Four Reasons Why User Generated Content is a Must-Have

Shopping online can get complicated, especially when it comes to products or brands shoppers are unfamiliar with. Retailers who make the shopping experience as easy and seamless as possible are more likely to win new customers than ones who don’t. One of the most effective ways to create an overall easier shopping experience is by emphasizing user-generated content. Not only does UGC make the shopping experience easier for customers, it holds a handful of advantages for retailers as well.  

Keep reading for a few examples of how UGC helps supplement the buyer’s journey while helping retailers along the way. 

Makes it Easy to Include Customers in Marketing Efforts

When it comes to advertising and marketing, retailers benefit from not overlooking the role of customers. When retailers make customer content a central part of their marketing strategy, they’re able to capitalize off all the experiences that push a brand to the top of a customer’s mind. Let’s say for example, you’re on the market for a new computer. Without having much expertise in technology, you’re relying on the knowledge of other customers and online conversations. After some extensive research that led to all your questions being answered, you get set up with the work-from-home desktop that’s the envy of your friends and colleagues. 

Afterwards, you upload a photo of it onto your Instagram page, tag the retailer and leave a caption about how smooth and informative the path to making your purchase was. Next thing you know, when the retailer sends you their next marketing email, you see your post highlighted along with a handful of other social posts from happy shoppers with experiences like yours.   

The biggest advocates of a brand is its most loyal customers. By including their experiences in marketing outreach, retailers become more relatable than competitors who don’t collect user generated content. One of the biggest benefits of emphasizing user generated content collection is building trust. Studies show 60% of customers find content created by consumers more authentic than content created by brands. 

For retailers with a focus on building authenticity with new customers, user generated content is a must-have. UGC can help retailers appear more authentic to new customers by creating an outlet for customers to express what they loved about a product, what they think could improve about it, or something they have a question about that hopefully another customer or the retailer themselves can answer.  

Answers Customer Questions Quickly and Accurately

For a lot of customers there are a number of downsides that come with shopping online versus in store. One of the biggest is not being able to have questions answered by an expert before the point of purchase. With customer content like question and answers, it’s easy for customers and retailers alike to respond to frequently asked questions that could either make or break someone’s first time shopping with a retailer.  

Resources like photo reviews can provide answers to customer questions as well. Often enough, photos from fellow shoppers can answer questions written reviews can’t. For instance, could you imagine making a purchase for a new addition to an office or living room space without being able to see it beforehand? Giving customers all the information they’ll possibly need to make an informed decision is crucial for helping retailers build trust with new shoppers. 

Earning customer trust starts by providing transparency. When retailers engage with the photos and videos customers leave behind, it provides the opportunity for them to gain valuable feedback that could have a big impact on a shopper’s experience. Similarly, user generated content can have the same impact on retailers seeking areas of improvement. 

Helps Retailers Identify Customer Pain Points

Getting the feedback necessary for making meaningful adjustments can be a tough task for retailers to accomplish. User generated content helps fill that role for retailers in a handful of ways, especially when properly leveraged across social channels. Retailers who are active on social media gain from having access to the conversations customers are having about their brands from the palm of their hands.  

When the content being shared by customers leads those conversations to start trending in a negative direction, it may lead to a retailer to make some course corrections. Without a social media following, retailers are still capable of creating an avenue for customers to provide much needed feedback. By using a ratings and reviews suite that allows customers to upload photos while detailing their experience with a product, retailers learn about exactly where it is they need to improve. Another advantage is the ability for retailers to leverage positive experiences across social channels, which can help contribute to building a loyal following.  

With the right ratings and reviews suite, retailers can gain customer feedback with the same content that is being used to guide new customers along on their buying journey which could lead to more long-lasting relationships in the long-run. 

Makes it Easy for Customers to Make Smart Buying Decisions

With the amount of customers who rely on ratings and reviews increasing, it’s likely that any new shoppers who purchase from a retailer will only do so after discovering what other customers said about their shopping experience first. Let’s say you’re doing some online shopping. While deciding between two ecommerce retailers, you see that one website features relevant stories, great reviews and photos of happy customers, while the other only has brand messaging to offer. Which would you be more likely to buy from?  

There’s no better virtual sales pitch to a customer than the memorable experience of another customer. Retailers who prominently display the positive impression their customers were left with have a much better opportunity to win over new customers than their counterparts who don’t. Research shows that 94% of customers read written reviews when deciding whether to move forward with a purchase or not. 
 
Trying to determine where to start when it comes to constructing a plan for collecting user generated content might seem easier said than done, which is exactly where we come in.  To get started on creating your UGC strategy, schedule a time to talk with an expert today. 

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