Barnsley TV at Wishes of Cudworth

Chris Fox from greeting card shop, Wishes of Cudworth looks at how videos can promote your shop and create engaging online content…

What does the word video mean to you?

If you’re of certain age you may instantly think of the days of VHS. The warm, nostalgic haze of yesterday’s video shops, vans and tapes. 20 years ago, Gift Shop Hub might have even featured an article titled “Should your shop join the video rental revolution?”(The title may need fine-tuning – how about “Yes to VHS?”).

Online Videos

Still, trends and times change with younger readers more likely to answer “YouTube” or “Netflix” to our video question. Digital platforms that stream movies and television shows directly into our homes. No more trips to Blockbuster and browsing the shelves only to find that the latest Van Damme is out of stock. Gone are the days of lurid box artwork that made promises the film could never keep. Convenience and technology digitally erasing a once booming trade. In some ways like VHS, the greeting card industry has been challenged by new technology but now many shops are embracing it rather than running scared.

It’s a cliché but when taking about technological advances the Apollo moon landing is often used as a benchmark. By modern days standards, the computer power Nasa used in the Apollo spacecraft was very basic. We’re talking technology less powerful than a pocket calculator to get astronauts to the moon and back. Cameras, computers, smart phones and software are now integrated into our lives. What once was out of most people reach is now affordable and part of the mainstream. We carry mini super computers around in our jean pockets far more powerful than those early rocket ships. Phones that double as video editing suites and high definition cameras.

Film directors are using phones to shoot their movies and if iPhones are good enough for the Sundance film festive then they’re good enough for Wishes. I’ve spoke before how all our photography at the shop is shot using smart phones. The same can be said for our videos too. We already have the tools to shoot our own mini movie masterpieces.

Wishes of Cudworth Facebook Videos

Social Videos

In August 2017 Facebook gave users us the option to turn our business pages banners into a video. It well known that in recent years Facebook has begun to focus on video content. There has been a number of new video features added to Facebook over the last couple of years: Facebook live, video adverts, profile videos and most recently Facebook stories – a new feature created to take on Snapchat.

Let’s reverse a little and check out Facebook’s official statement on it’s new cover videos:

“By making cover video available, we want to help you create more engaging interaction and drive more rich experience for your audience by letting you spotlight your creative content in one of the most prominent space: your Page cover”

The buzz words here are “engaging”, “interaction” and “creative”. Which, whilst I apologise for the corporate jargon, are all worthy goals for your shop. We want to engage with our customers, interact with them daily and present ourselves in a creative way.

Facebook Videos

Whilst we’ve yet to put together a video banner for Wishes, we have dared to go live on Facebook numerous times, with our product demos and shop tours always proving popular. Julia, our shop’s owner is a former Castle tour guide so has a natural ease in front of the camera. Remember the shop is as much about the staff as the products, so videos are perfect to showcase the people behind the counter. The aim of every film is to tell a story and in some ways that is true of our own marketing too. We’re telling the story of our shop, with you and your customers the true stars of the show.

If you’re not ready for one-take videos then you can always record something on your phone in advance. One of the recent new additions in the shop are our Magic Butterflies by The Hand Crafted Card Company. This ingenious gift magically flies out of cards as they are opened. They really need to be seen in action to have their full impact. No matter your writing prowess sometimes a picture or video really is worth a thousand words. We even shot a video in slow motion to really capture the butterflies in full flight.

Let’s return to Facebook Stories: Focused around Facebook’s in-app camera this feature allows users to overlay fun filters to their content. Users can also add visual geolocation tags to their videos meaning that augmented reality may the next cross over fringe technology.

If your not too tech savvy then why contact a local community TV community? 
From amateur video clubs to more professional set ups, it’s worth exploring the option of working together. We were recently visited by Barnsley Local TV to film a video based on our Cudworth Bunny Trail. Featuring interviews with shop owners and close up of window displays it was a great showcase for the village

The Greeting Card Project

Finally I’d like to highlight another movie star. Jeremy Corner from greeting card publisher Blue Eyed Sun has been running the The Greeting Card Project over on YouTube this year. Over weekly videos Jeremy explores how sending more greeting cards improves his relationships and enhances his quality of life. A winning combination of Jeremy’s infectious enthusiasm and knowledge, its an inspiring watch which is must see digital TV.

Jeremy Corner and The Greeting Card Project

To quote American author Seth Godin “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell”. And there’s no better visual media for telling stories than video. I challenge you to pick up your phone and start telling the story of your own store. Your romantic hopes and small shop dreams. Staring the many wonderful characters that visit you each day. You’re box office gold, deserving a star on the greeting card walk of fame. Are you ready for your close up? Good, here we go… action!

The internet is a wonderful tool but can be scary if you don’t know how to make the best use of it. In this series of articles retailer Chris Fox, from Wishes Of Cudworth aim to pass on all the online tips he’s discovered so far to help independent retailers boost their bricks and mortar business in the digital age. This article was originally published in Greetings Today Magazine.