Video has been proven to be a powerful driver of customer engagement and sales for online retailers. It is so important that retailers have gone beyond simple product videos and are now producing a wider variety of non-product video content.  They are also going to great lengths to make sure their customers can easily find these videos on their retail sites.  Many SLI customers have improved their search capabilities to include non-product content, and are now including graphic flags on products in search results for those that include video. And some are creating entire sections dedicated to video on their search results pages.

With all of this demand for video, the challenge many retailers now face is coming up with ideas for new videos and then finding someone to step in front of the camera.  If this is something you struggle with, the help you need may lie with your manufacturers and suppliers. Here are a variety of ideas for how you can tap into this resource to expand your store’s video library.

Manufacturer’s Videos
One of the easiest and fastest ways to add product videos to your site is to get them from the manufacturer. The quality of these videos is typically very high as manufacturers can justify big budgets for producing them. These videos can often be found with a simple search on YouTube or on the manufacturers web site.  When the video is on YouTube you can simply grab the code to embed it on your related product pages.

Motorcycle Superstore has made good use of this manufacturer’s video of the GoPro HD Hero2 camera by including it on their product page. The video is beautifully shot and features amazing action from those using the camera while they jump from airplanes, pull off extreme freestyle skiing tricks, dive with sharks, and free fall along cliffs in a wingsuit. And with over 8 million views, this is the sort of video that will not only engage your customers but also attract them to your site.


Manufacturer’s Rep Videos
The next time a manufacturer’s rep stops by to show off their new products, get out your video camera.  Since they have a deep knowledge of the products and are well practiced at presenting them, the manufacturer’s rep is one of the best people to put behind the camera.  This is also a good opportunity for someone in your business to jump in and ask questions.  The dialog between you and the rep makes for a more engaging video and shows your customers how well connected you are with those who produce the products you sell.

Here’s an example from Cruiser Customizing where the supplier and retailer work together to provide a nice overview of the types of motorcycle tool kits they sell.


How-To Videos
How to videos are a great way to create demand for your products.  When you teach someone how to do something new, you can expand the range of products they might buy and give them the confidence that they will be successful using those products.  An example from Northwest River Supplies (NRS), a manufacturer of paddling equipment, shows kayaking enthusiasts how to dress for fall touring.  The video showcases a variety of products that one would need, educates about product features and benefits, gives tips for how to use and also provides safety tips.  Since the presenter is an NRS employee who is an avid kayaker he is able to include some personal endorsement of the products.


Trade Show Videos
When you make that trek to your next industry trade show be sure to bring a video camera along.  You’ll find a large number of manufacturers eager to show off their products and answer your questions.  In just a few hours you’ll be able to capture enough video to keep your content pipeline full for months.  Video of the latest products and innovations makes for great Facebook posts and Tweets. These videos are also a great source of material to build a blog post around.

In this example a writer from Rockler Woodworking’s magazine Woodworker’s Journal pays a visit to the JET Powermatic booth at the AWFS show to learn about new changes to their products.


Instructional Videos
For more complex products manufacturers will often create instructional videos and may even include an instructional DVD with their product. In this example, Footwear Etc. has taken an  instructional DVD video included with their MBT Shoes and placed it on YouTube with a slight modification to include their brand name and contact info.  Footwear Etc. then links to the video from all of their MBT Shoes product pages.  Note, if you go this route be sure to get approval from the manufacturer before modifying their video.


As you can see from these examples, your manufactures and suppliers can have a big impact on your ability to deliver a steady flow of engaging video content.  As you put these ideas to use and publish exciting new video, don’t forget your responsibility for making sure your videos are easy to find.   Be sure to take advantage of the tools that your search solution provides to promote your videos in your site search results.

If you have other ideas for how manufacturers and suppliers can help retailers create video content and make it easier to find, please post them in the comments below.