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User-Generated Content: Enabling Users in E-Commerce

E-commerce businesses need their customers not only to buy from them but also to introduce the brand to their friends and families. Importance of word of mouth is well-known. But what if the customers could share your brand online with everyone, even with the people they don’t know? What if they could share photos, videos or just their thought on websites? This is called User Generated Content (UGC).

Anything that is created by the users but not by the brand is user-generated content. Posting your Starbucks coffee on Instagram, taking an unboxing or review video of your new smartphone or the articles on Wikipedia, or just reviews on your product page… They are all examples of UGC.

But why is it so important for e-commerce businesses?

Starbucks User Generated Social Media Post

Free advertising!

What’s so great about UGC is that it is free and voluntary acts of users. People do want to stay trendy, so if you can create a trending event about sharing content on social media you immediately get tons of content. Coca-Cola’s Share A Coke campaign got many people to buy a coke with the name of either someone they know or their own. So suddenly the internet was full of photos of coke bottles. This was a great way of engaging people with the brand, getting them to associate the brand with fun, and personally, advertise the brand on their own social media channels. Result: free ads that generate even more purchases!

As people start sharing your campaigns voluntarily your brand will get introduced to many others. This creates a great opportunity to win new customers, and maybe convert some of the indecisive people into customers.

Customer Reviews

Also if you are a small e-commerce business free ads mean everything. Saving on resources, and getting known by people create a great opportunity for these companies to expand their businesses.

More trustable reviews

When we are looking for things online we usually check what others think first. These things can be movies, clothes, university courses, restaurants, you name it. Usually what happens is people don’t believe in what a company says, but they believe what other people who are similar to them have to say. According to a study, 85.57% of the participants said that they would very often read the reviews before purchase. So a good rating of the product or service becomes very important for both seller and the customers.

The impact of word of mouth is huge. With the UGC customers trust on the product if the reviews are good for it. The reviews are more reliable since the person who doesn’t belong to the company and who doesn’t get money will say what he or she thinks of the product. Other potential customers who see the comment will take it more seriously than what the company says about the item. A 2013 study showed that 79% of users trust reviews online as they would do with personal recommendations. The same study says 85% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. So even if you are a global company or a local one you should always care about the reviews of your products and brand.

Even though reviews are very helpful o e-commerce companies must pay special attention to the reviews. As the studies suggest reviews are very powerful in influencing potential customers. Thus, if there is a bad review it will change the way people think of your brand. So you should take the necessary actions to solve the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Engaging and Loyal Customers

As brands support UGC, people become more familiar with the brand. They start sharing and creating content for the brand. And the famous foot-in-the-door technique suggests that once they have done something for the brand they won’t hold back from doing more in the future.

Thanking for their comments, trying to figure out a solution if they have problems, sharing the photos they uploaded on Instagram, etc. would get them to have a positive experience with your brand. Eventually, it will get you loyal customers who enjoy creating content for your brand.

Encouraging user-generated content is definitely worth the effort for these three main reasons. Engaging customers with creating contents helps a business to get free, more trustworthy ads, and gain customer loyalty for the brand.

User-Generated Content helps e-commerce companies get more visitors. But what turns visitors into customers is having a competitive advantage. 

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