer lifetime value? Consider how modern consumers shop online. While impulse buys do happen, most customers want to learn about a product before they place an order. In other words, they want an opinion from someone who isn’t affiliated with the brand. As such, customer reviews have the power to eliminate customer reservations and drive purchases.

This point is important because it shows how much power a single video review has. A five-star video on one of your product pages is the perfect aid to persuade skeptics to click “Add to Cart.” By providing shoppers with a second opinion right there on your product page, a video review is inspiring the completion of orders that would not have happened otherwise.

For each of those orders, you have the original reviewer to thank. In other words, when you activate video reviews on your website, each person who decides to record a review immediately spikes his or her customer lifetime value to a high degree.

A Word on Brand Trust and Loyalty

It’s not just the reviewers who increase their customer lifetime value when video reviews come into play. By adding reviews to your website and giving your customers a platform through which they can express their opinions—either positive or negative—you increase the level of trust that shoppers have in your brand. Trust leads to brand loyalty which in turn leads to more frequent purchases, more impassioned referrals, and greater customer retention.

The customer retention power of video reviews is also felt in the way video review media drives brand-customer engagement.

When more customers are leaving reviews—either in video or text format—it’s easier to spot areas where your brand has room for improvement. Maybe there is a common complaint about a certain product, or perhaps customers feel your customer service could be stronger. By paying attention to review content, you can keep track of these weaknesses and resolve to fix them. You can also engage with the reviewers themselves, either to thank them for a review or to find a way to turn their negative experience into a positive one.

Video reviews are perfect for sharing on Facebook or Twitter—not just because the positive ones act as promotional content for your products, but also because it’s a way to put customers in the spotlight. Modern consumers love social media callouts, whether from their favorite brands or their favorite celebrities. Using video reviews to give those callouts brings people closer to your brand and ensures greater lifetime value.


Customer Video Review

How Video Reviews Create Trust with Shoppers

Did you know that an online customer is more likely to trust a product review from another customer than she is to trust a brand’s written product description? If both of those elements appear on every one of your online product pages, the review is more likely to inspire a sale than the branded content.

Need proof? Have a look at this Nielsen report from 2012. The survey, which gathered responses from 28,000 different people around the world, found that 70% of respondents trusted online reviews. Only 58% said that they trusted messages on brand websites and only half trusted email marketing efforts. Trust statistics were even worse for other forms of brand-to-customer communication like search engine ads, banner ads, and social media ads.

Nielsen Study

Building Your Trust Back Up Again

The message that Nielsen’s statistics sends is that customers just don’t trust brands anymore. Whether because of the prevalence of fraud on the internet or the fact that many brands have abused the power of targeted advertising, most companies are facing an uphill battle when it comes to winning over customers.

The good news is that there is a way for your brand to build that trust back up again. The key lies in embracing the thing that customers actually do trust: reviews.

Some companies have already realized this fact but have taken the wrong message from it. The result is the trend of brands “buying” positive reviews for their business on sites like Yelp, e-commerce marketplaces like, and even on their own product pages. Customers are smart enough to spot fake reviews. Getting caught in the act of buying fake reviews will do more damage to your brand’s trust levels than a few positive reviews (real or fake) will be able to rectify.

amazon review

So how can you take advantage of customer reviews without paying for them? The answer is just to let them happen. Don’t try to control the narrative; don’t weed out all the negative reviews and only post the positive ones; and don’t censor. Just implement the option for customer reviews on your brand’s e-commerce product pages and see for yourself how the maneuver benefits your trust levels.

The Power of Customer Reviews

Why are customer reviews so powerful? And how can the trust that customers have for reviews be translated into trust for your brand?

The power of customer reviews comes from the fact that customers aren’t sure what they can trust from brands. Your business may well have a commitment to transparency and disclosure. However, many customers still think that any communication they receive from a brand—be it a TV commercial or a piece of web copy—needs to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, brands are going to portray their own products and services positively because they have a vested interest in the success of those products and services.

Reviews are a refuge for these customers because they provide an unbiased third party opinion. Shoppers are willing to take the word of another customer—even a stranger—because they feel like that person is speaking from a position of impartiality. The reviewer doesn’t have a vested interested in the success of a brand’s product or service and therefore seems more likely to speak candidly.

By including video reviews on your own product pages, you will harness this trust in multiple ways. First, customers won’t have to go elsewhere to read impartial views on your product. They keep shoppers on your product pages, improving dwell rates and increasing the chances of a sale.

Second, customers will feel like they have more opportunity to make their voices heard. Barring customers from reviewing products on your e-commerce site feels like a way of silencing them. Giving your shoppers a platform through which to speak—and responding to their reviews—increases brand loyalty and trust.

Third, allowing any customer to say whatever he or she wants about a product creates an opportunity for both positive and negative reviews. You might be worried if and when negative reviews come in, but you shouldn’t be. Studies have shown that customers actually trust positive reviews more when they are featured side-by-side with negative reviews, simply because they feel more genuine. You can also respond to negative reviews and find ways to address the grievances of your dissatisfied customers. Not only does this system give you a way to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one, but it also lets other customers see that you are making an effort to fix a negative experience. Both factors improve customer trust.

Enable Video Reviews on Your E-Commerce Site Today

Text-based reviews are powerful and will bring you all of the benefits mentioned above, but video review media takes these benefits to a whole new level. Video reviews add more personality into the mix and forge emotional connections between the reviewer and your shoppers. They take all of the trust benefits of text reviews and amplify them.


Millennials are engaging with brands more than ever.

How Millennials Engage with Brands

When it comes to marketing to millennials, there is good news and bad news for brands. The good news is that millennials forge stronger and closer relationships with brands than any generation that came before them. Social media has closed the gap between brands and customers, and millennials dominate social media. Millennials interact with their favorite brands regularly online and build loyalty toward those brands in the process.

The Social Media Factor

The bad news is that millennials know that they have lots of buying power at their fingertips. The double-edged sword of social media and the internet is that, while your brand is using it to forge strong, personal relationships with customers, other brands are doing the same thing. Add the power of and the ever-present nature of Google and millennials have the ability to find, discover, interact with, and purchase from any brand on the planet within a matter of minutes. As such, brands that offend or disappoint millennial audiences run the risk of losing those customers just as quickly as they gained them.

Total Retail Global Report Chart

Millennials understand that, through social media, they have the power to help or hurt a brand. Strong relationships with your customers on social media can lead to shares, retweets, and other instances of brand advocacy. Not every customer has thousands of followers, but each one has the power to bring friends and family to your brand. Put all of your followers together and the potential value of this reach is massive.

How Video Content Can Help

Staying positive on social media and connecting with your customers on a daily basis can go a long way toward helping you win over and keep your millennial audience. Social media is the crux of how many younger people interact not just with brands, but also with celebrities, politicians, publications, and each other. As such, learning to harness social media is a vital part of operating a successful and popular brand in the 2010s.

Social media is not the be-all-and-end-all of how millennials interact with brands. Particularly if you are an e-commerce brand selling products online, video is an essential channel for reaching millennial audiences.

Criteek recently compiled a list of statistics and survey findings about millennials in our website’s marketing intelligence section. The findings, most of which came from the 2015 Animoto Millennial Survey, showed that younger audiences are particularly drawn to video as a medium. 76% of millennial respondents said they follow brands on YouTube; 80% said they look at video content when considering purchases; and 85% said they find video product demos helpful. One in four millennials said that they lose interests in brands that don’t have video content.

Millenial Statistics On Video Engagement

Clearly, video is essential for younger customers. Indeed, if your company doesn’t have video content, you are very likely leaving money on the table from prospective millennial buyers. The challenge is to harness video content in your marketing strategy in such a way that it pairs easily with social media, helps customers arrive at purchasing decisions, and stays relatively cost-effective.

Video Reviews: The Key to Reaching Millennial Customers

By giving your customers the freedom to record and post video reviews of your products, you can take advantage of most of the key statistics revealed by the Animoto Millennial Survey. For instance, if 80% of millennials look at video content when considering purchases, you can encourage those purposes by providing relevant video content on the product pages themselves.

Many video reviewers will show off the product they are talking about in the video. With text-based customer reviews, everything has to be communicated via words and descriptions, which are very hard to visualize. In video reviews, customers can demonstrate what they are talking about while they are talking about it. As a result, shoppers have a chance to see features of your product in action—and start learning how to use your product—before they even click “Add to Cart.”

Professional video content is expensive to produce. Particularly if you have a lot of products, creating promo videos or demo videos for every single product will lead to a substantial bill. Letting your customers prepare video content gives you a chance to have video commercials and demonstrations for your products without having to pay to produce the videos. Customer videos may not be professional in quality but they frequently answer major customer questions.

The other benefit of having video reviews on your site is how shareable they are. The Animoto Millennial Survey noted that roughly half of all consumers have shared video content posted by their favorite brands on their own profiles. Video reviews are especially social media-friendly because you can tag the customers who created the videos. Customers (particularly millennials) will feel honored to have their video reviews shared by your brand—a feeling that will bring them even closer to your brand. Other customers will share your posts and start creating video reviews with the hopes of being featured on your social media feed. In the long run, you engage your customers more effectively and widen your reach.


Product Review Videos

Help Your Customers Virtually “See, Touch, and Feel” Your Products

In many ways, shopping online is the optimal way to shop. It’s easy, convenient, fast, and accessible. Shopping at a brick and mortar store takes real commitment: customers have to set aside time to drive to the store, walk around shopping, try out or try on products, and wait in line at the checkout counter. E-commerce stores let shoppers find what they need without the drive, without the walk around the store, and without the line. They take what could easily be a one- or two-hour shopping trip and condense it into five minutes.

Online Shopping Experience

If there’s one drawback to e-commerce shopping, it’s that customers can’t see, touch, and feel the products. For instance, when it comes to clothing or shoes bought online, customers can’t try on items to check for fit and comfort. E-commerce sites usually have high-resolution images that display their products from a variety of different angles. However, simply seeing the product in a still-frame image is not the equivalent of holding it in your hands and trying out its features for yourself.

These factors illustrate why some customers continue to prefer shopping at physical stores despite the ease and convenience that shopping online provides. Some e-commerce companies try to rectify this shortcoming by making the product return process as simple as possible so customers can send back products that don’t match their expectations. But that’s not the only way to disrupt these reservations.

Put the “See, Touch, Feel” Element Back into the Shopping Experience

Some e-commerce brands are experimenting with letting customers “try on” or “test out” their products. Warby Parker, a designer glasses brand, sends each new customer five frames for a home try-on. This model allows customers to try out the company’s products before making a purchase. In short, it adds seeing, touching, and feeling back into the purchasing process to put their minds at ease.

Warby Parker

It may be effective, but it’s a model that wouldn’t be sustainable for many businesses. Warby Parker pays for the shipping on the try-on pairs of glasses and provides prepaid shipping for customers to send them back after a five-day trial period. When customers choose a specific set of frames, they purchase them online and get a new pair shipped to them: they don’t just keep the ones they liked as part of the original try-on package.

An Alternative Option

Most e-commerce companies don’t have the funds to handle free shipping for a product try-on or test-out service. Companies like Warby Parker could feasibly start charging for this service, but extra expense mitigates the convenience of shopping online in the first place. It’s doubtful that customers would want to cover those extra shipping costs.

There are alternative ways to achieve a similar effect—not necessarily by actually giving your customers a chance to touch and feel your products, but by generating a similar level of engagement to make them feel completely comfortable.

Most customers have recognized that shopping online is the future of retail. As a result, they’ve come up with new ways to determine whether or not they want to buy products. Instead of going to the store and trying out potential purchases, customers read reviews from other shoppers. They engage with the opinions of other people who have bought a certain product before them, hoping that the review they read will answer key questions about the quality, functionality, fit, and usability of the product. Reviews may not recreate the “see, touch, feel” experience of brick and mortar shopping, but they provide the next best thing: they let customers see, touch, and feel products vicariously through people who have already bought those products.

Text Reviews

Video reviews take the experience to another level. Instead of reading about people who have had the opportunity to use a product, customers can watch that person describe the product in real time. The video format gives reviewers a chance to add product demonstrations into their review. It enables them to pick up a product and show it to their viewers and reveal the product’s features or flaws.

Product Reviews help engage customers longer driving e-commerce

Like text reviews, video reviews can’t actually give customers the ability to reach through their computer screen and touch or feel a product. However, by letting customers see a product in action—and see another person touch and feel that product—video reviews tell shoppers almost as much about a product as a true tactile or kinesthetic experience would. The seeing part of the “see, touch, feel” experience becomes more important here because customers get to see the product in action. They are seeing another person do all of the things they would do if they had the opportunity to try out a product in person.

Best of all, video reviews don’t come with the unsustainable price tag attached to your brand that something like a free try-on program would. Once you’ve implemented the video review system on your e-commerce site, all of the content is going to come from customers. All you have to do is promote it.