Is Interactive Video The New Normal for eCommerce?

How do you make technology predictions?

So I tell you that I think interactive video is going to be the new normal. How would I know anyway? Am I credible? Am I an expert in interactive video? No. But it begs the question – how does anyone make technology predictions.

So let me tell you how I do it. It's my secret. And now you're going to know it.

Here's how I make them

I make them the same way I know what they'll soon be offering at Target. Yes, I'm a Target-prognosticator. I bet you didn't know.

What I know about technology (which happens to be the same dynamic in terms of Target merchandising), is that things start in the enterprise space at high prices that only they can afford. And then companies make it available for everyday people at much lower prices.

In other words, if a new technology is being articulated as a new and powerful tool on several websites, but none of them have a “pricing” tab – I know they're focused on the enterprise. And given enough time, I know eventually the same technology (or close to it) will be available for everyday folks like you and me.

This is why I think interactive video is going to become the new normal

Interactive video is starting to show up in all sorts of large eCommerce sites. You might find it at the site for a major brand, or one of the anchor mall store's site, but when you search for “interactive video” you end up with a bunch of websites without prices.

They're clearly selling to Walmart, Delta, and Mastercard. I'm talking about companies like hapyak, idomoo, Rapt, and wirewax.

But that's what makes it exciting. Because when you see it taking shape, you know it's bound to happen on WooCommerce sites (which is what I write about on Mondays).

Why has it been so hard?

Three things have made interactive video so difficult.

The first challenge to interactive video is the video part. In the past, not so long ago, you'd have to hire a serious video crew that were the only folks that had access to the gear to create video. Today we don't have the same problems because we all have phones that act as video cameras in our pocket. I'm not saying we're all qualified to create video, but the high cost of gear isn't the same.

The second challenge to interactive video has always been the interactive part. It required programming. Using technology that wasn't easily accessible to everyone (either because of price or because of the steep learning curve).

This is where I tell you how old I am by explaining that I used to create interactive media using Macromedia Director a long time ago.

But as I'm about to show you, that's no longer the case either. Tools exist that are making this all available to just about anyone.

The third challenge was that the first two challenges, particularly the cost of them, meant that when someone would pitch a merchant, for example, it would be too costly for them to consider. But now that the price is lower, all sorts of folks can entertain the idea of using interactive video.

What is making it much easier now?

Today you don't need to learn Lingo (the object-oriented programming language of Director). You don't need to learn any programming at all. There's a new platform that is simple and easy to use.

It's called MindStamp.

You can upload videos. Connect several together for more complex storytelling. You can add buttons or hotspots to the video. You can ask questions. Collect customer data. And even add personalization based on data passed on the url.

I want you to think about that last statement. You are likely using an email engine to send out your cart abandonment emails. Let's say you're using ActiveCampaign. That means you have the first name of the person you're emailing.

So imagine putting ?fname=chris dynamically in the links within your abandonment cart emails. MindStamp can pull that first name into the video and place it in the text, so that you can add text that says, “You left some items in your cart, Chris.”

Tell me which option you would choose

So let me show you what happens a lot when people are creating variable products in WooCommerce. I could have done a t-shirt example, but instead I created a little sample of two different vacations thru Beaches.

You create a location attribute and then create two variations. Right? You can even add specific images for each variation so that when they pick Jamaica, they see a specific photo of the resort.

That results in the normal product page that looks like this.

There's nothing wrong with this. And we could make it more attractive by adding more text, even more photos, etc.

But that's not how you want to sell a vacation. Right? You're going to want to create a landing page and put photo galleries and videos in place with lots of other copy and graphics.

Isn't this more like what you'd want?

When you click on one of those buttons, it puts the product in your cart and takes you to the checkout. How? With this simple button screen within MindStamp.

This is so much better, right?

It's better because it's video. It's better because it could be produced from even user generated content. It's better because no programming is involved. And it's better because it's interactive.

The best part? MindStamp isn't super expensive. They have a pricing tab on their site. They're focused on serving people like you and me. And it's incredibly reasonable. I purchased their Core package and I love it.

Check it out and let me know what you think – by hitting reply in email or responding to this article on Twitter.