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A Complete Guide to User-Generated Content

It’s No Surprise That Today’s Consumers Are Seeking Out Opinions From Other Shoppers in Order to Make Better Purchasing Decisions. But What's the Next Best Thing for an Ecommerce Brand? User-Generated Content.

It’s no surprise that today’s consumers are seeking out opinions from other shoppers in order to make better purchasing decisions. It’s a tale as old as time set in the digital world: word of mouth. 

Getting a recommendation from a friend is one of the most influential forms of marketing. But what’s the next best thing for an e-commerce brand? User-generated content. 

What is User-Generated Content (UGC)? 

User-generated content, or UGC, is any type of content that’s created by unpaid contributors that promote your brand. This includes written reviews, photos, videos, and even audio that your customers or followers create and share across social and other digital platforms.

What is the Benefit of UGC?

Today’s shoppers are your new salespeople and UGC plays a key role in shoppers’ decision-making and purchasing habits. This content builds confidence and trust in your brand and products. In fact, our research found that 53% of shoppers said customer photos make them more confident in their purchase decision than professional brand photography. And even just a handful of reviews can drive up conversion rates and build trust.

It’s Authentic

User-generated content showcases how actual people use products in real-world settings. This creates authenticity for brands and allows them to promote products without being overly salesy.

It Increases Engagement

User-generated content is all about connecting with consumers, building community, and creating a conversation between customers and a brand. So, it’s no surprise that this type of content receives 28% higher engagement than typical brand posts.

It Drives Sales

Research shows that user-generated content is more likely to convert compared with brand-created content. In fact, companies experience an average increase of 29% in web conversions when their sites feature customer content.

It Provides Audience Insights

Consistently engaging with customers and analyzing the content they post about your brand allows you to better understand your audience. This enables brands to not only improve how they interact with customers but also make adjustments to products and services based on customer feedback.

3 Strategies to Collect More User-Generated Content for Your Brand

There are several ways to drum up new reviews ahead of the busy holiday season. But before you start collecting reviews, audit your product pages and identify any content gaps you may have. 

Also, take the time to analyze your existing review volume, as well as the recency of each product review. Less than half of consumers feel that a review older than three months is still relevant. 

Once you’ve landed on which products need more reviews or customer photos, you can implement one (or all) of these collection strategies.

1. Incentivize Shoppers with a Discount Code 

The opportunity to be featured on your company’s website or social media may be incentive enough for users to create content about your brand. But a contest, free product trial, giveaway, gamification marketing, or prize can accelerate submissions and sharing.

Incentivize review collection on your current products by offering past shoppers a discount in exchange for their reviews.

2. Offer Customers Free Product Samples

People who sample your product, and love it, are more likely to buy it, tell their friends, and even create shareable content about it. 

Launch a product sampling campaign to offer free products in exchange for a review. Not only can this help with new product launches and product development, but it will create some additional buzz for your brand.

3. Run a Social Media Campaign

It’s no surprise that people want to get in touch with their favorite brands on social media. In fact, 60% of millennials say brand loyalty influences their purchasing decisions.  

Meet your shoppers where they are by creating a social campaign to obtain visual content posted on Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms. Try adding a branded hashtag that consumers can tag when uploading their photos.

How to Implement User-Generated Content on Your Ecommerce Site

Social media is the obvious choice for sharing user-generated content. After all, it’s where people are already posting about and tagging your brand. But there are so many other ways to make use of great content.

Think of all the channels you’re using to engage with shoppers and consider sprinkling in some user-generated content to take your marketing to the next level and grow engagement and sales.

Product Pages

Displaying reviews and other types of customer content on a product page has been shown to improve conversions by up to 64%. Product pages sit at the end of the customer journey because they’re designed for conversions. But incorporating user-generated content on product pages helps liven up the page and helps customers make additional discoveries about how to use the product in their everyday life.

Another reason to integrate user-generated content on product pages is to answer customers’ questions about sizing and fit. Asking questions on product pages is part of the final stage of product evaluation and what customers do shortly before deciding whether or not to buy a product. Plus, seeing actual people wearing items can help consumers purchase the right size and reduce return rates.

Incorporating User-Generated Content for a Better Shopping Experience

In today’s e-commerce landscape, retailers have to do more than just sell their products. They have to inspire trust and confidence when making online purchasing decisions. And utilizing the voice of consumers is extremely powerful.

Leveraging ratings, reviews, consumer photos, and much more, can help to reassure shoppers that the product they’re considering will meet their needs. But, it can also address common questions and eliminate customer concerns. Incorporating customer content in all aspects of your marketing efforts, as well as within your merchandising strategy can quickly and easily get your top-rated products in front of shoppers, and ultimately drive more conversions. 

Looking for ways to leverage user-generated content to boost Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales? Check out this in-depth strategy guide with actionable insights for winning and keeping new customers this holiday season!