Things are feeling a little less festive these days. The cheer (and challenges) of the holiday season have passed. You may be riding high after beating your holiday goals, or struggling to find your motivation after a less-than-stellar season. Either way, it’s time to refresh and refocus.
Your shoppers aren’t going to make 2018 easy for you! They will, however, be willing to interact with you, as well as fellow shoppers, in ways that could make or break your 2018 goals.
Your 2018 planning should prioritize how you collect and feature user-generated content (UGC) throughout the purchase path. These three tactics each outline a trend to anticipate for 2018, as well as guidance on how you and your team can get started.
Prep a Promotional Pivot
Consumers will look beyond price and shipping and rely on UGC when making purchase decisions.
Consumers know they can click and tap their way to amazing deals. What influences and motivates consumers to shop and buy has evolved beyond price and free shipping. In fact, 81 percent of consumers will pay more for and wait longer to receive products that feature UGC such as ratings, reviews and photos submitted by customers.
In 2018, marketers will need to find the right balance between price, shipping and UGC. Consumers will expect to see, and will be motivated by, UGC throughout their shopping journey.
Fine-Tune Your Tone
Consumers will seek authentic shopping experiences that make personal connections.
Homepage, search, product detail page, cart, conversion … The typical purchase path has become stale for both consumers and marketers. In 2018, retailers and brands will need to humanize their brand voices, embrace a conversational tone and incorporate UGC into their marketing initiatives. Things are about to get personal!
Consumers rely on the written and visual elements of social networks to stay in touch with friends, family, news and the latest trends. This dialogue-driven dynamic will help marketers to connect with shoppers and customers in new and refreshing ways.
It’s a content-centric strategy that was a priority for marketers in 2017. Half of marketers (50 percent) reported content as their top strategy for differentiating their brand from the competition, outranking promotional strategies and data-driven tactics. In 2018, we will see this trend evolve into a top priority for retailers and brands.
Connecting Commerce and Conversions
Content throughout the customer journey will benefit both the marketer and consumer in unique ways.
Cart abandonment, product page abandonment, store abandonment … The commerce landscape is riddled with opportunities for shoppers to step off of the purchase path. In 2017, we saw many retailers and brands expand abandonment recovery strategies beyond the cart and singular-device shopping experiences.
Consumers now use multiple devices as they move between sites and stores. Leaving your product page or the shopping cart may just be a temporary transition in the shopping experience and not full-on abandonment.
In 2018, we will see retailers and brands launch more sophisticated abandonment recovery strategies. UGC will play a major role in communicating a value proposition for the products that were abandoned, as well as the benefits of buying from the specific retailer or brand.
UGC positively impacts purchase decisions for 90 percent of consumers, according to TurnTo’s study Hearing the Voice of the Consumer. UGC will be the secret ingredient for successful abandonment recovery strategies in 2018.
Jim Davidson is the director of research at TurnTo Networks, a customer content application suite including community Q&A, ratings and reviews, checkout comments, and visual reviews.
Related story: Holiday Hiatus: Finding Your UGC Inspiration for 2018