The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge shift in different industry trends. More people at home meant a boom in online shopping and a shift in buying habits. Over the last 12+ months, we have seen an all-time high for time spent on social networks and online shopping. But the question on everyone’s mind is, are these trends here to stay?
The short answer for eCommerce is, yes. But how do you cut through the noise with all of your competitors jumping on the online shopping bandwagon? How do you grab consumers attention through the hundreds of businesses pouring onto our Instagram & Facebook newsfeeds?
A recent report by Stackla showed that 83% of consumers are seeking more authentic online shopping experiences. We are all aware of the disadvantage that online shopping presents – you can’t try on that top, feel the softness of that mattress or see how that piece of jewellery looks on. The solution? User-generated content (UGC).
79% of people say user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions, with 80% of consumers saying they’d be more likely to purchase a product from an online store if its website had photos and videos from real customers.
Fancy high-end marketing campaigns aren’t going to cut through your consumer’s newsfeeds anymore. In a world of photoshop and editing, people want real-life, raw examples of your products. Whether it’s a video review testimonial or photos from customers wearing/using your products, it needs to be a part of your ongoing advertising and social media marketing strategy.
How does one get that gold mine of user-generated content? Some products are just so well-loved that customers will do the talking and sharing for you! On the other hand, they may need a little push in the right direction. A loyalty reward program is a good place to start. Customers can earn reward points or discounts for sharing videos and imagery of your products on social media. One of the best ways to deliver that is a post-purchase email automation.
Once the UGC starts flowing in, you can then utilise the content across social media, your website and in your advertising campaigns – whether that’s the new Instagram reels placement, Instagram newsfeed & story ads, or Facebook ads – the more ground you can cover, the better.
It isn’t just our social media networks that are shifting towards eCommerce at a faster pace. Google Ads have introduced a new feature to help your shopping ads stand out when consumers are searching for products.
Consumers want the best value for every dollar they spend, especially during holiday seasons, with the speed of delivery and ease of online returns being front of mind. It’s for this reason Google Ads have introduced new shipping and returns annotations in Google Search and Shopping results – across free and paid listings.
Shoppers will now be able to see when their orders will arrive with shipping annotations like “Get it by Dec 10th”. Merchants who highlight 1-3 day shipping in their free listings on the shopping tab see an 11% increase in average click-through rates.
To reassure consumers that they can have confidence in their online purchases, returns policies are a huge contributing factor. You can now add return annotations like “free 30 day returns” on your ads and listings.
In summary, brands that start to utilise UGC throughout their social media and advertising strategies will reap the benefits, increasing trust, credibility and in turn, sales. A great way to start getting that UGC is through loyalty rewards programs. Another way to demonstrate to consumers the benefits of shopping online through your store is to start using the new shipping and returns annotations on your Google listings and ads.
Have some unanswered questions? Our digital marketing team would be happy to help! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get them answered for you.