The Era of UGC is Prompting a New Wave of E-Commerce Evolution. Here’s How to Adapt Effectively
In a hyperconnected world, consumers are constantly being exposed to content from all angles. As a retailer, this can be an opportunity and a curse. On one hand, it’s easy to promote brand content across digital platforms, yet on the other, it can be incredibly difficult to stand out — especially as four in 10 consumers scroll directly past social ads. With an abundance of options, consumers are becoming increasingly picky with the content they choose to consume, and the popular choice is user-generated content (UGC).
As UGC has grown to be the preferred form of content for the average consumer, e-commerce infrastructure at large is evolving to accommodate it. A simple change in marketing tactics isn’t cutting it anymore to meet shoppers with the organic reviews they trust, and the convenience they prefer.
Making the content itself shoppable is exactly the direction we’ll see e-commerce infrastructure heading. Platforms are already rolling out similar concepts, as seen with TikTok Shop and Amazon Inspire. In-content shopping allows brands to reach consumers where they already want to be without disrupting the viewing experience. Furthermore, it provides an added layer of shopping convenience, shortens the path to purchase, and helps support content creators.
Organically Leveraging the Power of UGC
User-generated content has proven to be one of the most efficient ways to convert shoppers due to the high level of trust in peer reviews. In 2022, visitors who interacted with UGC in some way converted at a rate that was 102.4 percent higher than average. By making the content consumers already want to view and interact with shoppable, brands can begin capitalizing on this shift while also offering something in return — convenience. With seamlessly integrated shopping options, shoppable content removes the invasive feel of pop-ups and redirects, and allows brands to evolve more naturally into the content era.
Maximizing Scrolling Traffic
When brands spend money on advertisements, they’re hoping to generate visibility for their products and brand. However, there’s one big challenge with this: People hate ads! Of course they still remain an integral part of any marketing strategy, but with a substantial uptick in ad-blocking usage — 42 percent of all people use ad-blocker software — there are better ways to reach your target audience.
Now with scrollable media and short-form content, users are absorbing information at higher rates than ever. By adding an element of interactivity, in this case in-content shopping, consumers can choose to view a product that catches their eye and purchase it without ever leaving the platform or the content itself. By taking advantage of the immediate nature of scrolling and offering a faster checkout solution, conversion rates will skyrocket and brands can shorten the path to purchase.
Supporting the Creator Economy
Aside from boosting brand awareness and shopper convenience, in-content shopping allows for the broader growth of the creator economy — a billion-dollar industry, and growing. As UGC continues to grow as well, so will the number of content creators who brands are increasingly looking to for marketing support. With in-content shopping, creators and influencers can still organically review products without brand sponsorships, yet continue to monetize their content — supporting a new form of entrepreneurship in the digital era.
So, What’s Next?
E-commerce will continue to evolve to meet consumers where they want to be, which is currently on social platforms and through short-form videos. In-content shopping brings an interactive commerce element to the social experience in a way that enhances customer satisfaction and boosts trust. By turning passive video viewers into engaged buyers through the trusted content they love, brands can experience better conversion rates, greater visibility, and a natural path to evolving in the content era.
Randy Bapst is the CEO of AiBUY, a provider of in-content commerce solutions.
Related story: How Retailers Can Unleash the SEO Power of UGC
Randy Bapst is the CEO of AiBUY, in-content commerce solutions, where he leads through strategic global hiring acquisitions and uses his 30-year plus background in growing businesses across industries to propel AiBUY forward. Randy combines his business acumen with the ability to identify high-growth niches in emerging markets to launch and scale successful companies. His early career includes time in the U.S. Marine Corps where he was a crew chief on the Presidential Helicopter Marine One for Presidents Carter and Reagan. Randy also attended the MIT business executive school for data analytics.