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Why Haul Videos Are Hot—and How They Can Help Your Business

September 14th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Have you ever seen a haul video? If not (and you’re not a teenage girl), don’t feel bad. Haul videos are amateur videos where young women (for the most part) sit in front of the camera and show off their recent clothing, accessories or cosmetics purchases, describing each item in detail and talking about the brand and where they got it.

Kind of like those “unboxing” videos that show people’s hands as they unpack their new iPhones, iPads or flatscreen TVs and describe the parts as they’re taking them out of the box, the appeal of haul videos is hard for me to understand (and I love to shop). But for the teens and young women who are their target audience, they’ve been spreading like wildfire for a couple years now.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is one of several media outlets that have recently reported on the trend of haul videos. According to stats cited by the Post-Gazette, surveys by Google and digital research firm Compete found that four in 10 of shoppers who watched haul videos said they visited stores or retail websites as a result. What’s more, 28 percent of those who use online video to look at clothing spent over $500 on apparel in the past six months. Finally, younger users (18 to 34) were over twice as likely as older consumers to use video when deciding where to make purchases, the study found.

How can a small apparel or cosmetics manufacturer, accessories designer or clothing or beauty retailer profit from haul videos? Unlike big retailers such as Forever 21, Sephora and Macy’s, you’re unlikely to accidentally benefit from a raft of customers putting your products up on their haul videos and driving other customers to your store in a craze to buy the same items. Here are some ideas:

1)    Create a YouTube channel for your business and encourage your customers to post videos about products they’ve bought from you.

2)    Get more posts by holding a contest or offering some small reward (such as a discount coupon or gift with purchase) for those who post videos.

3)    Use analytics software to track mentions of your products or store and see where they come from. If you can track them to haul videos, see if you can link to the videos on your website, promote them on social media or otherwise spread the word.

Some companies send their products to popular haul bloggers (you can find them on YouTube) asking them to review the products. So far, though, this trend is still in its infancy, since part of the appeal of haul videos is the amateur nature.

Overall, the best advice on haul videos is to keep an eye on them and watch as they develop—because your customers surely are.

Image by Flickr user egonzalesmarquez (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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