Holiday shopping over the last year challenged both retailers and customers to think outside of the box to create the holiday magic of years past. Since fears of the Coronavirus kept lots of shoppers from going into stores, it was up to retailers to bring stores to shoppers. Retailers who had a strategy for leveraging user-generated content had a much easier time delivering the personal touch that comes from in-store experiences than those that didn’t. User generated content was one of the defining trends of the past holiday shopping season.
Read the following to find out why it was so impactful on holiday shoppers and how retailers can gain from it moving forward.
Bringing the In-Store Shopping Experience Directly to Customers
With the pandemic taking away in-person holiday shopping opportunities, competition was mostly amongst online retailers. The retailers who were successful this holiday season likely created a plan that involved bringing the shopping experience directly to shoppers and engaging them using various mediums that are convenient for their core audience. When shoppers who frantically searched for a gift at the last minute were greeted on a retailer’s Instagram feed with photos or videos of fellow shoppers with the same product they’re considering buying it can have the same impact as overhearing happy shoppers checking out of a store with that product.
Additionally, UGC has a way of putting the minds of shoppers at ease when it comes to shopping with a new retailer or a product they may be unfamiliar with. It’s no secret that social media usage skyrocketed during the pandemic and continues to grow, so retailers benefit from engaging customers there whenever possible.
Showing Customers Content They Want to See, When and Where They Need it
While shopping for something online, how many times have you ventured over to the brand’s Instagram or Twitter page to find out more about a product? With high engagement on social media channels, retailers have an opportunity to meet customers where they’re most comfortable. To further highlight the importance of social media engagement is the importance of the collection of user generated content. Due to the pandemic, most holiday shoppers missed out on the opportunity to speak with fellow shoppers and store associates who ordinarily could have helped ease some of the concerns that go into making that special holiday purchase. One of the ways to bridge the gap between the in-store and online experience is through UGC.
Content from fellow shoppers helps other customers along their buying journey in ways that brands often can’t. Let’s say for example you did some holiday shopping for someone in your life who loves video games. Being mostly unfamiliar with them, you rely on conversations you see on Facebook and Twitter for real-time facts and insight about some brand-new gaming systems on the market. While doing research you begin seeing footage of one type of system giving users problems upon plugging them into the wall, while another appears to run perfectly fine. This gives you all the intel you need to make a purchase that makes for an unforgettable Christmas morning.
Clearly brands can’t fix problems a product has without knowing it has them, and that’s exactly where UGC comes into play. Retailers, along with customers benefit tremendously when customers share their experiences from the beginning of their buying journey through completion.
Helping Retailers Pinpoint Areas of Improvement
When Christmas morning arrived, there was no shortage of content being shared from happy recipients of all types of great gifts. On the other hand, there were still plenty of people who may not have been as thrilled with things they may have received. Although a retailer receiving a Christmas morning horror story on their product reviews page or social media channels about how their product ruined a customer’s holiday is certainly not ideal, it could help retailers improve where they least expected.
Especially during a time when it’s harder for customers to make in-person trips to a store where it may be easier to voice an opinion or concern, emphasizing UGC collection may be the best way for retailers to learn about product shortcomings for the foreseeable future. With the impact of user generated content over the holidays being bigger than anticipated, retailers who didn’t have a plan for incorporating it into their plans benefit from doing so sooner rather than later. One of the best building blocks of a strong user generated content strategy is a reliable ratings and review platform.
Why a Ratings and Reviews Solution is Key to an Impactful UGC Strategy
There are numerous benefits that come with relying on a trustworthy ratings and review platform for UGC collection. Some of the most impactful features of a full-service ratings and reviews suite include the ability for retailers to collect reviews containing multimedia, for customers to answer the questions of other customers and for retailers to syndicate reviews across channels where shoppers are most likely to research a new brand or product first. Although the holidays are over, UGC is an influential practice that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. To speak with an expert about collecting more UGC in 2021, schedule a demo today.