Why aren’t videos more widely used on marketplaces?

By Dan Wilson September 10, 2018 - 8:47 am

It remains notable that videos are not widely used on marketplaces as a sales tool by merchants. For many items, vehicles for instance, or anything with moving parts, a video demonstration could be a power means of converting browsers into buyers. But they are still seldom seen and that’s surprising. Why aren’t videos more widely used on online marketplaces?

It was often predicted that video would become widespread. Indeed, one prediction was that Youtube (or one of the other video social networks) would try and cash in with “v-commerce” and perhaps create a video powered marketplace. But that prediction has turned out to be wrong so far, although the idea does still have appeal.

Particularly on fashion retail sites, and often on apps, there are multiple ways of visualising the goods for sale. It’s typical to zoom in on pictures and as technology develops, such services will become more sophisticated. You can sometimes see what you will look like in a specific garment.

One of the crucial reasons is likely the time and effort it takes a merchant to create such videos. Creating multiple still images is a big enough task in itself. High quality equipment and some technical skill is required to produce videos of an appropriate quality. The kit, or the people with the kit, represent an expense. And, if you have numerous product lines, making videos could in itself turn into a very significant enterprise.

And the marketplaces don’t make it particularly easy to host or display videos, although the likes of eBay do permit it. And, unlike with photos, they don’t host them or make them a prominent part of a listing. The video itself is just shown in the main body of the listing and (specifically on the app) it might not even be visible to shoppers.

Seeing as it hasn’t become popular yet, it doesn’t seem likely that videos will start playing a prominent role in ecommerce any time soon but maybe that will change. Why don’t you use videos in your marketplace listings? (Or maybe you do?)

  • james
    10 months ago

    we did use videos, til ebay went out of their way to declare them illegal, threaten us for having videos, demand we remove all videos, then provide only the big boys like Argos with instructions on how to host videos (poorly, but legally) on ebay.

    we have several items where the video made a huge difference, as we expected sales dropped on they listings after removing videos, even when we provide a link-only to youtube, the view rates are 1/10th, or less, than when we had it embedded in the listing with a play button.

    nowt but laziness and greed stops ebay hosting videos in the main image window, but that’s exactly what i expect from ebay. if they can’t find a way to charge sellers more money for it, they ain’t interested. if there’s any chance it’ll cost ebay themselves a single penny, then it’s complete fantasy.

    • 10 months ago

      Showing video in listings is hardly a secret, it was shared on their active content transistion pages:

      “Product videos. You can include videos in your listing by using the appropriate HTML5 tags in your item description. Read our Links policy for more information on what video content is allowed in listings. Some video hosting sites do not support the HTML5 tag.”

  • Mark
    10 months ago

    Yep that’s correct videos made it so easy for buyers to see exactly what they were getting and in many cases how to set it up and what it looked like when working.
    But eBay who keep banging on about items not as described thought it would be better to remove the perfect way to avoid all that.

    • Mike
      10 months ago

      From a revenue perspective, is it not more profitable for eBay to disallow videos? After all, allowing them, to reduce “item not as described” returns, might have a negative impact on the service metrics penalty fee.

    • james
      10 months ago

      depends how short-term vs long-term you’re looking at.
      is it profitable for ebay long-term to keep disappointing buyers?

      they’ve also rigged the penatly fee so they can’t lose out, your score is rated against your ‘peers’, so even if everyone suddenly becomes perfect overnight, and we’re all sitting on 0 returns this quarter, anyone who gets a spurios return opened against them rockets straight into the very-high category with extra fees for the next 3 months.
      as long as returns happen ebay will be able to cash-in with this moving goalpost, and i see nothing likely to reduce, never mind eradicate, returns on ebay. only things that increase them.

  • Sophie
    10 months ago

    The whole return metric system is totally unfair. They don’t take out misuse of returns, returns requests that time out without a return happening or returns that get closed by the buyer. If you win a case against a buyer regarding a bogus return that still counts too. I also don’t trust the metric system the details displayed on mine at the moment are different than the buyer reasons given.

  • Alex
    10 months ago

    The automatic approval by eBay of all SNAD return claims will also increase returns. I get return requests opened when people just don’t read the instructions and claim a product is faulty. Atleast you could help and stop the return progressing in the past, the new ebay way will see returns of products that work perfectly.

    But for eBay more returns equals higher return metric figures. Which becomes more chances to charge the return penalty charges. which equals more money for eBay. Just imagine when the sales increase before Christmas, how much extra eBay will make on the people who drew the short straw with the penalty charge in the periods leading up to Christmas…..kerching….kerching.

  • 10 months ago

    Hi, In response to your story about Why aren’t videos more widely used on marketplaces? I can only speak for myself on this matter. A while back I was listening to eBay radio and they had a guest on the show talking about adding videos to their eBay listings and prior to listening to the show, I have been doing that for almost two years since I started selling on eBay full time. And to be honest with you I did not see a pickup in sales what so ever and for all the trouble and time to create the video and upload it and then use the Youtube converter and copy and paste the HTML in your eBay listing is was so time-consuming and in my opinion didn’t really help at all. I am stating this because I thought it was going to help my sales. Now there may be other online sellers out there who beg to differ on this topic but I am basing it off my own experience. Maybe this why it is not used. In closing, I just want to say thank you for sharing this topic. I am curious to see what others have to say.

    • james
      10 months ago

      if you find uploading to youtube and copying some HTML difficult, then maybe they weren’t for you.
      many of us won’t need to make our own videos from scratch, most of the time they’re already on youtube waiting to be linked, youtube makes the embed code for you, it’s literally a copy/paste job.
      back when embedded videos were accepted as normal on ebay, it was all of 15 seconds work to include a video while writing a description.
      even if it didn’t increase sales dramatically, just save one needless return and that’s 15 seconds well spent.

  • 10 months ago

    I used to post videos on Ebay for a lot of my equipment and I thought it had a positive impact on sales. Then Ebay declared war on active content and made it almost impossible to put videos on the site.

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