How to Leverage User-generated Content For eCommerce Success

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User-generated content can help boost your sales and conversions because of its authenticity. That’s why if you’re an eCommerce business, you need to take advantage of this type of content. This article explains what UGC is and why you need to leverage it. It details how you can gather and use UGC for eCommerce success.

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Even with rising popularity, eCommerce businesses still face challenges in getting and retaining customers.

High cart abandonment rate, low conversion rate, and lack of brand loyalty are some of the challenges eCommerce stores face. But there are some strategies you can use to boost your online store’s results.

Enter user-generated content (UGC).

Like word of mouth recommendations, UGC eCommerce helps boost brand loyalty and enhances conversion rate. In this article, you’ll learn how to gather and use UGC for eCommerce success.

But first:

What is user-generated content?

Also called consumer-generated content, user-generated content is any brand-specific content created and posted online by real customers. The content comes at no cost to the brand. The contributor is also not an official representative of the brand.

UGC can be visual content like images and videos, or written reviews and testimonials. It can be posted on social platforms or any other online channel. Around 85% of people say that UGC influences them more than a brand’s own content. This makes user-generated content an essential part of any brand’s marketing strategy.

UGC eCommerce is effective because its authentic content. In fact, 79% of consumers say consumer-generated content highly impacts their purchase decisions. So, UGC essentially helps increase conversion rates and sales.

It’s important to note that UGC is different from sponsored content. Sponsored content is what you get when a brand pays an influencer to use their products and post about their experience. This transactional agreement needs to be clearly disclosed to the audience, as shown in the example below.


Another difference is this: UGC is shared by regular people while sponsored content is posted by pro content creators. Most brands partner with influencers with a large following to quickly reach their target audience. However, consumer-generated content is considered more credible because there are no incentives or strings attached.

With UGC for eCommerce, online stores can show the products they sell in action on social platforms and other channels. Customers get to see real-life use cases and how they can benefit from the products. This content is considered the new form of word-of-mouth recommendation. It is shareable, relatable, and, therefore, easy to go viral.

4 strategies for gathering and using UGC for eCommerce success

There are strategies you can follow to collect and use UGC for your eCommerce store. Check out these four:

1. Ask your customers for reviews via email

You can collect reviews simply by asking your customers directly for them via email. Many customers will be more than willing to rate you especially if they had a positive experience with your brand. Just make sure you personalise your email. When the message is personalised, emails have an average open rate of 18.8%.

Here’s an example of a personalised email that asks for a review.

Commerce Guru
Commerce Guru

The timing for these requests is key to success as well. If you offer products your buyers receive immediately (digital products, perhaps), you can send the review request right after the purchase. But if you’re selling physical products that require delivery, you have to wait until the buyer receives them.


Research by Loox found that you can collect the most reviews when you send your emails one or three days after the delivery.

You can offer your email subscribers incentives for leaving these types of UGC. Here are some types of incentives you can offer:

Loyalty points - These work best when you want to grow a customer base loyal to your brand long-term. For example, customers can earn 10 points for every product review they send to you.

Discounts - Grant your customers X% off on their next purchase if they leave a review. This will also encourage them to make another purchase from your store.

Cashbacks - If you’re looking for a great response rate, cashbacks will work best for you. The more work it takes to create a review, the more the cashback incentive amount should be.

If you opt for this strategy, make sure, though, that you emphasise you’re merely incentivising the act of writing a review for you. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether these are positive reviews or negative ones. They’ll get their incentive anyway.

Why is this important? Well, we already know UGC eCommerce like reviews can influence purchasing decisions positively because real people create them with no strings attached. So, what do you think will happen if you offer incentives to customers who write only something POSITIVE about your brand? Potential customers will think these buyers wrote them, not because they’re really satisfied with your product, but because they wanted to get their hands on that reward.

2. Run UGC campaigns

You can gather UGC for eCommerce stores by leveraging social media, too.

For instance, why not run a user-generated content campaign? Start by deciding on the campaign's requirements and the incentives you’ll offer. A pro tip is to have several prizes instead of just one grand prize. This will make it more interesting for entrants and get more people to participate.

The next step is to share your campaign with your followers on social media. Here’s an example of a UGC campaign post from Bloomscape. It’s easy to understand. The instructions for joining are detailed, too:


Consider engaging influencers to get the word out about the campaign. Use email finder software to get the contact information of major creators. You can then reach out to them with personalised messages for collaboration opportunities.

You should also create a unique or branded hashtag for participants to use in the captions of their posts. This will boost your brand reach and engagement.

Once you have all that UGC coming, make sure you share some of that user-generated content on your own social media channels. See how Fossil does it:


Just don’t forget to tag the original content creator and attribute the UGC to them. You don’t want to be accused of stealing other people’s work.

Don’t know how to write good captions? You can use generative AI tools like Ask Writer to help you. These tools can also help ensure the captions stay on-brand.

3. Display customer testimonials on your homepage

Customer testimonials are a powerful form of social proof. They highlight the customer’s experience when using your products. Unlike a review, which can be both positive and negative, testimonials are necessarily positive. In other words, they always showcase how your products helped buyers reach their goals.

That’s why it’s a great idea to incorporate this type of user generated content in eCommerce into your homepage. Nine out of ten people say they trust what a customer says about a company more than what the company says itself. That means, if you include this form of content in the main page of your site, you can convince even the most hesitant website visitor that your products are the real deal. Thanks to this type of UGC in eCommerce, they stay longer on your website, and may even take your desired action. That action might include making a purchase.

Dollar Shave Club, for instance, displays its customer testimonials prominently on its homepage:

Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club

Want to make your testimonials look even more authentic? Why not include pictures that showcase how your products work as part of your user generated content in eCommerce? Illuminate, an eCommerce company that sells motion-sensored lights, for instance, has pictures of their products when used in their customers’ spaces alongside written testimonials:


You don’t have to limit yourself to written testimonials when it comes to UGC in eCommerce. Video testimonials work exceptionally well, too. A whopping 79% of people watch video testimonials to learn more about a product or service. Of that figure, a staggering 77% say the video testimonials played a role in making them decide to make a purchase.

4. Feature social UGC or reviews in your product page

Your product page is probably the last page a potential buyer sees before making a purchase. So, don’t just include your product images there. Consider incorporating UGC, too. Who knows? It might even be the last nudge that person needs to take that final action of buying.

A social media aggregator tool like Pixlee, Taggbox, or Tint can help you add your favourite UGC posts to your product page. To get your written reviews, the easiest way is to just enable them on your site. If you decide to do this last one, make sure, though, that your product is really high-quality. Customers can leave negative reviews there, too, after all.

CLUSE, which sells everything from watches to backpacks, incorporates both reviews and UGC social media posts into its product pages.

Click on a product page, scroll down, and you’ll find the customer reviews first. The placement works because the reviews immediately address a common concern of any potential buyer: that the product isn’t really worth their money.


Scroll a bit more and you’ll find a beautiful gallery of customer photos. Site visitors can see the CLUSE product in action:


At this point, CLUSE tries to address a second buyer’s concern with the social media posts created by its loyal customers: that the product, while of excellent quality, won’t look good on them.

So, after seeing all that user generated content in eCommerce in the correct order, what does the visitor end up doing? They end up buying the product. Genius, right?

In closing

User-generated content, also called consumer-generated content, is any brand-specific content created and posted online by happy customers and other contributors. It comes at no cost to the brand.

To gather and use UGC for eCommerce, ask existing customers to give you reviews and testimonials via email. You can run UGC campaigns from time to time as well. Displaying customer testimonials on your homepage is an excellent idea, too. To leverage the power of social proof, why not include UGC social media posts or reviews in your product page?

With UGC in eCommerce, you won’t just boost your conversions and sales. You’ll make your customers feel appreciated and recognised. The result of all of this? ECommerce success!

Author Bio

David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he's not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.

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