Out of all the advocate marketing solutions out there, user generated content (UGC) stands out as a no-brainer for the fashion industry. As this segment is highly visual and depends heavily on variables like size, fit, and quality, showing off the multitude of ways in which customers interact with apparel and accessories makes perfect sense. Here’s what you need to know about UGC for fashion.
UGC–which consists of ratings and reviews, questions and answers, and visual commerce–is a good way to engage with shoppers through interactive and genuine content created by consumers that’s easily accessible by millions of users online.. UGC adds value and credibility and piques people’s’ interest in your products. Integrating UGC with branded galleries, on product detail pages, and on checkout pages, results in a 5-7 % increase in conversion rate. Also, a 2% increase in the average order value can be achieved when UGC is directly incorporated on e-commerce product pages.
In addition to the above, businesses can delegate some of their brand building responsibilities to their loyal customers through UGC. Consumers are more interested in hearing the views of their peers than reading cleverly written sales messages, thus making users contribution to the content creation even more interesting.
Why is UGC such a strong strategy?
In terms of using UGC for fashion sites, we should look at a few reasons why it’s such a good fit for this sector.
- Fashion brand feedback : An automated and efficient feedback loop facilitates fashion brand’s growth. We all know that the velocity of word of mouth on the internet is incredibly rapid, so when UGC gets shared online it can speedily create a nearly self-sustaining loop.
- Mobile commerce: Fashion brands attract a higher percentage of mobile traffic than cumulative mobile e-commerce traffic. Burberry, for example, reported early this year that more than half of their traffic comes from mobile. Additionally, mobile content skews heavily towards photo and video content (hello, visual commerce).
- High percentage of millennials in most fashion audiences: Millennials love to engage with brands, look at others’ opinions before finalizing their purchases, and prefer co-creation in collaboration with brands. 84% of them say that UGC on company websites at least partially influences their purchases.
It boils down to the concepts of social proof and brand identity.
A prospective buyer is more likely to identify with the models and purchase the product when he sees real people in the displayed content. A Forrester Research study reveals that only 14% of U.S. consumers trust an ad created by a brand compared to 48% of users who trust the words, pictures, and videos created by other consumers. Keeping this statistic in mind, online fashion retailers should allow potential buyers to see the products on real people, i.e. an active and loyal consumer base.
Why do we like a particular brand or why do we shop our jackets only from a particular brand/maker? More often than not, the answer lies in the way the brand identifies with our personality. Thus, when a person is able to identify his/her style with a brand’s identity, he/she becomes an advocate for the company’s style, brand story, and voice.
How can brands effectively utilize UGC?
The way in which a brand wants to implement its contest depends upon its objectives. The more defined the objectives, the easier it is to design the program. Contests benefit the brands in the following ways:
- Saves content development team’s precious time on content creation
- Enhances customer engagement
- Extends trust and credibility to the brand
- Improves post purchase interaction between users and brands
Using ratings and reviews as word of mouth:
Ratings and reviews that are properly moderated and appropriated to the content can result in a traffic boost by attracting new visitors through long-tail search queries. User comments not only act towards SEO, but also provide additional valuable information to prospective customers by educating and guiding them through the product catalog. Ratings and reviews benefit the brands in the following ways:
- Boosting conversion rates
- Providing unique content helpful in SEO
- Providing ranking for long-tail queries
- Attracting higher traffic to the site
Embedding the UGC:
A great way to enhance engagement and interaction with customers is to embed the posts and content from the users directly on your website, in emails, and in ads. This significantly helps in attracting visitors’ attention and improving their ‘on-site’ time. The benefits of embedding UGC onto the website are:
- Enhanced user engagement
- Longer ‘on-site’ time
- Reduced bounce rate
- Promotion of brands on social media
In terms of using UGC in ads and emails…
- Facebook ads with UGC perform 23% better than ones without UGC
- Putting UGC in emails increases CTR by 1.7 times
- Retargeting ads with UGC have a 2.5x higher CTR
How can you run your own UGC campaign?
Implementing a UGC campaign is one of the most effective ways of building a brand, both in terms of spreading word of mouth and collecting high-quality content. Some of the best practices for running a UGC campaign are:
- Promoting your campaign over your own website and social profiles to gain traction. Don’t forget about signage in-store!
- Offering consumers a prize to encourage participation.
- Rewarding your customers for submitting content with loyalty points.
The following are some points to be considered when designing a UGC campaign for your fashion site:
- Matching your promotion type to your audience
- Requesting entries that you can use in your marketing campaigns
- Making participants deliver something of value in return guarantees you with content that you can use in your future marketing campaigns
- Eliminating the need for your customers to jump through unnecessary hoops in order to participate.
- Taking care of any legal issues
Remember, no matter how you decide to promote your campaign, incentivize contributions, display your content, or market using it, be sure that your UGC strategy reflects the unique viewpoints of your customers.
5 Robust Implementations and Uses of UGC for Fashion Sites
Frye, a purveyor of leather shoes and handbags, has a really clean visual commerce implementation on their mobile site. Their layout boldly shows their products in a new light without cluttering the screen.
Delia’s use of a visual commerce slider on its product pages adds an extra dimension of color and interest to a relatively standard page.
Vionic is a footwear brand that prides itself on both style and comfort, with orthopedic technology built into its shoes. Because customers look to Vionic to relieve their foot problems, the company has to have a review system that accurately conveys who well their shoes pass each shopper’s test.
We love how ASOS uses trend categories to make visual commerce browsing easier. Instead of being overwhelmed by seemingly unrelated images, users can follow a brand’s story.
Levi’s Instagram ad with UGC is a strong example of the brand’s vivacious and versatile nature, which is better illustrated by a real customer than by a staged photo shoot.
This post was written by Rajiv Kanekal