Today’s brands have begun to draw attention to themselves, to loyal customers, employees and brand fans, allowing the content that these groups are fueling more and more of their marketing activities.
User-generated content (UGC) has been identified as one of the most interesting content out there. People like it because it comes from real people, it’s authentic, it’s more similar than polished tagged content, the list goes on.
Brands are increasingly taking advantage of this content strategy by representing UGC in their social feeds, on their websites, in ads and emails.
Consider these statistics:
When you look at the rapidly evolving world of online shopping, the lines began to blur between content and commerce. Online stores are increasingly pulling content from social media to their websites as social media channels roll out advanced brand features to create fully functional eCommerce stores within applications.
Although the competition in e-commerce is stronger than ever, brands currently have enough freedom to experiment and discover what engages consumers the most.
And as online experiences evolve rapidly, it’s an opportunity to try something new to stay ahead of the competition.
Enter the content that can be purchased
E-commerce brands that can provide the best and most average way to buy will inevitably be the ones that have the most engagement and sales. This is why brands strive to create buying opportunities wherever they can, which includes creating content (images, videos, blogs, etc.) that can be increasingly bought.
Experience store-bought content they can eliminate steps in the path of the traditional customer, reducing the chances of potential customers falling on the way to purchase.
At best, the content that can be purchased can ensure that consumers are just one or two clicks away from getting the product they want when it inspires them. It is an online purchase made fast, easy, flawless and interesting.
Take that step further and we begin to see how companies capitalize on the growing trend of UGC by making images of real people who can use or wear their products in the store.
Why UGC can be bought is the future of e-commerce
A recent report by DemandGen revealed that amazing 91% of customers they prefer visual and interactive content to traditional formats.
Providing compelling visual content, which consumers not only want to see more of, but are also more likely to engage with, is crucial to the success of e-commerce. Therefore, UGC is the next limit in the content that can be purchased.
In the last few decades, consumer interest in elegant, professionally produced brand content has declined, while the popularity of real and undecorated content on social media has grown.
Today, people not only consume but also create content that craves brands – in fact, a most consumers (56%) said users-generated photos and videos are the content they most want to see from brands.
UGC is the only type of content that can provide the visual social proof that online customers are looking for. Consumers cannot physically experience an item before buying it online, so the following are the best authentic images that can provide insight into how a product looks in real-world scenarios.
Given that online customers want more interactive experiences, it is only natural that the most influential content is not photos of perfect image products, but realistic images produced by real customers.
Go beyond social trade
As more and more consumers turn to e-commerce to meet their shopping needs, social media platforms are taking advantage of this demand. Social networks are increasingly investing in features that allow content to be commercialized.
It was called the ability of brands to promote and sell products through social media social trade, and it is an extremely powerful tool available to modern traders.
But that’s just one side of the coin for social buying.
While it has been shown that social evidence that can be purchased can be of great help in helping retailers reach customers on social media, the value of user content can (and should) extend beyond social channels. Extending content that can be purchased from independent platforms such as social networks and proprietary channels such as homepages, product pages, email addresses, and more, can help marketers create more consistent and engaging multi-channel experiences that allow people to buy without no matter where the customer’s trip is located.
Lush Cosmetics’ UGC experiences that can be purchased at the store
A great example of a brand that uses UGC that can be purchased outside of social media is Lush Cosmetics.
Lush introduced customers to their homepage with a UGC that can be purchased product pages, leading visitors directly from visual inspiration to relevant shopping sites. In just a month, that part of their home page had 1 million impressions – 333% increase from branded content in the gallery of their homepages.
Moreover, 2% of visitors launched an action at their UGC running Stackle after being presented with a “Buy Now” button.
As Sabine Schwirtz, former community manager at LUSH, explained:
“We found that people not only create content about products they like, but they are quickly convinced and make purchasing decisions based on other people’s UGCs.”
The project highlights the strength of UGC in the wider e-commerce journey.
At a time when digital competition has never been greater, injecting user-generated visuals into every customer touch point can help brands break through a noisy market by delivering authentic and effective content to distracted consumers.
In addition, the sheer abundance of these freely available visuals can potentially reduce content costs, while addressing one of the biggest challenges in content plaguing today’s marketers: producing enough visual material at a fast enough pace to meet the demands of modern marketing.
Creating UGC as the focal point of your purchased content can create more meaningful connections with your audience. It brings a higher level of relevance, inclusiveness and personalization for people looking for authentic shopping experiences and brings online reality – effectively guiding them from the point of inspiration to the point of purchase.