2020 was a difficult year for every industry and individual. The global pandemic was a challenge for many; even to us at Smartzer. But for the digital services, it was only a hiccup in the way. After everyone was forced to stay safe at home, digital platforms, technologies, shoppable and interactive videos have gained importance. Now, the pressure is on for brands to pay attention to their digital content as the closest form of interaction they will have with their customers. This year, the growth will continue and we will see how technologies emerge to offer customers the most personalised experiences.

These are some of our predictions for the future in 2021, and why it will be an exciting year for Smartzer...

Growth use of video content

Video content has always been a successful form of storytelling, images and text alone don’t seem to cut it anymore. Hubspot reported that 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool (up from 63% over the last year). Furthermore, Insivia reported that mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year. As a result, brands need to up their game by rethinking their video content marketing strategy in order to stand out and stay relevant.

Smartzers bespoke, interactive video platform allows brands to create immersive and engaging content for their customers. This highly relevant video technology removes many of the issues that marketers face when optimising their video content. The clickable, informative videos are easily measurable for ROI and shorten the viewers path to purchase. This can increase conversion rates by up to 400%. With video content on the rise, it is without a doubt that 2021 will provide many opportunities for brands to capitalise on Smartzer’s innovative technology in order to stand out in a content saturated crowd.

Renewed focus on interactive content due to lack of personal interaction

The Global Pandemic has hugely impacted the way brands can connect with their clientele. With bricks and mortar stores closed, outside of the box thinking is required to recreate the personal element of face-to-face selling online. This has increased the demand for interactive video platforms like Smartzer to bridge the gap between the online and the offline.

In fact, 24% of video marketers plan to include interactive video in their 2021 video marketing strategy. This was up 3% from last year.

This renewed focus on interactivity sets Smartzer in good stead for the year having previously worked with retailers like Brown Thomas to deliver shoppable video tutorials and beauty masterclasses. Here, interactive video successfully brought the beauty counter to customers' living rooms.

Livestream Shopping

China has been ahead of the game when it comes to livestream shopping experiences. In 2020 a report by Qin An mentions that 265 million Chinese internet users buy goods via streams. This figure amounts to 47% of the total stream viewing audience. These stats suggest that the rest of the world should follow suit in order to keep up with marketing giants.

In 2021, Smartzer offers brands the chance to raise the bar with interactive and shoppable video streaming formats. The platform allows brands to build a shoppable carousel of products by importing directly from a product catalogue or manually. Brands can connect the platform to their stream using the RTMP ID and a Stream Key to go live.

As a result of the pandemic, there has been a growth in demand for interactive livestream events. Online luxury retailer, My Theresa, previously worked with Smartzer to deliver Burberry’s shoppable runway. Viewers could virtually sit front row at the highly anticipated fashion week show. Consumers could shop the products modelled directly after the show instead of waiting 6 months for release. This shoppable video stream excited fans through the instantaneous “see now, buy now” philosophy. The shoppability of the show introduced a sense of urgency to the viewer that encouraged them to make a purchase. This interactive front row experience brings customers and brands closely together in socially distanced times and suggests that the future of live shopping is bright for 2021 and beyond.

Shoppable Ads on Social Media

Right now, more than half the world uses social media. This means that brands must optimise their advertising online to engage as many potential customers as possible. Especially when 53% of consumers engage with a brand after viewing a video on social media.

These facts are encouraging for the popularity of interactive video platforms in 2021. Milka Kramer UK and Ireland Country Manager at Pinterest predicts that “In 2021, the brands and retailers who leverage insights and focus on engaging with customers early in their shopping journey will turn them into customers through visually inspiring ideas that reach them at just the right moment”.

Smartzer’s highly relevant software helps brands to create shoppable video ads that stand out and reflect Kramer’s prediction. The clickable overlay enables brands to tag products to their ads and create an interactive and informative experience for the viewer. Having previously worked with brands like Paco Rabanne, Missoni and Volkswagen, Smartzer’s software has proven to increase engagement by 62%. Customer’s could click on products in the videos or a call-to-action to be educated about the product early on in the purchase funnel. With this content marketing strategy, brands can drive more qualified leads to e-commerce sites, increasing click-through-rate by 27%.

With platforms like Facebook and Instagram’s “IGTV” on a mission to become the next generations TV streaming platform, the continual rise in video content across social media indicates that interactive video platforms like Smartzer are here to stay. The undeniable benefits of shoppable video push platforms like Smartzer to the forefront of content marketing strategy, preventing brands from slipping into extinction for the years to come.

Increased performance of interactive content on e-commerce platforms

While vaccine rollout encourages hope for a degree of normality in 2021, merchants cannot ignore the huge technological developments in marketing strategy that have led to systematic changes in how customers interact with brands. When it comes to online content, we cannot revert to pre-covid ways.

Like in-feed interactive video ads on social media, interactive video content on e-commerce sites has increased over the past year. Brands have utilised interactive video platforms like Smartzer to replicate the engaging in-store experience online. Whether this has been through conversational commerce, shoppable video or live shopping events, 2020 saw brands re-evaluate their strategies for a time where stores were temporarily closed. 2021 will see brands solidify these strategies as a more permanent practice.

A clear take-away from 2020 is that customers crave easy brand access. On e-commerce sites, conversational commerce has allowed customers to virtually talk to store associates to gain recommendations and advice on products, leading to informed purchases. Shoppable videos on landing pages have instantly engaged shoppers, informing them about products and offering alternative recommendations in collections. Live shopping events have changed the game for customers interacting with e-commerce sites. The real-time streams allow customers to feel as if they are in the same room as the merchant, only they have their online device handy to buy the products displayed without leaving the video. Livestream shopping provides a bespoke and personalised experience for the consumer who can see the product in action and buy with confidence.

These three e-commerce practices transform a technological experience into a human experience. As a result, platforms like Smartzer are likely to be in high demand for the following years.