Sometimes the best ideas are so obvious that you can miss them altogether.
There I am, surfing the Website of Tiger Direct, one of my favourite computer and gadget retailers, when I spot something I've never seen before on a retailer's Website: an embedded video link from something called "TigerTV."
I had been looking at the product detail page for a GPS unit, and this page had all the usual things one would hope to see, including detailed specs, lots of product photos, plus candid customer reviews.
But there, smack-dab in the middle of the page, was a link to a YouTube-hosted video about the GPS unit.
What the heck, I figured, I'll click on the video link and watch a bit of it.
Seven minutes later(!) I realized I'd just watched what was essentially an infomercial for the GPS unit. And you know what? I actually found it helpful. Even though the video was produced on a shoestring and the host was a little over-the-top (OK, a lot over-the-top), I still learned more about the features and benefits of the GPS unit in those seven minutes than I did spending twenty or more minutes reading the written content on the product page.
Why doesn't every online retailer do this? Or at least do this for those 'complicated' products that require that little extra merchandising effort.
Don't say it's "expensive" because you can churn out infomercial-quality videos like the TigerTV one for very little budget. And since Tiger Direct is using YouTube to host and stream the videos, there are no additional storage and bandwidth charges.
Such a smart idea ... and so obvious in hindsight. Yet I'd never seen a retailer do this before. Have you?