Brick-and-mortar retail continues to hold a significant advantage over ecommerce stores: the personal touch.
The biggest reason why many consumers prefer brick-and-mortar retail is they like to be able to see and touch items in the store. They want to know exactly what they’re getting before they commit to a purchase. With ecommerce, there’s always a chance the item that arrives at your doorstep doesn’t match up with how it was presented online.
Another reason why some consumers prefer brick-and-mortar retail is they simply enjoy the experience of shopping in a store. It may take longer than ordering something from their computer, but it gives them a chance to socialize, and over time, the face-to-face interactions that take place in-store can develop into a strong connection with a company’s brand.
This is why even small ecommerce businesses should be investing in video marketing. Videos allow you to compensate for the fact that people can’t see or touch your products, and you can also use them to personalize your brand and improve customer loyalty.
Once you decide to produce videos for your online store, there’s one question that naturally follows: How much is this going to cost you?
Unfortunately, the most accurate answer to this question isn’t very satisfying: It depends.
If you’ve already done some research into third-party video production services, you’ll notice that many companies require you to contact them for a custom quote. There’s a good reason for this — every project has different needs and costs.
That said, there are ways to determine a high-level estimate of these costs. Below, we’ll break down all the different factors involved with the cost of video production, and then we’ll show you how much you can expect to pay for the most common types of ecommerce marketing videos.
First, we need to address the two ways to produce videos for your company:
The process of hiring a third party can be quite difficult and time-consuming. You’ll need to research your options (many production companies will collaborate with you remotely, so you’re not limited to services that are based in your local area) and go over the project with your top choices to obtain quotes. And after you pick a company, you’ll then need to negotiate the budget, milestones and deadlines for the project.
There’s much more involved here than just shooting a video. For example, the production company VeracityColab breaks down its process into the following steps:
With all the work described above, it’s no surprise that the cost of hiring an agency is often substantial.
The final price will depend on the specs of your project, of course. But the minimum project size data provided by Clutch’s video production agency listings show that you can expect to pay at least $5,000 for any kind of video. Some agency’s minimum price is as high as $25,000.
Smaller stores may balk at those high prices. And indeed, some stores have found success while spending much less money with a DIY approach. For example, the budget for the first few videos in Blendtec’s popular “Will It Blend?” series was just $50. Soon after those videos went viral, Blendtec’s sales growth increased by a whopping 700%.
But unless you already have the equipment, in-house video production is going to cost you a good bit more than $50. To shoot a professional video, you’ll need the following:
Altogether, this will cost you between $1,000 and $15,000. Most of these expenses are a few hundred dollars or less — the video camera is what’s responsible for the wide range in cost, as you can use anything from a smartphone you already own to a new DSLR camera.
In addition to the equipment, you’ll need people who know how to use it. You'll want to budget for an experienced video producer, and you may need to hire extra crew members as well.
Considering these upfront costs, it makes more financial sense to hire an agency if you’re only interested in producing one or two videos at the moment. But if you want to produce an ongoing series of videos, setting up your own in-house studio would be a smart investment in the long run.
Now that we’ve reviewed the cost of in-house vs. outsourcing production, let’s take a look at the expenses associated with different types of marketing videos to give you some context from that perspective.
This type of video is short (generally around a minute) and tells the story of your brand in a particularly compelling or entertaining way.
While these videos are short, they don’t tend to be cheap — they can serve as the cornerstone of your website and a way to introduce your brand to new customers, which makes them especially valuable.
In a study conducted by Wyzowl, 70 video production agencies sent quotes for the same 60-second explainer video. The average price was $7,972, with a low end of $700 and a high of $72,000.
Product videos are more utilitarian and even shorter (closer to 30 seconds) than explainer videos.
There’s no storytelling involved here — you’re just showing the customer your product from all angles so that they can feel confident they’re making an informed decision when they click “Add to Cart.” As such, these are relatively easy to shoot yourself with minimal equipment.
The top social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have billions of active users, making them an ideal place to advertise your online store. And video ads allow you to catch people’s attention and generate a lot of interest compared to static image ads.
But unlike videos that are hosted on your site, you’ll need to pay for their placement. To ensure your content is noticed and make that investment worthwhile, these videos must have top-shelf production value.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg: The other types of videos you can produce for your store include how-to guides, product reviews, interviews, announcements and much more.
Video marketing, when done well, can be a good tool to grow your online store, serve your customers and build your community. And with the pandemic, it's a good way to reach users who aren't ready (or able) to step into strictly brick-and-mortar retail locations.
With the information covered in this article, you’ll have a better idea of where to set your budget whether you’re negotiating with an outside agency or setting up an in-house production.
Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.