Everyone wants to create better videos to earn more watch time. So what can we learn from an in-store shopping experience to make videos better?

I’ve never worked in retail but I know from many trips to supermarkets that a lot of research and psychology goes into shop floor planning.

And so that customers buy more stuff!

Last weekend I visited an outdoor store that sells clothes, tents, footwear as well as many other gadgets and high-end gizmos such as GPS trackers and sports watches.

When you enter the shop you pass the tills and then you’re in the clothes sections split into two areas for men and women. And the first thing you see in the men’s section is a display for North Face T-Shirts.

North Face T-shirts are popular; they likely have a good margin for the store and an easy impulse buy so they deserve the extra promotion to be noticed.

Then you’re led on a journey through more clothes, coats, fleeces – because if you need a T-shirt you may need other clothes too right?

And then you have more options forking your path; left for bags or right for tents. The experience is simple and frictionless. There aren’t too many category options to become overwhelming and steering a direction through the store happens almost subconsciously.

Eventually, you end up at the back of the store eyeing up the deals on special offer. You find yourself trying to justify buying a collapsible aluminum picnic table and barbeque unit just because they are 50% off.

Finally, you decide that you don’t really need another rucksack and a GPS watch either so you head back the way you came to the exit.

But there it is again, the display of North Face T-shirts. It’s as clear to see exiting the store as entering it.

The shop made it is clear to see their best seller in both directions and let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to convince a man to buy another T-shirt, does it?

North Face T-shirts… and they’re on offer!

If you haven’t figured out how this whole experience is relevant to good video design then let me explain.

Every video needs a hook to keep viewers watching. Just like a shop needs an enticing offer to suck customers further into the store.

The hook for the store is the North Face special offer. So shoppers buy some or at least stay in the store for longer.

For video, it’s telling the viewer exactly what your video is about in the first few seconds, so they’ll continue to watch for another few seconds.

You can only extend watch time of videos by constantly drip-feeding more relevant information to the audience so you keep their attention. Just like an in-store experience, visitors have to be led on a journey that makes sense and is logical and constantly stimulating.

The further visitors make it through the store (or your video) the more you can ask of them because they’ve shown an interest in your content. You have their attention now and they’re softened to the idea of finding out more (to watch another video in your series to answer more questions) or buying something from the 50% off deals.

Leaving the store is the last stage of the in-store experience. If you’re not already taking something to till then this is the shop’s last chance of making a sale, which is why they want you to see their North Face special offer again.

This is equivalent to the call to action of your video. You repeat the important actionable content.

It’s what you want your audience to do because that’s the whole purpose of your video.

Hey! This is important and requires your attention again! The sale ends this weekend!

Video is powerful, but only when it’s designed in the right way. Moving pictures isn’t enough to entertain or hold attention for long enough anymore, only content can do that when it’s crafted in the right way.

If you want your videos to perform better and give a positive ROI you need to hold their attention and give your audience the information they want in a logical and effortless way.

So next time you’re creating videos, don’t underestimate the importance of planning your content to provide your viewers with the best viewing experience.