How To Harness User-Generated Content To Boost E-commerce Sales

May 15, 2024 Content Marketing 1 comment

User Generated Content E-Commerce

With over 26.5 million global e-commerce businesses in existence and counting, it takes some creativity to stick out from the crowd. The retail ecosystem is increasingly being driven by social platforms and the users who frequent them. With an abundance of e-commerce brands, it can be difficult to build trust during the small window of time you have to engage your audience.

Luckily, keying into social shopping trends can help. A whopping 92% of businesses report that user-generated content (UGC) aids brand awareness, and 87% say that UGC increases sales.

Rather than hearing solely from your brand about why they should buy your product, let your target audience hear from influencers, smaller creators, and everyday users like them. Learn how to harness UGC for e-commerce with the following insights.

Benefits of User-Generated Content

First impressions are crucial to the long-term success of your e-commerce business. Personalization can make potential customers feel seen and valued, leading to deeper connections and more long-term sales. UGC could be the first time that someone is hearing about your brand or product, and it is likely already tailored to their preferences if it’s popping up on their social media feed.

During first impressions and beyond, UGC facilitates social proof for your brand. You can tout the usefulness of your product all day long, but your audience needs evidence to support your claims. This often comes in the form of social proof, like influencers posting unpaid reviews showing the usability of your product. Remember that consumers are becoming more and more savvy about — and wary of — sponsored posts, so strive to encourage honest and real UGC.

Types of UGC

Among the changes your e-commerce brand needs to make, facilitating easy UGC is poised to be one of the most impactful to your brand perception and bottom line. Consider adding incentives and easy ways for users of your products to create:

  • Reviews;
  • Testimonials;
  • Social media posts;
  • Short-form videos;
  • Long-form videos;
  • Memes;
  • Blog posts.

You can engage in paid advertising with influencers to create content for your brand and post it on their platforms. This is a great way to tap into an established network of like-minded consumers. Just make sure that the influencer or creator you choose to work with genuinely enjoys your product and can provide an honest review. Don’t push them to only talk positively about your product or make any false claims, as this can quickly erode trust in them as well as your brand.

The ideal way to garner UGC content is organically. You want to create a brand or product so buzzworthy and useful that people want to create and share content around it of their own accord.

Practical Ways To Encourage Consumers To Make UGC

Effective social media marketing for retail includes captivating storytelling, niche appeal, and influencer buy-in. You want to build a community around your brand, providing your target audience with moments they will feel compelled to share on their social platforms. Consider some of the following to gently and strategically encourage consumers to make and post UGC of your brand:

  • Craft a unique e-commerce experience: Make a website with funny quips or cool graphics that practically beg consumers to take a screenshot of what they’re purchasing.
  • Post examples of viral or clever ways to use your product(s): Brainstorm ways to hop on trends — or start trends — with your products and post them on your main brand account or a personal account, urging users to try them for themselves and share the results.
  • Create an incentive: Offer a discount, entry in a sweepstakes, or shoutout on your social platforms if users make UGC.
  • Make it easy to participate: Consumers don’t like jumping through hoops. Make reviews easily accessible on your site or create an easy format product users can follow like posting a snapshot of them using the product with a designated hashtag.
  • Ask directly for feedback: In emails or social posts, you can ask consumers to give feedback that may be used as testimonials. This assures them that your brand cares about what they have to say, boosting loyalty.
  • Find successful UGC and harness it: Keep your eyes on what UGC is working the best for your brand and reach out to the users to ask them to continue making more. If there currently isn’t any UGC for your brand, check out what other similar brands are doing and take notes.

Encouraging UGC isn’t an exact science. It can be a long process of trial and error, but the end goal is always authenticity. Rather than forcing consumers to make content around your brand and products, gently push them in that direction. Create products and experiences that are content-worthy, and the UGC will naturally come.

Effectively Showcase UGC on E-commerce Platforms

Your e-commerce platforms can be significantly enhanced by adding UGC. It fosters authenticity, trust, and further engagement from your audience. Once you start seeing UGC pop up, start effectively highlighting it for optimal results. This includes curating the best, most honest UGC that aligns with your brand’s values and resonates with your audience.

E-commerce businesses can leverage AI for this curation and more. With AI-driven insights, you can segment customers based on interests and predict what they’ll want to see and purchase in the future. Machine learning and natural language processing can also analyze sentiment in customer reviews and comments. This will give you a solid overview of how your UGC is being presented to your audience, and you can choose positive reviews to showcase on your website.

When highlighting UGC on your website and social platforms, consider the following to make the content most effective:

  • Display UGC prominently on product pages, showcasing real customers using your product(s);
  • Create interactive galleries where users can explore photos and videos submitted by other customers;
  • Post congratulatory social content for contest winners and share your favorite UGC content with your audience;
  • Compile user stories with their permission in a blog post or social media video;
  • Include links to these testimonials and posts in email newsletters and campaigns.

Whether your e-commerce brand sells quirky home decor or t-shirts to benefit a cause, you are undoubtedly making a difference in the lives of your consumers. Finding content that expresses just how impactful your brand can be is the key to compelling other customers to engage with your business. Remember, UGC is a powerful tool for building an authentic brand image, as long as you harness it in ethical and transparent ways.

Ainsley Lawrence

BIO: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest in the United States. She enjoys writing about better living through education and technology. She is frequently lost in a mystery podcast.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.

One Comment

  1. I recently had the pleasure of reading your article titled “How To Harness User-Generated Content To Boost E-commerce Sales,” and I wanted to extend my sincerest appreciation for the enlightening perspectives you shared.
    Your comprehensive analysis of the role UGC plays in building trust and enhancing the user experience was particularly impactful.
    Thank you for contributing such a thoughtful and informative piece to the discourse on e-commerce. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

    Warm regards,

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