Successful ecommerce brands have been repositioning content created by their fans, followers and customers to drive sales and increase engagement over the last few years. What started off as an experimental marketing tactic, with many top brands creating separate micro-sites with a unique URLs, has now become a mainstream practice. Many, like IKEA from this September, are ditching their second sites and incorporating social content straight into their main ecommerce sites. Here we look at how three companies from different industries are using social content to enhance the ecommerce experience and how they are deepening their relationships with their consumers.
Holiday Club Resorts (a Finnish online travel site) collaborated with Flockler to incorporate UGC, such as Instagram pictures taken by their guests on holiday, alongside their traditional online content to boost engagement with their customers this year. Holiday Club Resorts invited its customers to upload pictures of themselves having fun whilst on holiday, asking them to tag images with a simple hashtag #holidayclub. The images that have been posted range from people having fun in the snow, on the ski slopes, taking part in the children’s clubs activities to pictures of drinks in the après ski bars. The holiday brand has added a “reserve from here” tag under each image so that it’s easy for friends, family and those in their social networks to click and book a holiday in the same destination. Enticing customers to share their holiday experiences on the main ecommerce site has boosted engagement with and brought customers closer to the product. Now at every touch point – the holiday company uses social proof to demonstrate how good/well liked each destination or resort they offer is.
IKEA has been innovating in the content marketing space in both Europe and the US for some time. Its content marketing strategy has been well documented over the last few years and for good reason. It has spearheaded the use of user generated content in all of its online and offline marketing material. IKEA’s Twitter feed is peppered with images of its customers showcasing its products in their own homes – which has encouraged engagement with loyal fans and rewarded them at the same time. The IKEA Live digital magazine, which published its final edition in August 2015, was packed full of contributions from its customers and regularly put them at the centre of its editorial – featuring real life customers in their own homes. Plus it had an added function that allowed its users to create their own scrapbooks, share picture with other users and make comments. In the US, its sister publication Share Space, focused on giving customers a platform and place to share their interiors ideas. Cleverly it allowed users to tag their pictures which linked back to the ecommerce site – driving traffic and increasing sales. IKEA has clearly seen the value of this kind of content and from September it will be incorporated into its main ecommerce site.
The Australian online fashion retailer is no stranger to using User Generated Content in its ecommerce site. It actively encourages its customers to post images of themselves wearing the garments that it sells on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with an associated hashtag such as #bmegyptvsgoddessioss for the Egypt VS Goddess Inside Out Skater Skirt. It then curates and carries on its main site. It does the same underneath all of its product pages – tying in user generated photos to individual products. This functionality helps customers get a sense of which items are most popular, as well as see how they look and can be styled and worn by a real person and not a model..