Captioning and Transcription for the E-Commerce Industry

February 22, 2023 BY REBECCA KLEIN

The Power of an Accessible Website: Practical Tips for Elevating Your E-Commerce Business [Free Webinar]

The e-commerce industry is booming, and video marketing is growing more relevant every day. Consumers love videos, so much that 54% indicated they want to see videos from their favorite brands. Video marketing can leave a lasting impression on your audience, and according to HubSpot, branded video content is the most memorable for consumers.

But what if we told you there’s a way to make your e-commerce video marketing even more powerful?

Accessible videos are an excellent way for e-commerce sites to reach a broader audience and improve user engagement. Not only do captions make e-commerce videos more accessible, but they can also improve brand recall, behavioral intent, and brand awareness. In this post, we’ll discuss the primary factors motivating e-commerce sites to caption content, common challenges brands face, and which features to look for in a captioning vendor.

Why should e-commerce sites caption videos?

Video marketing is a powerful tool in its own right, but it comes with even more potential when videos are accessible to all viewers. Let’s take a look at the top five reasons to caption e-commerce videos:


Did you know over 5% of the world’s population has some form of hearing loss? This means that more than 360 million people rely on captions to watch video content. When video content is inaccessible, this massive potential audience is excluded.

Additionally, 71% of people with disabilities report they will leave a website immediately if it’s not accessible. The same concept applies to video content—without captions, people with disabilities may stop watching.

People with hearing loss are consumers, too, and they want to support brands that recognize their legitimacy as people and customers. But D/deaf and hard of hearing communities are not the only ones who benefit from captions—the ability to see and hear video content simultaneously is helpful to people with learning disabilities, neurological disorders, and more. Captions ensure that you won’t miss out on engaging with any of these communities, and implementing accessible practices is always a good video marketing strategy.

Legal compliance

In UsableNet’s 2021 Report on Digital Accessibility Lawsuits, e-commerce websites were the most commonly cited in digital accessibility cases—making up 74% of total lawsuits. Brands such as Glossier, Nordstrom, and Warby Parker are among the many retailers that have been hit by a web accessibility lawsuit.Briefcase, legal scale, and document on pink background

Continuing a trend from recent years, litigators have increasingly focused on businesses that offer products or services online in addition to a physical location, such as fashion retailers with brick-and-mortar storefronts. However, fully online businesses also face litigation, as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) increasingly applies to online-only enterprises as places of public accommodations. For example, online-only companies such as Netflix and Amazon have both been sued under Title III of the ADA for not providing captions.

For videos to be accessible and ADA-compliant, they must include “auxiliary aids” such as captions and audio description. Although the ADA does not explicitly mention best practices for closed captioning, a growing body of organizations and government entities have adopted WCAG 2.0 Level AA as the acceptable standard when complying with the ADA.

The ADA applied if an e-commerce business has received a request to make videos accessible or produces the following videos:

  • Public-facing online video content
  • Employee training videos
  • Video tutorial for products
  • Video content for internal communication

Boost video SEO

More and more e-commerce sites are captioning and transcribing their video content for accessibility. Still, plenty of marketing benefits come with captions, such as boosting search engine optimization (SEO) and increasing site traffic.

Many e-commerce sites are online-only companies, so site traffic is a top priority since consumers can only interact with and buy products from their websites. And even for e-commerce sites that aren’t online-only, web traffic is essential for increasing brand awareness.

Because of the importance of web traffic, the e-commerce industry focuses on SEO to improve the visibility of websites by increasing their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). We can apply this traditional SEO strategy to video SEO, which increases the visibility of video marketing materials to increase brand awareness and site traffic. 

However, search engines can’t watch videos the same way humans do. That’s where captioning and transcription come in—search engine bots can “watch” a video by reading and indexing the captions or transcript, which gives them more information on your content and leads to higher rankings on search engine results pages.

Improve user experience

User experience is another factor that significantly impacts SEO and SERP ranking. While captions primarily help make videos accessible to those with disabilities, captions must be accurate. A video with inaccurate captions may leave viewers less than impressed, not to mention that error-ridden captions are not accessible. Inaccurate captions can create a negative viewing experience for your users and get your video marked as spam

Studies have also repeatedly shown that captions can improve audience focus and comprehension, such as the University of Iowa study that found that people can recall information better after seeing and hearing it. When viewers can engage more actively with video content, it not only improves the user experience, but it can also improve your brand recall, behavioral intent, and brand awareness.

However, e-commerce brands that share many videos on social media should consider their audience’s viewing environment and experience. A large portion of Internet traffic consists of video content, and the use of mobile phones means viewers can watch video in a variety of environments that may be sound-sensitive. Because of this, viewers do not appreciate when videos autoplay with sound. As a result, social media platforms have made silent auto-play the norm and typically include closed or open captions. Captions give viewers more flexibility to watch video content no matter their surroundings and allow the option of multi-tasking while watching videos.

Global audiences

E-commerce allows people from all over the world to access their favorite brands. Offering options that appeal to international audiences helps global consumers feel appreciated by e-commerce companies. What better way to show that appreciation than by speaking their language?

International e-commerce companies often include language preference settings that translate website content to a visitor’s preferred language. With this setting, a customer whose first language is Spanish can translate the web pages and browse their favorite e-commerce website easily in a more familiar way. We can apply this concept to video marketing.

Offering captions and translations, also called subtitles, makes video content available to more people around the world. Captions help those who speak English as another language better absorb video content, and translations deliver content to non-English speaking viewers in their primary language.

Captions also make translating video content easier. Once a video has been captioned, a service provider can use the caption file to translate the text into other languages. You can even do so for free on YouTube, but if you want to save time and increase accuracy, consider using a third-party vendor.

 Learn more about the power of an accessible e-commerce website 💻 

What challenges do e-commerce sites face?

Once e-commerce companies decide to caption and transcribe their video content, they may run into some challenges. Consider the following common hurdles for e-commerce, and look for captioning solutions that directly address your greatest challenges.


Finding the right captioning workflow is essential, but finding a solution that works with each e-commerce site’s specific publishing needs can be challenging. Every site is different: Videos are hosted on different online video platforms, are sometimes managed by multiple users, and are often organized in various ways. Though finding a solution that can help create an efficient captioning process may be challenging, some vendors will work with e-commerce brands to make captioning simple.


The cost of captioning and transcription ranges from vendor to vendor, but it can be difficult for e-commerce sites to find a solution that is both cost-friendly and high-quality. Too often, options with lower prices don’t have the level of accuracy that e-commerce brands need for accessibility, compliance, and SEO benefits. On the other hand, while caption quality should be a main priority, staying within budget is also crucial. e-commerce companies are looking for the “Goldilocks” of captioning vendors: the price and quality must be just right.

What can we do for you?

Perhaps you’re part of an e-commerce company looking to make its videos accessible. As a brand that cares about accessibility and wants to improve SEO and build brand awareness with cost-friendly and simple captioning and transcription solutions, what are your options?

3Play Media offers features that are just right for e-commerce sites. We address many of the needs expressed by companies in the e-commerce landscape.


Ready to streamline the captioning workflow? We provide integrations with various video platforms that offer a seamless captioning experience. With one-click solutions for most major video platforms, you can completely automate your captioning workflow. Learn more about our available integrations.

Competitive Pricing

We think that it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for accurate captions. With 3Play, e-commerce companies can know they’re getting a great price and product. Our advanced technology allows us to offer competitive prices, while our quality assurance measures ensure that our caption quality is always top-notch.

Access Player

As we previously mentioned, search engines can’t watch a video. This is one of the reasons why 3Play Media offers the Access Player, which can boost video SEO and drive more traffic to your videos. The Access Player enables you to publish fully accessible media playback to your website with no development effort.

The Access Player works with your existing media player of choice, integrating additional accessibility capabilities, such as closed captions, interactive transcripts, and audio description—all in the same interface. In addition to increased accessibility for your users, you’ll also get SEO benefits, making your content more discoverable.

As a publisher, you can create one accessible experience using a convenient user interface or programmatically publish accessible experiences across all of your content. The Access Player is essential for e-commerce sites hosting videos on their web pages or an online video platform.


One of the benefits of e-commerce brands is that their products are often available internationally, and both captions and transcripts can make e-commerce videos more accessible to an international audience via translation. 3Play Media offers translation for many different languages. Our translation services are seamlessly integrated with our captioning and transcription services, making it a breeze to translate your videos into almost any language.


3Play makes it a priority to provide our customers with top-notch captions and transcripts. In fact, we guarantee at least 99% accuracy and ensure that all caption and transcript files are ADA and WCAG-compliant.

The Power of an Accessible Website: Practical Tips for Elevating Your E-Commerce Business. Watch the webinar.

This post was originally published by Jaclyn Leduc on May 29, 2019. It has since been updated for accuracy, clarity, and freshness.

3Play Media logo

Subscribe to the Blog Digest

Sign up to receive our blog digest and other information on this topic. You can unsubscribe anytime.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.