Survey Finds People Are Creating the Content They Want to See on E-Commerce Sites
Retailers invest a lot of money into what they think consumers want to see — offering pristine professional photos and partnering with mega-influencers to promote their products. However, a new report by Stackla finds that what consumers most want to see from brands is the same real and relevant content they’re seeing and sharing on social media. Consumers expect brands to leverage the raw, unfiltered content of everyday people to deliver more authentic shopping experiences to them.
Consumers Want Authenticity
Among the 2,042 consumers surveyed, the majority (88 percent) say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support.
Across all verticals, retailers need to step up their authenticity game. The report found that most people (83 percent) believe retailers need to provide them with more authentic online shopping experiences.
Despite the projection that brands will spend more than $3 billion on influencer marketing in 2021, only 10 percent of consumers say influencer content resonates as authentic with them.
Clearly, there is a gap here between what consumers want and what brands are delivering. And consumers want to see more user-generated content (UGC). People are 3.1 times more likely to say UGC is authentic compared to brand-created content and 5.9 times more likely to say it's the most authentic compared to influencer content.
Brands That Make UGC a Part of Their E-Commerce Experience Are Rewarded by Shoppers
When asked, 72 percent of consumers said real customer photos and videos are the content they most want to see on e-commerce sites when making purchasing decisions. Furthermore, 80 percent said they’d be more likely to purchase from an e-commerce store if it had photos and videos from real customers.
Therein lies an opportunity for brands if they hope to grow online sales and leap ahead of the competition. Marketers can take advantage of UGC in the following ways to increase engagement and sales:
Display real customer photos on e-commerce pages.
From homepages to product detail pages, brands should display UGC on their e-commerce sites. This visual social proof offers inspiration while also driving discovery and sales.
Our report found nearly six in 10 consumers say they have left an e-commerce site without buying simply because it didn’t offer any UGC. The data speaks volumes: online shoppers want to see how products look in the real world on real customers, and not just models.
Make UGC images shoppable.
More than 70 percent of people say they’d be likely to purchase from an online store if the brand made it easy to click-to-purchase an item directly from a UGC image. Capitalize on the value your UGC offers by making it actionable on your website and in social ads. Not only will shoppable UGC keep your ad creative fresh and conversions high, but it will also help to shorten paths to purchase.
Use UGC to inspire and engage on social audiences.
Of those surveyed, 73 percent of Gen Z and 67 percent of Millennials say they’ve been inspired to purchase from a new brand after seeing social media images of that brand from other consumers. The more you mix UGC into your brand’s social feeds, the more likely people will be to engage with and buy from your brand.
UGC is not only the content people most like to engage with, but it’s also more cost-effective than influencer-related content and relatively easy to collect. Most people are willing to give brands free use of the content they create in exchange for the chance to be featured in a brand’s marketing. Across retail categories, over half of shoppers would be willing to grant a brand permission to use their photos and videos.
Consumers have declared UGC to be the most trusted, authentic and influential content when making purchasing decisions. The brands that fail to capitalize on making UGC part of their ongoing eCommerce marketing strategy could be missing out on new customers, brand advocates and content creators, and, as a result, long-term revenue growth.
Damien Mahoney is the CEO and co-founder of Stackla, an AI-powered user-generated content (UGC) platform and asset manager.