By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
With more consumers choosing to save gas money by shopping from home, e-commerce enhancements such as SellPoint's on-demand video product tours are enhancing a growing number of Web sites.
The tours combine dynamic video with a wide array of printable user guides, brochures and other product information, while SellPoint's graphical dashboard provides manufacturers with a detailed analysis of shopper behavior that is updated daily, giving manufacturers insight into how consumers interact with their products.
The tours, which are hosted by SellPoint and launch in a separate pop-up window, have led to higher conversion rates and a decrease in returns, at least one retailer said.
Manufacturer clients include Adobe, Brother, Canon, Epson, Fuji, Hitachi, NetGear, SanDisk, Panasonic, Pentax and TiVo, and SellPoint's video presentations of their products appear on more than 100 e-commerce sites, including those of Amazon.com, Best Buy, B&H Photo, Buy.com, Circuit City, Costco, OfficeMax, Micro Center, RitzCamera.com, Sears, Staples, Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart.
Micro Center, the 21-store, 15-state PC chain, has partnered with SellPoint for four years and is presently one of its top online retailers, playing 639 active product tours. Micro Center has also implemented "SmartButton," which automatically connects the product tours to the appropriate retailer product page.
Micro Center said it has generated over 31,000 views and 70,000 minutes of viewing time from September 2007 through March 2008, with shoppers spending an average of two minutes viewing the videos.
B&H, which has been serving the pro-and consumer imaging markets for more than 30 years with one of the industry's most extensive assortments of imaging products, has also been a SellPoint partner for the past four years. The New York-based retailer is currently playing 450 active product tours and generated over 1 million views and 2.8 million minutes of viewing time last year, and 281,000 unique views and 764,000 minutes of viewing time in the fourth quarter alone, up 11 percent from the prior three months.
Ritz Interactive, which operates RitzCamera.com, plays more than 200 active product tours for everything from cameras, camcorders and memory cards to GPS devices and Bluetooth headsets from manufacturers including Canon, Fuji, Magellan, Panasonic and Pentax, said Andre Brysha, the company's senior VP and chief marketing officer.
"Our online customers are looking to get the same level of knowledgeable service and advice that they are accustomed to getting at top specialty brick-and-mortar retailers," Brysha said. "This rich product information gives them a similar level of confidence, knowing that they are armed with all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision."
Prior to working with SellPoint, RitzCamera.com contacted each manufacturer individually to receive updated content for its product pages, Brysha said. "With SellPoint, the product tours and downloadable sales collateral are compiled and hosted by one source and supplied to us when updated material is available. It is a much more streamlined, hassle-free approach."
Since implementing the program, online customers are spending more time on the company's product pages, are visiting more related accessory pages and are "ultimately having an improved shopping experience," he noted.
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