UGC in e-commerce marketing: 6 best practices

ugc e-commerce marketing how to guide for your retail business

People do not trust ads anymore. What do they trust, then? 

They trust the content that comes from real customers. Especially when it comes to making buying decisions, where 88% of buyers trust the recommendations of family and friends, above all other forms of advertising. 

Many brands have taken notice of this trend, and in fact, 87% of brands are sharing content produced by their customers to appear more authentic, build credibility, and drive more sales. So, if you don’t use user-generated content for your e-commerce business yet, it’s time to get started.

In this post, we explore why UGC is so important for e-commerce marketing and share best practices (+ examples) on collecting and utilising UGC to boost sales in your online webshop and physical store.

Why should your brand use UGC for e-commerce marketing?

Here are four key reasons why UGC marketing is important for your e-commerce brand: 

  1. Showcase your products in action 
  2. Boost customer engagement
  3. Get more inspirational content for your webshop
  4. Drive more conversions

1. Showcase your products in action

Brands might create close-to-perfect photos to showcase products in ads, and branded content, but with user-generated content, your customers help show off real-life use cases of products (for free). Moreover, showcasing products in action through UGC gives potential customers a better understanding of how your products can be used, increasing their confidence in purchasing.

2. Boost customer engagement 

User-generated content helps build customer engagement by encouraging customers to interact with your brand and share their experiences with others. A fantastic example would be Romantik Hotels, which encourages customers to share their vacation moments, experiences, and feedback with the branded hashtags #exploreromantik and #romantikhotels. This helps to create a sense of community, increase customer loyalty, and drive bookings.

romantik hotels user-generated content hashtag feed on website example

3. Get more inspirational content for your webshop

Content is vital to an e-commerce website, engaging visitors and converting leads into customers. However, a common challenge for marketers is consistently producing high-quality, relevant content. That’s where UGC comes to play. Specifically, UGC brings e-commerce marketers new, fresh, original, and valuable content for their webshops. 

4. Drive more conversions

Consumers look for trust signals while making online purchases, and UGC provides that perfectly with authentic social proof from real customers. Be it any form of user-generated content like reviews, ratings, images, or videos – all of it can attract and inspire potential customers to make purchase decisions. Don't let the website traffic you work so hard to build slip through your hands!

How can you get UGC for your e-commerce business? 

Now that you’ve learned why collecting UGC benefits your e-commerce marketing, you might wonder where to begin.

Here are three ways to collect more UGC:

  1. Leverage influencers 
  2. Encourage people to post about your brand organically
  3. Organise user-generated content campaigns

1. Leverage influencers

If anything, your best UGC will come from local micro-influencers — those with less than 100,000 followers. Data shows that the engagement rate of micro-influencers is nearly 60% greater than macro-influencers, which equates to more significant audience influence.

UGC galleries by Opus Art Supplies are a fabulous example of micro-influencers sharing their artwork on Instagram and via an upload on the website.

opus instagram feed on website

2. Encourage people to post about your brand organically

You can also ask customers to share content using your branded hashtag. For example, when you share UGC on Instagram, you can end the post caption with something like "Want us to share your photo? Tag your own post #yourbrandedhashtag for a chance to be featured on our account!".

3. Organise user-generated content campaigns

If you’re looking for an accessible and engaging way to acquire vast amounts of user content, running a UGC campaign should be at the top of your to-do list. Some ideas for your user-generated content campaign include: 

  • Asking customers to show how they are using your products in real-life. This tactic has been used by Worktop Express, an online worktop supplier. They regularly share images of how customers use their products for home design on their Instagram profile. A grid of authentic user-generated content is also embedded on their homepage to encourage website visitors to check their customers’ creations and learn more about their worktop products.
worktop express user-generated content feed on websites
  • Gathering customer testimonials via social media. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is one of the brands collecting customer testimonials from social media and showing them on websites. A social media feed with customer feedback and reviews helps them demonstrate the value of their products and services, build credibility, and drive conversions. 
  • Sharing new product ideas. This is a great way to let your followers flex their creative muscles and engage with your brand in a fun way that will help strengthen customer engagement and encourage social sharing of your brand. LEGO and the Natural History Museum (London) organised the #NHMLEGO campaign asking schoolkids to use their imagination and build their own LEGO Life Form that could survive four different environments. The entries are gathered together and displayed on the museum's website.
lego and the natural history museum joint user-generated content example

For more inspiration, check 8 examples of successful user-generated content campaigns.

6 best practices to use UGC in e-commerce marketing (with examples)

The question now is, how can you use user-generated content in your marketing campaigns? 

Here are the 6 best ways to utilise UGC for your e-commerce business.

  1. Embed a UGC feed on your eCommerce website
  2. Use UGC in social commerce platforms
  3. Display a Shoppable UGC Gallery on your online store website
  4. Add testimonials and UGC to your email campaigns
  5. Show customer testimonials & UGC in your physical store
  6. Share UGC on your social media accounts

1. Embed a UGC feed in your eCommerce website

KTM Bikes is one of many e-commerce brands that gathers and displays influencer marketing and hashtag campaign entries on the website to add social proof to the webshop, build trust, and encourage purchase decisions. The website visitor is welcomed with an inspiring image grid of happy customers enjoying the brand's products. 

ktm bikes influencer marketing and hashtag user-generated campaign feed on website

2. Use UGC for shoppable posts

UGC can create shoppable posts on various social shopping platforms. For example, Gap shares images from its customers on Instagram and tags relevant products in the posts. The brand also uses a product sticker to tag products in their Stories and Reels, making it easy for customers to shop directly from Instagram. 

gap user-generated content Instagram shopping posts stories reels example

3. Display a Shoppable UGC Gallery on your online store website

Besides using UGC on social commerce platforms to drive more conversions, many brands curate and make UGC shoppable on their websites, too. 

Sohome shows their favourite consumer-generated content on the 'Shop the look' element. Not only that, if you click any of the Instagram images and videos, you can view the tagged products attached to UGC. 

sohome shoppable ugc gallery on e-commerce website

4. Add testimonials and UGC to your email campaigns

Testimonials and UGC make your email campaigns more engaging and exciting. People are more likely to read and engage with content that includes real-life stories and experiences. By featuring positive social reviews and real-life stories from satisfied customers, you can also provide social proof, boost brand trust, and drive sales.

With Flockler, many brands successfully collect Google Reviews and user-generated content from IG, TikTok, YouTube, and more and display them in an email newsletter. You can create a social media feed block for your email newsletter and feature some of your best content and UGC in a few simple steps.

embed social media and ugc feed on email newsletter

5. Show customer reviews & UGC in your in-store displays

Showcasing visual customer reviews and user-generated content in your retail store helps to create a more engaging and interactive shopping experience for customers. This is because they get to see how other customers use and enjoy your products, which can inspire them to learn more and purchase. 

Various types of UGC can be shown on a retail store's digital screens, for example: 

  • Customer social reviews of your products from the existing customers
  • Google Reviews and ratings of your business
  • The latest (fashion) trends popular on social media channels
  • Entries from UGC contests that your brand is running, etc.
google reviews and ratings on a retail store digital screen example

6. Publish UGC on your social media accounts

Instagram is often the top platform but you should show UGC on all platforms. Here are some tips on how to effectively publish UGC on social media:

  • Requesting UGC rights: You can show public UGC without permission on websites, apps, and digital screens. But sometimes, you’d like to do more than display the original UGC content - and that’s when the customer’s explicit approval is needed. 

Requesting UGC rights with Flockler is straightforward and takes just a few minutes. After the creator grants approval, you can publish UGC images and videos on your brand’s social media accounts.

  • Giving credit: When reposting UGC, you should credit the original creator. Tag them in your post or caption and include relevant hashtags.
  • Using high-quality images: Make sure the UGC you publish is high-quality and visually appealing. This will make it more likely to be shared and engaged with by your followers.
  • Adding a personal touch: When posting UGC on your social media accounts, you should write a caption reflecting your brand's voice and values and add context to the UGC by explaining why you share it.

Flockler’s custom upload form is the right choice when you request rights outside Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). GoPro engages fans and influencers to capture their best moments with their products and submit compelling images and videos via a submission form. The best entries are shared on GoPro’s official Instagram account with the hashtag #GoProAwards.

gopro shares fan and influencer generated content on Instagram example

Furthermore, GoPro displays posts and videos made by customers and influencers in a beautiful stream on their GoPro Awards page.

gopro awards user generated content social wall on website

With Flockler, you can gather and display social media feeds from your favourite channels. See the full list of supported content types and sources

Flockler helps marketers like you to create social media feeds and display user-generated content on any digital service. Keep your audience engaged and drive sales.

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