The online footwear segment is expected to increase worldwide from $365.5 billion in 2022 to $530.3 billion in 2027.
As we continue to see growth in the eCommerce sector of the shoe industry, online footwear brands must remain on top of the latest trends.
A key strategy to enhance customers’ shopping journeys and boost eCommerce performance is the use of User Generated Content (UGC)
Many global footwear brands already leverage UGC in their online shops.
In this blog post we’ll go through the reasons UGC is a key selling tool in the footwear industry, using five footwear brands to demonstrate the many benefits of UGC.
Let’s get started!
A major pain point of selling online is that digital photos often don’t do justice to products and so it’s hard for buyers to get the full picture. Especially for online footwear brands, customers are weary of how shoes will look paired with their own outfits. Not to mention size, style, and color.
eCommerce brands try a lot of different tactics to capture how amazing their products are online, but is it enough to convince shoppers to purchase? According to UNISA, customer content is a powerful tool for giving customers access to real life examples of their products in action.
“Flowbox offers our customers a visual showcase for exploring our products and finding inspiration. The integration of UGC into our eCommerce allows shoppers to visualize real life examples of our products that they too have purchased or plan on purchasing, while endowing them with a greater value. It also gives customers access to the products in a simple and intuitive way.”
– Marta Albors, International Press and PR at Unisa
Your brand can extend this simplicity even further into your online shopping journey by connecting your products directly to authentic UGC. That way, customers go from shopping your brand’s latest street looks to finding the stellar shoes that create them, all in a matter of seconds.
Thanks to this UGC integration, UNISA saw a 16.03% increase in conversion rate. Read more about how they achieved this in their case study here.
Speaking of improving eCommerce performance, let’s talk about the famous shoe brand Havaianas who used UGC to increase customer loyalty.
Internationally recognized shoe brand Havaianas sees a lot of online engagement. Havaianas wanted to create a more informative online shopping journey for their customers by enabling them to see what shoes like before they even try them on.
Flowbox has helped Havaianas collect their customers’ posts from social media and seamlessly integrate them into carousels and galleries within their online store, thereby giving customers a realistic sense of how their products look. Customers no longer have to rely on a professional product shot to get a sense of how well a pair of shoes would suit them – instead they can browse through customer created content from social media, getting an authentic view of the products and how they look in the real world, on real people.
‘Today’s consumers want to see real people in brands, and Flowbox enables us to populate our webstore with real life users with our products in a fast and easy way. This real-life, real-time accessibility to images is a great benefit to our online store and social media presence and means we get to showcase our fabulous users looking great, enjoying themselves in Havaianas.”
Merel Werners, Marketing Director EMEIA
The UGC element of Havaiana’s online store helps customers to see what a pair of shoes would really look like on them. Thanks to UGC Havaiana’s website showcases a diverse range of people wearing their products, thereby increasing the chance that a potential customer will feel like they can relate to existing followers of the brand and really envision how well products would match their personal wardrobe.
That’s the power of UGC! It increases and enriches brand engagement by allowing customers to relate to products and get a more realistic sense of how shoes would look in the context of particular outfits.
Let’s take a look at other ways to increase your social engagement through UGC, by exploring British shoe brand Loake.
If you’re growing your brand on social media, then there’s no reason not to bring that engagement into your eCommerce store. And the best way to do that is to celebrate your customers by featuring their content on your site.
Shoppers love browsing this kind of content on social media, so it only makes sense to provide it for them on your website. But you have to be careful when displaying social content that customers won’t just bounce directly back to Instagram and away from your store.
That’s why a shoppable UGC gallery is the best way to leverage customer content.
Let’s take the lead from premium shoe brand Loake. You can see in the example below a happy customer attending a wedding with their Chelsea boots from Loake.
Loake then collected this image through Flowbox and put it up in their site – BUT with the product directly connected to the image so shoppers don’t have to guess where to find the boots.
Now customers get the benefit of seeing genuine customers (as opposed to paid models), recommending Loake’s shoes, alongside a product shot. And, with the caption still in tact, Loake gets to extend the social engagement, that is so important on Instagram, into their eCommerce – where they actually make the sales.
It seems pretty exciting, doesn’t it? It's very easy too!
There’s another benefit to extending your social engagement, especially from Instagram, into your eCommerce storefront: these images and videos become visual reviews that help gain customer trust.
Let’s learn more about this from Shoeby, a Dutch fashion and footwear brand.
Many online footwear brands include written reviews of their products within their eCommerce, but there’s an even more powerful way to leverage your customers’ responses to your brand.
By posting an image or video of themselves with your products, your customers are essentially putting a stamp of approval on your brand. Anyone who sees this content on social media knows how highly they think of your products, which – in turn – is a great way to spread your reach.
This content is already spreading like wildfire across social media, and it can be utilized to great effect on your eCommerce storefront.
For example, Shoeby lets customer content say it all. With these visual reviews, shoppers can see real life customers using and enjoying the product, which then gives them a better idea of its value.
You don’t even have to forfeit the written aspect of the review when integrating UGC galleries into your eCommerce. Your customers’ captions can be a great asset for displaying positive responses to your products.
This kind of social proof will enhance the shopping journey for your customers while giving them more reason to trust your products. If you can manage this with UGC, why wouldn’t you want to include customer content throughout your eCommerce strategy?
For example, let’s look at how Ulanka integrates their visual reviews directly into product pages to further enhance their shopping journey with social proof.
As a customer browses product pages, they’re looking for a comprehensive view of what your shoes really looks like. Of course product shots arranged in various ways can be helpful, however you don’t want to leave your customers wanting more.
So maybe you also include shots of models wearing your products. But this still doesn’t really accurately portray those particular shoes.
That’s where UGC becomes the perfect asset for online footwear brands to convert eCommerce customers. By integrating a carousel of customer content into your product pages, shoppers are shown content featuring the specific pair of shoes that they’re interested in buying.
Not only does this give them a better idea of how and where they can be worn, it’s also providing that valuable social proof that says, “These shoes are great – they look good, they’re made well, and they match with my outfit. I love them!” All without you saying a word.
There’s a lot of shopping that can be attributed to social proof. When Instagrammers see someone wearing a product that they’re obsessed with, they’ll jump through hoops to own it themselves. Make it easier for your customers to browse your social content while shopping your store, and you’ll be giving them the social shopping experience that they love.
For online footwear brands, the benefits that come with User Generated Content are fundamental. Social proof, conversion power, authentic engagement – it’s an easy integration with a whole lot to give back in return.
If you’re looking to improve your brand’s online shopping journey, turn to your customers. A UGC strategy will help to improve your online presence, while presenting you as a leader in eCommerce.
And it’s never been easier to achieve all of this with the help of a User Generated Content platform like Flowbox.