When Allon Caidar created a platform to keep the rising numbers of Web video watchers engaged, he didn’t know he would soon create online TV channels for Jerome’s Furniture, Char-Broil, Tilly’s and other retailers.
Caidar simply wanted to create a better video experience for Internet users when he founded TVPage Inc., a local startup that enables marketers to create TV channels for their websites, Facebook, Twitter and other social sites by pulling in content hosted on YouTube and other channels.
What he created was a means for clients to integrate videos into a dashboard through an application programming interface, which is a way to get information and pass information to trusted partners. With it, a marketer can then access a library of videos collected from YouTube, such as advertising campaigns, add photos of products featured in the ads and embed the entire collection on its online store.
Consumers can view the videos on their desktops or mobile devices. And if they like what they see in a video, they can then click on a photo shown below, which directs them to a product page where they can buy it.
“Video in the online space is very competitive,” said Caidar, TVPage’s CEO. “We started out with the concept of a smart player that would be engaging for video online, but realized that for our technology to shine and to succeed, we had to focus on e-commerce.”
It was a smart move. Today, TVPage’s platform serves some 30 customers.
Keeping Viewers On-site to Shop
Because incorporating video into
e-commerce gets more complicated as more are involved, many marketers stream promotional videos on YouTube and hope that users will return to the company’s website to buy the products featured.
TVPage aims to avoid the situation in which e-customers who have been redirected to YouTube become distracted by — and click on — unrelated content, which is common, Caidar said. Handing a company a remote control that enables it to organize videos and drive potential customers to its website keeps visitors engaged and makes it easy for them to buy.
“We solved the problem of retention, which is huge in the e-commerce world,” Caidar said. “Companies sometimes have thousands of videos on YouTube, which is nicely organized, but the problem is that when you watch a video, you see a lot of content that has nothing to do with your brand. And then you lose the customer.”
Caidar recalled that when he explained the concept to Char-Broil’s marketers, they loved it right away. The Columbus, Georgia-based outdoor grill maker had long been streaming dozens of promotional videos on YouTube and used the complementary Magento e-commerce platform, which made it a perfect fit for TVPage’s technology. Char-Broil became TVPage’s first client.
“In the e-commerce world, we use different software platforms,” Caidar said. “Our target users have technology that complements ours and also use lots of videos.”
Today, Char-Broil’s TV channel streams a series of educational and promotional videos on its website.
Managing Content Made Easier
Similarly, Jerome’s Furniture, the large independent furniture retailer headquartered in Rancho Bernardo, has long relied on television advertising for its marketing and was an earlier adopter of video campaigns. When TVPage approached Jerome’s with a simple solution to create a more robust video experience for its online store, the retailer jumped at the opportunity, said Scott Perry, director of e-commerce at Jerome’s.
“We constantly produce commercials and make sure that our online player is up to date with the commercials people see on TV,” Perry said. “We had multiple videos before on our website, but managing and maintaining the page was cumbersome. TVPage makes it easy.”
Since Jerome’s started using TVPage to stream videos on its website earlier this year, the number of video watchers has doubled and sales have gone up, Perry said.
And while Jerome’s lacks a mechanism to track whether greater engagement alone has driven sales, Perry said more visitors are staying longer on the website, which is a plus.
TVPage charges clients a monthly subscription fee based on the number of videos involved: 10 videos cost $99 a month; 25 videos cost $249 a month; 100 videos cost $499; and a dashboard with an unlimited collection runs $1,199.
Caidar said the majority of TVPage’s clients are referrals.
He plans to use the upcoming International Retailer Convention and Exhibition conference, scheduled June 10-13 in Chicago, to ramp up the firm’s marketing efforts.
“We really want to create different relationships with different platform clients to get the word out,” Caidar said.