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Insight of the Week: When a Product is Fun, Try Video First

With the growth of online shopping, a product for every need, whim, or desire is available through easy pay-click-and-ship interfaces. But how do consumers choose one product over another, especially when the product is less of a “need” or more of a “want”? That’s the question tackled by a new research study that examined how consumers viewed a product based on whether they saw it presented via an image or a video.
This week’s insight: When selling a fun product or service, go for video first.
Research study: “The Impact of Dynamic Presentation Format on Consumer Preferences for Hedonic Products and Services​“ by Anne L. Roggeveen, Dhruv Grewal, Claudia Townsend, and R. Krishnan, Journal of Marketing, In-Press. https://journals.ama.org/doi/10.1509/jm.13.0521
What they did: The research team tracked consumer preference based on whether the consumer viewed the product through still images or a video presentation. They repeated through this using so-called “hedonic” (or fun) products and so-called “utilitarian” (or necessary) products.
What they found: For products that the research team classified as “utilitarian”—i.e. needed goods or services—consumers that viewed those products on a video were more inclined to purchase them (and willing to pay a higher price) than those who viewed them in still images. However, the margin between two prices was relatively small.
For “hedonic” products, or recreational or luxury products or services, consumers displayed the same preference for video over static images. However, the margin was much larger—consumers who viewed the product on video were willing to pay almost $15 more for a product that they had seen on video versus the same product in a still image.
For the research team, this points out the strength of video as a tool for involving the customer more deeply in the product experience, as well as making the product more easily shared amongst friends on social media.

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