Learn how to harness UGC to elevate the online shopping experience, at speed and at scale.
UGC for eCommerce
- Skyrocket your sales with UGC
Get ready to learn all the benefits user-generated content can bring to your ecommerce store in this comprehensive guide for ecommerce marketers.
Already know what you are looking for? Use our this list of contents below to get there quick!
THE PROBLEM WITH ECOMMERCE WEBSITES
Imagine this. You are looking for a place to have a nice sit down meal. As you walk along a busy street, you are met by an enthusiastic waiter, who ushers you inside to their restaurant. The place looks great, the food smells wonderful, but there’s one thing missing, other customers. The chances are, you will probably be out of there as quickly as you entered! We as consumers are inherently cynical and we are always looking for trust signals, especially when paying for something we have never experienced before.
Clicking through an ad to land on an ecommerce website only to find zero evidence of other happy customers, is the ecommerce equivalent of the empty restaurant.
Now think about all of the thousands of dollars we as marketers spend driving consumers to our empty restaurant, yikes. Here lies a very real risk of serious advertising budget wastage. You might be fortunate enough to make enough sales month-on-month to keep things ticking over, but think of all that money you are leaving on the table by letting consumers bounce away! Ecommerce marketers need to instil trust in the products and services they are selling, especially at the point of purchase. The ecommerce store.
So what’s the solution?
Enter user-generated content from satisfied customers, or ‘UGC’ as it is more commonly known. This readily available gold dust has the power to transform the online shopper experience, turning browsers into buyers.
WHAT IS USER-GENERATED CONTENT (UGC)?
User-generated content refers to images, videos and text that has been produced by regular individuals. Read a Trustpilot review lately? That’s UGC! Perhaps you have posted a picture to Instagram of you in your brand new pair of Nikes? Congratulations, you’ve created some UGC!
User-generated content is a broad term. There is no end to the many formats and styles you can find on social media, thanks to the creativity of people sharing their experiences online.
When integrated into marketing, UGC provides extremely important trust signals to prospective customers. People are searching for the validation of their peers and of regular shoppers who have experienced your product or service.
Interested in the value UGC can bring to your general marketing strategy? We’ve created this user-generated content guide to help you integrate UGC into all your important channels, in addition to ecommerce.
Want to see what revelant UGC exists for your brand already?
5 REASONS WHY UGC IS SO EFFECTIVE FOR ECOMMERCE
1. People trust UGC more than any type of content - so why wouldn’t you use it?
Brand created content is great but when it comes to building trust, nothing compares to the power of UGC. A study from Nielsen found that 92% of people trust UGC, such as recommendations from family and friends, more than any other form of advertising.
With this in mind, combined with the rise in competition from other online shops, it has never been more important to include UGC as part of your content mix.
2. It’s readily available
Content marketing for ecommerce is a hungry beast. Want to win new customers and reduce return rates? Then you’ll need an abundance of great product imagery. Images that feature your products are incredibly important to the purchase consideration process. After all…
78% of online shoppers want photographs to bring products to life according to a Bigcommerce survey.
Every product in your catalogue requires a variety of imagery to instil confidence in your products, on each product detail page. Then there’s promotional imagery for homepages and social ads to consider too! Keeping your ecommerce store topped up with enough impactful imagery is no walk in the park.
Luckily for ecommerce marketers, UGC platforms provide an evergreen stream of content featuring your products and services being used by, or experienced by other consumers . Just add in your hashtags and watch that content pour in!
3. It engages and converts
Did you know that websites that feature UGC, benefit from a 29% higher conversion rate than those without it, according to Adweek. Imagine what adding some UGC to your ecommerce site could do to your conversion rate!
At Miappi, we have found that UGC has also lifted average order values as high as 4%. Now think about that number extrapolated across all your monthly visitors! Now we are talking.
In another study of our own client’s data, we found that visitors who engaged with UGC spent 90% longer shopping on site, than those who had not.
In summary, UGC has the power to engage your website visitors, to stop them from bouncing away, but even better than that, it will do wonders for your bottom line.
4. It’s free
Sourcing and creating great content for every single item in your product catalogue takes time and serious marketing budget. Setting up product photo shoots, hiring influences, gifting and creating branded content. If there’s one thing these all have in common, it is that they can be eye wateringly expensive.
By licensing authentic customer-generated images from social media, you have the ability to significantly reduce your content marketing spend.
5. UGC platform integrations make it easier than ever
UGC marketing has been big business for a while now. Before using UGC for ecommerce, brands have leveraged user-generated content platforms to republish authentic social media content to impactful website galleries and for tentpole campaigns. So what has changed in 2022?
Specialist UGC ecommerce platforms such as Miappi, have since developed apps and integrations for the leading ecommerce CMS providers.
This means it has never been easier to integrate UGC into an ecommerce store.
UGC platforms like Miappi are tailor made for the likes of Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. Once signed up for a licence, installing a shoppable gallery of engaging user-generated content can now take as little as 15 minutes.
HOW CAN UGC HELP ECOMMERCE? - PUTTING UGC TO WORK ACROSS YOUR STORE
By now, hopefully you will understand what makes UGC so potent when it comes to leveraging such content for marketing. It’s now time to dive into the plentiful ways you as an ecommerce marketer can implement these learnings, on your ecommerce website.
Let’s get started!
Shorten the path to purchase with shoppable UGC
You are standing on a train platform and see someone wearing the most beautiful winter coat, and it is getting chilly, but you are too shy to ask where it is from. That’s normal! You tell yourself you would buy it in a heartbeat, if only there was a way to buy it then and there? You were not in the market for a new coat, but it looked so good on someone else, that you now feel the urge to get something similar.
The online equivalent is seeing high quality imagery across social or a brand website, but not being able to:
A. Interact with the post and see what the product is
B. Click straight through to buy the product
Leave too much guess work for the consumer to do and they will bounce. Add too many clicks to the path to purchase and guess what? They will also bounce! With shoppable UGC, you can take full advantage of these impulsive moments when they occur and boost your conversion rates.
Depending on your product lines, impulse purchases may be a big part of your revenue. But if you are not utilising shoppable UGC, then the chances are that you are likely missing out on plenty more of these.
According to one study, 78.2% of British adults have admitted to impulsive online shopping. Another study has found that American consumers spend on average a whopping $314 each month on impulse purchases. This presents a huge opportunity for many online businesses.
Thanks to ecommerce and social commerce in particular, impulse buying is easier than ever.
In a few scrolls and a couple of clicks, you could be buying that beautiful winter coat you never knew you needed!
Shoppable UGC is the tool you need to help consumers discover your products and buy them without hesitation.
What is shoppable UGC?
Shoppable UGC is closely related to social commerce. Have you ever hovered over an influencer’s or brand’s Insta post to see a link to a product that is featured? This is what is known as shoppable Instagram, also commonly known as social commerce. Social commerce is by no means exclusive to Instagram, but this is where it all started.
The difference between shoppable UGC and social commerce is social commerce occurs when transactions happen on social media platforms, whereas shoppable UGC is when the transaction happens off platform. Social commerce is often facilitated by the social media platform’s own native tools “Shoppable Instagram” or “TikTok shopping” for example.
Traditionally, most consumer brands would make Influencer and their own brand created posts shoppable. However, here lies a missed opportunity. That is, taking UGC shared by regular customers and reposting that as shoppable UGC. Tap into content from your customers, the most authentic content there is, in order to have even more success with social commerce.
Consumers are out there, ready to spend, if they are met with something truly trustworthy, like UGC. Make sure your ecommerce business takes a slice of that pie, by capitalising on impulsive moments.oomments.
Boost consumer confidence - add UGC to product detail pages
An ecommerce product detail page (PDP) is the moment of truth when it comes to the purchase consideration process. This is where the sale hangs in the balance. OK, so this might not be the final step to the conversion, with the check-out still yet to come. But here lies our best chance as marketers to give it a final push.
The product detail page is often the landing page or main destination we send our prospects to when running display campaigns, and first impressions always matter.
Here the consumer expects to discover the price, read detailed information about the product and see high quality imagery. It makes complete sense that when buying online, imagery is crucial in representing the product’s look and feel, when it is impossible for the consumer to reach out and pick it up with their hands.
75% of online shoppers rely on product images to influence their purchase decisions.
It is likely that your website already features an ample amount of great product imagery. But have you ever wondered what the addition of customer images and videos could do to your conversion rates?
62% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product if they can see customer photos and videos first.
Integrate high impact UGC with your product pages, to prevent purchase paralysis.
Accelerate product discovery - Add UGC to homepages, category pages and more
You will be unsurprised to learn that UGC builds trust wherever you place it on your ecommerce website. Is there anything more effective than a website bursting with endorsements and happy customer faces? When it comes to UGC, you can never have enough.
Adding UGC to product detail pages helps to encourage a purchase decision that is already in motion, whereas UGC on other pages yields the power to inspire new purchases.
Add shoppable UGC galleries to category and homepages to lift your average order value to dizzying new heights.
The rapid growth of social commerce demonstrates just how effective social media posts can be, especially when it comes to inspiring impulsive purchase decisions. Shoppable UGC galleries on home pages allow ecommerce brands to:
– engage consumers with a “lookbook” experience
– demonstrate how loved their brand is
– demonstrate range of products
– inspire customers to buy products that they were not originally looking for
– reduce return rates by giving a ‘real-world’ demonstration of your product ‘in the wild’
This is your opportunity to get more conversions out of your existing traffic by using shoppable UGC galleries!
6 WAYS A UGC PLATFORM CAN HELP YOUR ECOMMERCE BUSINESS
Now that we have covered the “why”, it is time to get into the “how”. Whilst it’s possible to manually collect, get permission to use and integrate UGC with your ecommerce website, the chances are you are going to have a stressful time keeping this up. Here is where UGC platforms can help.
A user-generated content platform is a SAAS (software-as-a-service) tool that makes the job of collecting, obtaining consent for, and republishing high impact UGC a cinch.
UGC platforms leverage multiple social media APIs from the likes of Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, to pull in images, videos and text into one easy-to-manage feed within the platform dashboard.
From there, by making use of a UGC platform’s advanced features, marketers can achieve impressive results with the content they have discovered,. As touched on earlier in this piece, some of the most robust UGC platforms have evolved to offer features specifically designed for ecommerce.
Not all UGC platforms are equal, so be sure to choose once that aligns with your ecommerce needs!
Let’s take a look at the 5 fundamental jobs-to-be-done an ecommerce focussed UGC platform can take care of, when it comes to pairing UGC with ecommerce.
1. Curate and filter social content with ease
Being faced with a vast pool of UGC to sift through can be overwhelming. Having a brand name or branded hashtag that is widely used, can be both a blessing and curse for content and ecommerce marketers. If this is you, you can feel satisfied that your product and marketing is so effective, that customers are compelled to talk about you, a lot.
However, this comes with a challenge. The challenge of sifting through hundreds if not thousands of UGC posts, to find the best bits, without wasting hours of your precious time.
The best UGC platforms offer the ability to apply text rules and AI to your feed of content. Such features will help filter out unwanted content, leaving you with the most relevant pieces of UGC.
The result is that a task that would have taken hours and hours, suddenly takes a matter of minutes!
Advanced curation is paramount, when it comes to UGC for ecommerce. If you are considering pairing UGC with relevant product pages, then you’ll need a way to sort and organize your content by the products that are featured.
2. Collect directly uploaded content from consumers
Looking to generate UGC? Then look no further than direct upload campaigns.
A select few UGC ecommerce platforms like Miappi, provide a direct upload feature as part of your standard licence. Whilst UGC from social media steals the headlines, particularly as it is often readily available. Directly uploaded, first-party content is arguably just as powerful and comes with its own set of benefits.
A direct upload UGC campaign is driven by a unique call-to-action or a challenge.
During such a campaign, a brand will promote a challenge using social media (paid and organic) and or via its CRM. Customers that engage, will be sent to a landing page that will demonstrate what is required of them to partake in the challenge.
The most important element of the landing page and arguably the whole campaign is the public form that enables the public to participate. This is a customizable form that facilitates the submission of text and rich media. This form is connected to a UGC platform profile, so that the brand can view and moderate entries as they happen.
3. Install and synchronise your product catalogue of SKUs
Did you know that importing all of your product SKUs into a UGC platform can often be done at the click of a button?
UGC Platforms that are available as apps on ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, from where they can be installed with one click.
When this happens, details of your entire inventory are passed to your UGC platform, ready to be paired with your chosen UGC. Handpick your favourite pieces of UGC in the platform dashboard and match them with the products that are featured, to add shoppable calls-to-action. This is as easy as it gets when it comes to making shoppable content with a UGC platform!
UGC platform Miappi imports your full catalogue and allows you to link up to 5 products to one piece of content. This means you can share details for an entire outfit if you wanted to! You may also decide to use multiple linked products to demonstrate the product in different styles or colours.
4. Keep UGC rights-management, manageable
If you want to stay on the right side of privacy laws and show respect to your customers, then getting consent for the content you use for your ecommerce marketing is a must.
So how does UGC rights-management work for ecommerce? Well, the answer is the same as for any other marketing use case.
You should obtain the content creator’s permission before you do anything commercial with it. It is best practice to provide full details of how you intend to use the creator’s piece of content at the time of asking for their permission, leaving no room for ambiguity. Luckily for marketers, this can be done with ease, using a UGC platform. The once complex process of digital-rights-management can now be completed in a few simple steps.
1. Create a terms and condition page for your intended use case.
2. Add your tcs and cs to a message that can be copied and shared via social media.
3.Ask in private (direct messages) or via a Comment
4. Offer the simplest way possible for a creator to respond to your request. This is typically achieved by providing an “approve” and a “reject” set of options.
5. Record their responses on the platform.
Don’t make a mess of something as crucial as rights-management when it comes to UGC for ecommerce. Choose a platform that’s method of obtaining digital rights, is seamless and as a result, yields impressive consent rates.
5. Install and embed in minutes
Once you have obtained the rights to use your UGC, it’s time to place it where it can influence others, helping you boost consumer confidence and ultimately, close more sales. Ecommerce focussed UGC platforms like Miappi, enable you to add shoppable and dynamic UGC galleries on your product detail pages, home pages and category pages as standard.
Most UGC platforms will be available to install on ecommerce CMS app stores. This means you can add a gallery or “app block” from within their own page builder. However, most UGC platforms will not be available on every ecommerce CMS app store.
If you have found a UGC platform that does not possess an integration with your CMS, worry not. You can still embed a UGC gallery in a matter of minutes, using a small line of code.
To embed a shoppable UGC gallery to your ecommerce site, you simply need to copy a line of code, presented by your UGC platform, and add this to your chosen page.
6. Measure the impact with advanced analytics
Thanks to UGC platforms, there are countless ways you can measure the impact that your UGC is having on your ecommerce website. Whilst setting up your own events and reports using the likes of Google Analytics is possible, doing this yourself can take time and lead to you missing key insights that you might not have been able to get otherwise. After all, why wouldn’t you want all your UGC data in one place?
UGC platforms come with out-of-the-box analytics that provide you the ability to measure everything from top level engagement metrics such as dwell time on the page and engagements with UGC content, all the way to the resulting revenue.
Leverage a UGC platform to see how social galleries captivate your website visitors, driving your bounce rates down and you dwell times up across the board. Spot the uplift in revenue for those that engage with your UGC galleries versus those who do not.
Integrate a shoppable lookbook to your category and watch the average order value skyrocket, right from your UGC platform dashboard.
HOW DOES IT LOOK ON SHOPIFY?
UGC platform Miappi recently launched their own Miappi for Shopify app, purpose-built for enterprise ecommerce brands.
With Miappi for Shopify, you are able to
1. Import your entire product catalogue into your Miappi dashboard
2. Pair UGC with up to 5 SKUs, adding shoppable calls-to-action such as “Buy now” or “Shop it”
3. Add customizable UGC galleries to your product pages
4. Add customizable UGC galleries to your homepage or category pages
Syndicate UGC at speed and at scale
Content syndication for ecommerce is the process of distributing pre-approved collections of assets to different websites, or to retail partners. If you are a brand with multiple retail partners that are selling your products on your behalf, then you will want to syndicate the UGC that you curate, to their marketing channels too.
Why? Because this will help extend the impact of your UGC, giving your partners the ability to sell more of your product, by harnessing a feed of your curated content.
Here’s 3 more reasons why your business needs content syndication:
– greater control of your brand when co-marketing with retail partners
– ability to segment and distribute campaign specific collections
– more shoppable galleries = more data and actionable insights
UGC in paid advertising vs regular advertising for eCommerce
Looking for even more ways to make your UGC go further?
Why not extend the ROI of your UGC, by integrating customer-generated images into your paid advertising campaigns for your ecommerce store? Improve the performance of your campaigns by adding UGC powered creatives into the mix.
As long as you have obtained the right permissions, there’s nothing stopping you from repurposing that visual review as an advert, so that it can influence as many prospective customers as it possibly can.
Paid advertising channels, such as Instagram ads, are a tried and tested way to reach new audiences and win customers. As a result, brands are throwing more money at social media platforms every year. In 2022, brands in the US are predicted to spend $58.11 billion on Facebook ads. This is up a massive 15.5% YoY.
With so much resource going into creating assets and the on-platform ad spend, your margins are prone to getting squeezed. Don’t risk missing out of profit you could have had, because of ineffective content.
One solution to this challenge is to add high impact, authentic images from real customers in your paid advertising campaigns.
It’s time to put your best foot forward with UGC assets that are:
– 28% more unique – IAB
– 31% more memorable – IAB
– 50% more trusted than regular advertising
UGC can assist with your video creative needs too British Broadcaster ITV, uses Miappi to integrate UGC videos into paid advertising slots during prime time broadcasting. As a result, the UGC remakes of classic adverts, scored higher for recall than their original brand created versions, and higher than the industry average.
WHAT IS A LOOKBOOK PLATFORM?
A lookbook platform is also known as a UGC platform. A UGC platform provides the ability for brands to create highly engaging “lookbook” galleries that can be embedded anywhere on an ecommerce site.
A lookbook is simply another way to describe a shoppable UGC gallery.
Lookbooks have become synonymous with fashion brand websites, enabling consumers to browse multiple outfits and click through to buy the items in each “look”.
So in case you were in any doubt, rest assured that a UGC platform can handle all of your lookbook needs!
INJECTING UGC INTO A PERSONALIZED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
UGC and onsite personalisation
When you couple visual reviews with onsite personalization you can achieve some pretty amazing things. Imagine this -ou are browsing a retailer website looking for a new pair of trainers. You click through onto a product detail page for a pair of Nikes, but you are eventually put off by the price. As you continue to browse the rest of the website, you are met with a series of images that show other customers looking great, wearing that pair of Nikes! As a result, you feel a strong sense of FOMO forming within you and feel compelled to buy them.
This is just one example of how combining UGC and browser data can change the fate of a purchase decision.
Here are a few more ideas to get you started:
1. Display UGC that features a product that a website visitor clicked previously
2. Display UGC that features a similar product to one a customer bought previously
3. Display UGC from a category that a customer regular visits
By harnessing the power of a UGC and onsite personation integration, you have the ability to show relevant visual review at the right time and right place during the path-to-purchase.
UGC and email personalisation
89% of digital businesses are investing in personalization according to Forrester and there’s a good reason why.
Basic ecommerce personalization can lead to an impressive 15% uplift in sales!
Onsite personalisation platforms like Freshrelevance enable ecommerce brands to enhance the shopper experience, by providing dynamic content blocks that only show content that is relevant to the customer that is browsing. This is achieved through a combination of first-party CRM and or anonymous first-party cookie data.
The result is that shoppers are presented with an online experience that is tailor made for them, presenting products and offers that resonate. Not a single page view is wasted!
Thanks to partnerships such as Miappi and Freshrelevance, you can now inject UGC into personalized experiences, to further improve the shopper experience.
Combine authentic images from happy customers with a highly personalised path-to-purchase to boost your conversions and average order value!
Personalisation with UGC, doesn’t have to stop at your website. Tools like Miappi enable you to embed UGC galleries into CRM emails too.
Combine UGC embeds with customer behaviour data to achieve workflows such as displaying a gallery in a basket abandonment email, to showcase all of the happy customers who are loving the product that has been left behind.
Similarly, you might want to use a UGC gallery to encourage customers to purchase an item that compliments their recent purchase.
SUPER, WHAT DO I NEED TO START?
Ready to build trust and boost your ecommerce sales with shoppable social proof? Then it is time for you to sign-up to a UGC platform.
What can you expect on a UGC for ecommerce demo?
When requesting platform demos, be sure to provide as much detail about your use case before your first call.
Typically, UGC platform demo request forms will give you a chance to add “further details” to your initial submission. This gives your assigned UGC expert the best possible chance to tailor your first demo to your needs, saving you time and helping you get the most value out of the session. Curious to know how a UGC platform will integrate with your tech stack? Let us know what you are already using before the call, and we will be ready to help when it is time for your scheduled demo.
When booking a demo with Miappi, unlike other UGC platforms, you will get the opportunity to pick a time in our diary that suits you. Can’t find a time that works? Make sure you follow-up with an email or simply use our chat feature on the website to get in touch and we will do our best to accommodate.
On your demo call, you will:
– see the Miappi platform in action with a focus on your use case
– receive strategic advice from a UGC expert
– get the chance to have all your important questions answered
If you provide the hashtags and specific products or campaigns that you are most interested in before your appointment, a UGC expert will be able to prepopulate a profile with content that is relevant to you. This gives you the opportunity to get a taste of the content that customers are producing that mentions your brand. Often, this can spark a new use case or identify weak points in your existing UGC strategy.
Authentic customer-generated images and videos are just the thing you need to transform the online shopping experience, helping you get more products off of your ‘virtual’ shelves. We have explored just a few of the many ways that UGC can grow your brand. It is time to take full advantage of the UGC opportunity, by harnessing the power of a UGC platform built for ecommerce.
UGC platforms are a marketer’s best friend when it comes to incorporating rights-managed, shoppable content into ecommerce marketing.
AI powered technology is on hand to help you gain visibility of the content your customers are producing, and to monetize those influential assets by making them shoppable.
Don’t turn a blind eye to the voice of your most loyal, and most vocal customers. Harness earned media created by real customers to grow your average order value and win new business!
At Miappi, we combine our many years of expertise with intuitive Miappi Content, commerce and community suite of products, to help enterprise ecommerce brands realise the potential of their UGC. Book a demo and speak to us today, to learn how UGC for ecommerce can help set you apart from your competition.