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As a brand, you are more than familiar with the pressure that comes with one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Black Friday and the other surrounding discount periods leading up to the holidays demand our attention, creativity, and – most importantly in today’s digital world – innovation.
The alarming growth rate of the eCommerce sector, due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed us out of physical stores and into online webshops, has brands tirelessly working to attract customers through new cyber channels in competitive markets.
This is particularly challenging today, as every consumer has spent the last year and a half boosting their personal tech knowledge connecting from home. So now brands are marketing to a general population that is more digitally savvy than ever, with high-expectations for the ways in which brands approach them online. Meaning companies must adapt their content, campaigns, and offers to cater towards a new generation of online experts in order to compete.
That’s why we want to lay out exactly how brands can supercharge their online buying journeys in time for Black Friday with an effective, relationship-building marketing strategy: User Generated Content.
By the end of this blogpost, you’ll understand exactly why customer-centric marketing helps brands all over the world connect with digital savvy customers, retain existing clientele who are constantly bombarded with new options, and inspire anyone who lands on your online store to make a purchase.
Despite a pandemic rocking the world and stirring up economic issues internationally, the global eCommerce market is set to recover and hit $672.71 billion by 2023. In fact, only two years ago, 13.6% of sales were made from online purchases and that’s now expected to reach 19.5% in 2021 – a 45.8% increase in eCommerce market share in just two years.
Truly, eCommerce is growing so quickly that it’s estimated that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040, and the United States eCommerce market is forecasted to reach over $843 billion this year. Moreover, experts say the pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping by as much as five years.
This culture-altering upsurgence of eCommerce is particularly relevant for Millennials and Gen Xers, who are becoming more and more reliant on technology every passing day. So much so that 67% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop online than in a brick-and-mortar store. And, notably, 62% of people ages 18-24 are less loyal to brands than they were before the pandemic.
This is due to the ever-increasing amount of innovative brands, who understand the behaviors of today’s online audiences and are playing to their increasingly digital tastes. And it’s not just younger generations: 74% of all consumers rely on their online social networks to make purchasing decisions. So it turns out that you can teach an old dog new tricks, and brands need to be adaptable in the same way if they hope to compete.
This is exceptionally pertinent when we’re talking about the biggest shopping season of the year. Last Black Friday, for example, we saw an inordinate amount of purchases made online, with digital shopping surging 22% to a record $9 billion. And this is expected to be overtaken in 2021.
Suffice to say, this November is going to be a huge moment for online brands looking to attract new customers, a season that will start heating up in October. So we know that the customers will be ready – but will you?
It’s our goal to make sure that you are, so let’s get into how your brand can prepare for one of the biggest online shopping moments in history.
Seeing as the world’s social media users will spend a total of 3.7 trillion hours on social media this year, it’s pretty clear that these powerful social platforms play a huge role in how brands reach customers in our digital world. This will remain incredibly relevant for the upcoming holiday period.
As online customers get more and more accustomed to the fast-paced, real-life aesthetic that social media platforms like Instagram offer, we’re collectively setting a precedent for the kind of content that captivates us online. People want to be inspired by the accounts they follow, seeing images and videos that share authentic stories surrounding relatable human experiences.
So when we interact with friends, family and acquaintances on social media, we expect to have sincere conversations, hear real stories, and connect on a deeper level despite the physical distance between us. And brands are now being held to the same standards.
Then it only makes sense – if we wish to truly connect with digital savvy customers – for brands to build authentic online buying journeys with consumer-centric marketing at the heart of their strategy.
The more you can enrich the shopping journey with sincere customer opinions, reviews, and genuine love for your products, the more compelling and rich your brand’s digital ecosystem will be. We already see this model functioning so well on social media; the natural next step is taking this to your eCommerce.
Now, that’s easy for us to say. But how can brands actually take this idea of authentic marketing and create something memorable, eye-catching, on-brand, and innovative in time for the surge of Black Friday traffic?
There’s one particular strategy that hits each target, and you’re still on track to implement it into your online buying journey to hype up your customer base before November 26th.
In order to keep up with digital-forward shoppers, we have to speak to them in their language. Luckily, your previous customers are fluent. By learning how to leverage them in your eCommerce, you’ve discovered the key to building an irresistible online buying journey that will take Black Friday traffic and turn it into conversions.
All you have to do is learn how to leverage a User Generated Content strategy, which will put your customers at the heart of your brand and show future shoppers why they should buy your products over your competitors’. And the best part? It’s all told through the eyes of real people.
Let’s take a look at how iconic fashion brand, KARL LAGERFELD, immerses their customers into their brand experience with authentic UGC taken from social media.
Noticing that their customers were engaging with the brand on platforms like Instagram, KARL LAGERFELD wanted to do more with these valuable interactions than just letting them live on social media. For this reason, they decided to work with a UGC platform to collect the cool images and videos featuring their brand on social media to be leveraged further in their online buying journey.
Publishing this content into various touch points within their online store has allowed the brand to openly celebrate their strong relationships with customers, demonstrating to future shoppers their pride in serving an eclectic base of loyal brand fans.
By connecting these visual reviews directly to the products that appear within them – again using their UGC platform – they’re able to take advantage of the social proof that comes with this kind of powerful content within their online store. Now customers have a clear idea of the quality of KARL LAGERFELD products, how to style these innovative designs, and how they look on real people – all with just one simple integration.
Plus, the brand sees the real benefits reflected back in their performance. Thanks to this integration, they saw a 7.02% conversion rate of people who interacted with UGC and a 20.84% average order value increase. Imagine those numbers against the increase of traffic during Black Friday!
This doesn’t just work for the fashion industry. In fact, many sectors benefit from the power of UGC including furniture, consumer goods, luxury brands and jewellery, sport brands, footwear and more.
Take, for example, Mexican sneaker and lifestyle brand, TAF. They’re well-known for disrupting the market with their innovative digital strategies, so they knew they could not miss out on the opportunity to leverage UGC in their eCommerce.
Again, these numbers plus the influx of Black Friday traffic will have your online store out-performing even your wildest expectations, and you’re still on time to get an integration up and running today.
Furthermore, UGC doesn’t just have to be reserved for your online store. It can also be implemented within various touch points to enrich your Black Friday outreach.
Studies have demonstrated that almost 25% of Black Friday sales are generated via emails. Well, with a UGC platform you can use your customer content to enhance your newsletters with authentic visual reviews that will get customers onto your online store. UGC is known to increase email click-through rates by 73%, as it’s a strong way to show shoppers that your brand can be trusted by giving previous customers the opportunity to say it for you.
The same can be said about including UGC in your social ads. We already know that click through rates rise by 11% on regular ads and 33% on retargeting ads during the Black Friday season. By using a UGC platform to generate customer-created content for your social ads, you’re setting your brand up for success. See for yourself how Meller achieved a lower cost per click on their Instagram ads with the help of customer content.
Black Friday is racing towards us quickly, but there is still time to get the ball rolling and prepare your brand for a fruitful holiday period. We just have to keep in mind the expectations of online shoppers today, who are looking to build meaningful connections with brands who understand their digital-forward tastes.
The best way to meet all of these demands in one fell swoop is to implement a customer-centric strategy that speaks the online language of social media. One that visually inspires customers, while providing useful product information and authentic customer reviews all in one integration.
Yes, this solution actually exists and no, it’s not too good to be true. User Generated Content enables brands to achieve all of these benefits, while, most importantly, ensuring that more customers leave your online store converting.
Moreover, implementing this strategy does not have to be complicated. Talk to our team to learn how our advanced UGC platform can help your brand easily collect, moderate, manage, and publish high-quality customer content into your eCommerce store to increase conversions and engagement in time for Black Friday.