The Creative Toolkit for Marketers

What Are Shoppable Videos? (Definition & eCommerce Examples)

Chelsea Sassara

shopping cart boxes on laptop with credit card for online shopping/e-commerce


Online shopping has surged in the last decade due to the growth and dominance of online retailers like Amazon. In 2019, Cyber Monday was Amazon’s biggest shopping day in the company’s history, bringing in a total of $9.2 billion dollars in sales. And it’s not just Amazon.


Etsy, which offers handcrafted and vintage items sold by independent sellers, generated more than $818 million dollars in revenue in the U.S. in 2019.


Naturally, online shopping has surged during the COVID-19 global pandemic as stay-at-home orders were issued globally. Brick and mortar stores are taking huge hits, some of which may never recover.


Because of this, brands are having to pivot to remain afloat, attract customers, and sell their products in a digital space. Luckily, technology makes this possible for most businesses, however, shopping is still an experience – people want to be able to look, feel, and test products before making a purchase.


So, how do retailers do that when everything is shifting online?


Product videos, whether it’s a tutorial, unboxing video, or a review, are a great way for a business to convert online customers. As a creative marketing agency that specializes in video production and animation, VMG Studios has been helping clients produce product videos for years. Recently, we’ve been recommending a newer kind of video: shoppable videos.


This article will break down what shoppable videos are and how they’re changing the face of e-commerce.


What Are Shoppable Videos?

Quite simply, a shoppable video is a combination of a product video and an interactive video.


Interactive videos help solve viewer complacency by requiring the viewer to take action – sometimes that action helps dictate the narrative, other times it may reveal a secondary scene that’s running simultaneously with the main scene. They can also be used for e-learning with periodic quizzes and activities required to move onto the next topic or chapter.


Because there are several different types of interactive videos, it’s important to note that the videos are built differently on the backend of programming and do not always share the same functionalities. Simply put, a shoppable video is produced and programmed differently than an e-learning interactive video.


Similarly, there are several kinds of product videos including how-to videos, life hack videos, and customer testimonials, where brands can show off their products and its features in unique ways. This is in addition to traditional commercials, explainer videos, and feature videos all of which can outline and highlight a brand’s products and/or services.


Shoppable videos merge the two, product and interactive videos, and you can even add in a narrative splash, a storyline, that you often see in traditional commercials.


Shoppable videos have really made a splash in the fashion industry, in particular. It allows potential customers to see clothes on a moving person, besides just static pictures on a website, and shop in the moment with interactive features.


This shoppable video created by Spott allows online shoppers to shop the look on the model in the moment without having to stop watching the video itself.


Please note: this video is a screen recording of someone else interacting with the shoppable features.


HubSpot Video


Here’s another shoppable video also produced by Spott. It captures the electricity of a live fashion show from the red carpet to the runway, where viewers can shop the runway looks in real-time. Once again, this video has been screen-captured.


HubSpot Video




Benefits of Shoppable Videos

In our current technological state, there is a never-ending amount of content people can consume online. The distractions are endless. Therefore, it can be hard to not only attract, but keep, your target audience’s attention in such a saturated space.


You want something that will get your audience to stop scrolling, whether it’s on social media or your website.


This is one of the many benefits of shoppable video:


1. Shoppable Videos Are Engaging

You may have heard this fact before, but a study found that the average person’s attention span is just 8 seconds. This means your content needs to be immediately attention-grabbing. Not only that, but you, of course, want your target audience to watch your full video and hear all your messaging points.


By including interactive features in your video, you have a greater chance of turning a passive viewer into an active one. Why is this important? A survey found viewers were 66% more engaged when watching an interactive video.


While engagement is key in driving people to actually watch your videos, the main goal of shoppable videos (and any marketing video, really) is conversion…


2. Shoppable Videos Help Drive Conversions

If engagement is step one in attracting customers to your website and product offerings, conversion is step two and arguably the most important step.


The ultimate goal is that every person who visits your website or watches a marketing video will become a paying customer. Unfortunately, you can’t expect to convert 100% of your website visitors, however, shoppable videos can help increase those conversion rates.


One study found that interactivity results in 3x to 4x greater viewer conversion rates than traditional video.


Part of the reason that shoppable videos can help convert viewers into customers leads us into the next benefit…


3. Shoppable Videos Are Easy to Use for Customers

People flock to Amazon, in part, because it essentially has everything. From books to groceries to clothes to electronics – the categories go on and on.


It’s ultimately a “one-stop-shop.”


In fact, Amazon already has its own shoppable video experience called Amazon Live where people, mainly influencers, post live videos testing out, reviewing, and/or talking about products available for purchase on Amazon. It includes links to the featured products and a real-time chat function for more interaction.


This same “one-stop-shop” idea can also be applied to shoppable videos.


While some of the interactive features of shoppable videos will still drive consumers to a separate product page or “add to cart” page, there is opportunity to keep viewers within the video itself, even when they add a product or service to their cart. So, instead of taking users to a different page to add a product to their cart, they can do all of this within the video – without ever having to leave.


This creates an easy user experience while increasing those ever-important engagement rates.


On the business side of things, shoppable videos also give you the opportunity to showcase multiple products within the same video, which can be cost-effective.


In this screen-recorded video clip from, viewers can shop for various products all in one place.


HubSpot Video


Shoppable Videos and Social Media

Social media is a huge selling tool. Think of all the influencers who make money selling products on Instagram and YouTube. In fact, social media can influence (see what I did there?) purchasing decisions. A study found that 71% of customers are more likely to purchase products based on social media referrals. 


Because of this spike in monetary opportunity on social media, many of the platforms are making it easier to sell items directly from individual posts.


Take Instagram, for example.


Instagram offers several e-commerce features such as product ads and a “swipe up” feature on “stories” for those with more than 10,000 followers on the platform.


It also introduced shoppable features in late 2018 where users could shop directly from posts that appeared on their feed.


HubSpot Video


HubSpot Video


YouTube also has interactive features, also known as “cards.” Cards, which are icons that appear in the upper right corner of a video, can appear on-screen at specific moments in a video.


HubSpot Video


Users can promote other videos, playlists, or channels through cards. Users can also link to outside websites, such as links to buy products that are being featured in a video, however, there are some terms and conditions that apply. Users must join the YouTube Partner Program which outlines its monetization policies and requires more than 1,000 subscribers (among some other requirements).


The Future of eCommerce and Shoppable Videos

A survey found that 20 percent of online shoppers worldwide buy items online on a weekly basis. When you take into consideration that there’s an estimated 2.05 billion number of online shoppers globally, that’s a lot of money being spent online each week.


Online shopping trends have been ticking upwards in the last few years, and it’s probably a safe bet that we’ll see those numbers increase drastically in 2020.


The way people shop has changed, but many of the same purchasing decision factors remain the same: people buy based on reviews, referrals, and being able to test, hold, or feel physical products.


Shoppers are also looking for a cohesive and consistent omnichannel experience from brands they’re loyal to and shoppable videos are key to developing that cross-channel content strategy.


While online shopping makes the latter a little more difficult, there are innovative solutions to provide your target audience with the best shopping experience.


Shoppable videos are making a splash in e-commerce thanks to interactive features that can help increase engagement and drive conversions.


To learn more about shoppable videos and how to implement them into your marketing strategy, VMG Studios is here to help. We are experts in both interactive videos and product videos and can beautifully merge the two to show off your product and services.


Click the image below to start planning your next project with our free, downloadable creative messaging brief

New call-to-action


Tags: product videos, Video marketing, Shoppable videos, e-commerce, interactive videos

Chelsea Sassara

Written by Chelsea Sassara

Chelsea Sassara is a Content Manager at VMG Studios. Chelsea is an Emmy award-winning journalist with a background in local TV news. She loves to write, her dog & cat, the Pacific Northwest, and the Oregon Ducks.

Lists by Topic

see all