Over $2.14 trillion dollars will be spent online in 2017. With this number steadily climbing each year, brands are constantly searching for ways to strengthen the online shopping experience and drive more sales. Brands that know how to leverage real customer photos to meet their business goals are seeing results. Also known as user-generated content or UGC for short, real customer photos and videos are 20% more influential on purchasing decisions than any other type of media. Why does user generated content marketing work? Because your customers prefer and trust visual content that comes from real people over content that comes from brands.
Here we offer 3 proven ways to use user generated content in your storefront to help your business increase online sales and encourage brand engagement.
1. Homepage Gallery
Your homepage is the epicenter of your website. With the average bounce rate on a website hovering between 56%-70%, it’s important to use all of the tools in your arsenal to inspire shoppers to keep clicking around. One way to do so is to display galleries of real customer photos on your homepage—this content has been shown to increase average purchase value by 6% and increase time on site by 123%. Authentic content is more likely to resonate with today’s shoppers. By giving browsers the ability to scroll through photos of their peers loving your products, they will connect with your brand in a more genuine manner and will be encouraged to keep exploring your site. One brand that does this exceptionally well is Re/Done Jeans. The brand tags the photos on their homepage with their featured products and includes a Direct Add-to-Cart link so that shoppers can purchase items while browsing customer photos. By creating a seamless browsing transition from the homepage to product pages, brands are able to make their products more discoverable and increase the time customers spend on their website.
2. PDP Galleries
For online browsers, who can’t touch or feel products like they would in a store, buying online rather than in-person can feel like a bit of risk. To mitigate this, consider using real customer photos or testimonials to build social proof for your products and give confidence to buyers.
Studies show that visual reviews on product pages lead to a 2x increase in conversion. Is it possible your shopper has doubts about how your product will fit or feel? Quay Australia uses UGC on product pages to show how their sunglasses look on different shaped faces. Tarte Cosmetics uses customer photos on their product pages to show how their products look on different skin tones. Product display pages can also be a good opportunity to show off different ways to use or style products. Providing more context for your products will inspire browsers to buy.
3. Inspirational Galleries
Showcasing customer photos through a separate inspirational gallery is one of the best ways to display how your customers are using your products post-purchase or to share social participation in a contest or campaign. One brand that does this exceptionally well is Charlotte Russe. The fast fashion company encourages shoppers to “shop the look” in its #CRItsOn gallery by featuring real customer photos of its “Charlotte Girls”. Inspiration galleries are a great mechanism for celebrating your customer community and highlighting brand evangelists. Charlotte Russe sees an average of 4,500 clicks per day on its customer photos, with 21% of those who click on a customer photo ending up on a product page. Consumers only need to see between 1 and 4 UGC reviews in order to be influenced to purchase. With a few well-placed UGC photos, you can help to expedite a purchase.
Needless to say, there are creative ways to increase ecommerce conversion rate with customer photos. Understanding how to properly leverage customer photos in your e-commerce storefront can make a significant difference in your bounce rate, conversion rates, and time on site. What other ways do you use customer photos to optimize your e-commerce site? Please share in the comments below.