The holiday shopping season is the biggest revenue period of the year for product retailers. For many companies large and small, a great holiday season makes the year, or a poor one casts doubt on the company’s future and ability to retain customers and build future business. In the past, stores sent out mass mailings of catalogues (and many still do), put up large store displays, and relied on general traffic to the mall as sort of a physical “search engine” for new customers. In 2016, many potential customers rarely go to the mall, toss aside catalogues immediately, and do the majority of their shopping online. At the very least, many shoppers use the Internet to make decisions about which physical stores to visit for their gift giving needs. Product videos play an increasingly important role in driving in-person traffic and generating awareness about gift ideas, new products, and holiday deals.

A Google consumer survey found that 7 in 10 shoppers are completely undecided about which gifts to give important people in their lives when the holiday shopping season starts. With such a large number of people open minded to potential products for sale, every business wants to compete for their holiday dollars. For consumer electronics products, video is especially important as 68% of smartphone shoppers visit YouTube for ideas about which products to purchase. Even for apparel, though, the number is still 43%. Searches for “best” products increased 50% year over year, with consumers relying on product reviews to differentiate one product from another in a crowded marketplace.

Looking at some of the statistics, how can a business capitalize on video production to attract holiday shoppers? One key element is demonstrating value, because people who are shopping for gifts are not just looking for a reasonable price on products, but also trying to find the best gift. The “best” gift means one that has great reviews, great features, and stands apart from whatever else the consumer sees on the market. Holiday-themed videos can be a powerful sales tool promoting multiple products, like a gift-giving guide, or you could produce a video specifically about why one product is the perfect gift for a certain type of person (a dad, a friend, a relative, etc.).

Another option is a holiday branding video that is light on direct sales and heavy on sentiment with the goal of building brand loyalty. For instance, imagine a video for a product company where key company executives talk about their favorite gifts from childhood, or a special holiday memory where they were excited about a gift in the past. Each executive could then, at the end of the video, comment about how the company’s product brings excitement to consumers. What about the product makes it special? What feeling do you want consumers to have when receiving it? Who is the perfect gift receiver for your product? The key is to tap into people’s holiday spirit and showcase your company’s heart and passion for great service and great products.

Producing holiday videos for 2016 may be unrealistic now, but the next holiday shopping season is just around the corner. Many companies require early budgeting for corporate video production and want to plan everything well in advance, which means having an idea by the end of the year how 2017 will look from a marketing perspective. Taking a look at your current marketing objectives and initiatives, maybe holiday season 2016 is the perfect time to consider how you’ll prepare for the next shopping season. Video production usually takes about 6-8 weeks depending on the complexity (and can be shortened when necessary), so to have holiday videos ready by November 15, 2017, a company would want to start the process no later than mid-September.