Ecommerce Marketing

The Power of User Generated Content in Ecommerce Marketing


The world of ecommerce is a crowded one. From individual retailers operating their own websites to the tens of thousands that sell their wares via Amazon, eBay, and Shopify, the competition is both voluminous and fierce. Therefore, how an entrepreneur addresses ecommerce marketing makes a difference.

Entrepreneurs will find no shortage of ecommerce marketing tips online. There are tons of them. Yet here is one that doesn’t get much play: leveraging user generated content as a marketing tool. Known more simply as UGC, ecommerce operators often ignore user generated content because they do not understand its power to drive both traffic and sales.

The Basics of UGC

UGC is exactly what its name implies: web-based content created by users. In an ecommerce setting, a good example is the customer review. The customer is the user of a particular product. Therefore, a review written by a customer is a piece of UGC. It’s also a marketing tool.

Product reviews are just one example. Ecommerce-related UGC extends to things like:

  • Customer photographs.
  • Personal stories.
  • Social media mentions.
  • Product recommendations.
  • Answers to customer questions.

In regard to the last item on the list, answers to questions, Amazon has done a masterful job of using this tool to drive sales. Amazon’s computer system keeps track of who buys what. When a potential buyer has a specific question about a product, Amazon sends email messages to customers who have already bought that product. The messages ask users if they are willing to answer the question at hand.

Every answer constitutes UGC. Not only that, but answers are also considered authoritative because they come from actual consumers rather than some professional writer sitting in an office somewhere. Customers trust their peers to be honest with them.

Anything You Want It to Be

As an ecommerce entrepreneur and business owner, your UGC can be anything you want it to be. You can ask customers to write short reviews of your products. You can ask them to review their experiences with your company. You can ask for photographs of customers using your products, photographs you will post on social media. The types of UGC you solicit are limited only to your imagination.

Your goal with UGC is to create a community around your business. This is a community of customers who are happy with your products, buy them regularly, and encourage others to buy from you. The bigger and more vibrant your community, the more they offer in terms of ecommerce marketing.

Establish Clear UGC Guidelines

As powerful as UGC can be, it should never be implemented with a no-holds-barred mentality. In fact, the ecommerce marketing experts at Salt Lake City’s Webtek Digital Marketing suggest establishing specific guidelines. Guidelines should cover:

  • The types of UGC you are looking for.
  • How the content will be used.
  • How you intend to protect sensitive data.
  • Language creators can and cannot use.

Guidelines should both inspire and provide a pathway to great content. It can be oriented towards specific types of content for each marketing channel you decide to use. For instance, you might have one set of guidelines for social media posts and another set for on-site blog posts.

Reward Customers for Participating

One last thing to consider is rewarding customers for taking part. You might offer a discount on the next purchase in exchange for a product review. You could encourage customers to earn points for every social media mention that meets guidelines.

UGC does not get a lot of play in ecommerce marketing. That’s a shame. UGC is a powerful tool that can make a significant difference in driving ecommerce sales.

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