Online video is playing at your local online retailer

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Three months from now, expect to see a lot more movement, literally, on your favorite retail sites. That's because smart retailers will be supplementing static thumbnails with product demonstration videos. You can, too.

Even if you don't have thousands of dollars to create a product-video library, you can still give consumers the video view that they increasingly expect.

But before I divulge how, let's discuss why.

Why do I say that video is coming really soon to a shopping cart near you? Well, YouTube, which didn't even exist two years ago, is now a Top 10 site. Consumers' computers have finally caught up with their moving-picture preferences and they expect you to catch up and serve them video everywhere they surf or shop.

The first phase of the video revolution, already under way, consists of retailers repurposing their television commercials to capture additional Internet eyeballs.

In the next phase, retailers will start using videos to capture additional product sales. A good harbinger of this is tech review site CNET.com. It features an extensive collection of video product reviews by type of device, manufacturer and model.

It's only a short matter of time before retailers start harnessing video in similar fashion, but unlike CNET, you probably don't have a production team at your disposal. You're going to have to get your video content the good old-fashioned way, by linking to it.

The most efficient way to offer relevant video for the products in your catalog and turn this medium into a valuable sales tool is by partnering with a video-search provider that can push the right clips to shoppers as they shop.

Video search, believe it or not, is a completely different animal than standard Web search, which relies on text to find and categorize site content. With video files, there is no text, making it harder to decipher what a video is about, who posted it and how relevant it is.

Companies that specialize in true, Internet-wide video search overcome these limitations with proprietary methods for finding and classifying video content. Partner with one that can embed video search directly into your product pages, supplying and pushing relevant clips to your shoppers, so they don't ever have to leave your site.

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