eCommerce Insiders

Walmart Wins Holiday Content Marketing with Video

Walmart.

This is a name that invokes all sorts of polarizing, passionate discourse.

But, no matter how anyone feels about the behemoth brand from Bentonville, there’s one thing that they absolutely got right during the 2014 Q4 shopping season: They led the way with inviting, emotive, and thoughtful video content.

Yes, there were other brands who also took advantage of YouTube and Vimeo marketing, but Walmart’s approach is a study in strategic execution, allowing the brand to exploit multiple features of their turnkey shopping solution.

While the Walmart Holiday Shopping Hub (featured on YouTube) was initially rolled out for their Black Friday weekend, the Holiday Hub strategy is currently in play for their pre and post Christmas holiday shopping events.

Explore Walmart’s success, and learn a new strategy for harnessing video in your promotional efforts.

The Video Content Playbook

YouTube viewers are initially introduced to Walmart’s Holiday Shopping Hub as they patiently wait for their scheduled content to begin and resume during commercial breaks. Instead of being greeted with blaring, eardrum-bursting, desperate blasts of music, viewers are introduced to cheerful, soft music. The soundtrack is set to the rhythm of holiday bells that are at once familiar, yet relevant to modern taste.

Upon the sound of the last bell, viewers are treated to relaxing, comforting color schemes, such as those you’d find in a contemporary family kitchen, or living room. There are no signs of glaring red colors to be found. Viewers aren’t rewarded with a tension headache after being bombarded with flashing or blinking screen graphics, either.

After the viewer is calm and ready to receive the sales message, they are greeted by a shopping hub host who is best described as the suburban mom next door who you could find hanging out at the kitchen table or counter, indulging in a mug of coffee and friendly conversation with her neighborhood pals. She’s young enough to relate to wives and the mothers of children still living at home, yet her nature is stable and mature enough to respect her advice and recommendations.

After the video content has piqued the shopper’s interest, the message of the video converts viewers into buyers. Each video tackles a specific shopper concern, particularly concerns that are unique to the holiday season.

For example, viewers are exposed to interesting new holiday recipes that are easy to execute. The host not only explains how various dishes and desserts are made, but also performs a visual tutorial.

For viewers concerned with selecting the right gift, the content suggests specific toys, clothing items, and electronics.

There are also videos that speak to the viewer’s need for some peace and quiet amidst the excitement of the holiday season. Uplifting, inspirational books are promoted as a solution for those who needed to re-charge their minds and refresh their spirits.

After the content, the Holiday Hub host practically leads viewers by the hand, inviting them to visit the Walmart.com website, wherever applicable. Of course, the video content does such a marvelous job in priming viewers that surfing over to the online store almost feels like an organic response.

What You Can Gain from Walmart’s Success

The Walmart.com e-commerce site supplies turnkey solutions for shoppers for their holiday shopping needs, and beyond. While certain products suggested in the content of the videos (such as food products) need to be purchased inside of brick and mortar locations, many products can be purchased online, especially when inventory is out of stock at the brick and mortar locations.

Through video instruction and guidance, Walmart does a great job at facilitating shopping solutions throughout the year. The same model and platforms that worked for their Black Friday event will work for every shopping event in 2015.

Let’s use the recipe and cooking content as an example. Certainly, the viewer needs to visit a Walmart location in order to purchase dry and wet ingredients to make a featured cake. But, what if the brick and mortar location is out of baking pans?

What if the viewer wants a very specified type of baking pan, such as a wreath pan or a snowman pan for Christmas? Or, what if they’d like to buy a heart shaped pan, or a baking pan in the shape of the Easter Bunny?

They’ll have a much greater chance at finding their specialty items on the website. What’s more, they’re sure to finish their purchase once they’re on the site, because the video placed the idea of baking cakes in their minds.

While they’re online, shoppers often give into their temptation to purchase addition products on the site while searching for their baking tools, since the shopping site invites all sorts of impulse buying opportunities.

If nothing else, shoppers will definitely want to take advantage of exclusive online mark-downs and clearance items while they finishing their intended purchase.

So as anyone can see, the model is all about fun, education, and intuitive problem solving–these are all facets of great content marketing that’s actionable during any time of the year. Targeted, thoughtful video content does a wonderful job in directing traffic to retailers who operate exclusively in the e-commerce space.

In years past, Walmart’s brand has taken its share of lumps, due to a host of Black Friday PR nightmares across the country. This year, the brand not only got in front of their story, but they re-created their story.

Smart retailers will follow Walmart’s example by creating their own video marketing campaigns for the upcoming year’s quarterly shopping events.

Terri Scott

Terri is a content marketing storyteller and strategist. She teaches marketing and entrepreneurship through stories for marketers of all stripes. Her specialty is creating narrative and she writes essays and memoir in her spare time.

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