Article

Larisa Bedgood
Larisa Bedgood 28 June 2016

Why Consumer-Generated Content Is Key For Today’s Retailers

Here are three ways to enhance marketing with consumer content.

As marketers, the fact that “Content is King” has become so ingrained that it has become a staple of marketing strategies across virtually any industry. We produce mountains of blogs, frantically write articles, and create videos, white papers, e-books, and more. But perhaps we can pause for just a moment. In reality, the content created by our fans and customer base has proven to be just as valuable—or perhaps more valuable—in converting prospects into customers.

Consumers today love to share their experiences, interact with brands, and are in fact are our best advocates and marketers. Consumers want an experience that is personal and relevant—and content created by fellow shoppers can be a huge factor when deciding which brand they will choose to purchase from. 

Take a look at these compelling statistics on the advantages of using User or Consumer-Generated Content (CGC).

  1. 59% of millennials say they use CGC to inform their purchase decisions about major electronics. That's followed by cars (54%), major appliances (53%), mobile phones (46%), hotels (45%), and travel plans (40%). (Crowdtap)
  2. 86% of businesses use content marketing; of those, 70% are creating more content than they did a year ago. (Content Marketing Institute)
  3. 73% of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content. (Reevo)
  4. Web content increasingly is dominated by user-generated content as Pinterest pin creation is up 75%, Twitch video broadcasts are up 83%, Wattpad stories are up 140%, and Airbnb reviews are up 140% year-over-year. (Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers)
  5. 65% of social media users from ages 18 to 24 consider information that's shared on social networks when making a purchasing decision. (eMarketer)
  6. Consumers who are between the ages of 25 and 54 are the biggest content drivers—contributing 70% of all CGC. (SparkReel)
  7. 25% of search results for the world's 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content. (Kissmetrics)
  8. 84% of millennials report that CGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy. (Bazaarvoice)
  9. 86% of millennials say that consumer-generated content is generally a good indicator of the quality of a brand or service. (Bazaarvoice)
  10. Brand engagements rise by 28% when consumers are exposed to both professional content and user-generated product video. (comScore)

73% of consumers place peer recommendations and reviews above professionally written content.

In another study by Expertcity, influencers ranked among the top sources of information for online consumers when making purchase decisions, with friends and family leading at 81% and online reviews at 76%. According to research by Bazaarvoice, consumer-generated content helps brands and retailers improve their sales conversions and create long-term customer loyalty. The study indicated that 50% of retailers and 91% of brands plan to increase their usage of CGC over the next 12 months.

Retailers that are already using consumer-generated content or influencer marketing are seeing significant results in increased brand awareness, new sales lead generation, and increased customer loyalty.

Influencer Marketing Statistics

Here are some ways to infuse consumer-generated content into your marketing strategies.

1)    Showcase Consumers’ Photos

Businesses and retailers have recognized the benefits for some time now of encouraging consumers to take photos of themselves or share their own stories in exchange for an entry into a contest. Instagram and Facebook are popular social platforms for posting photos.  

A great example of this is Belkin and Lego who collectively developed a line of customizable iPhone cases. The company then created a social platform for customers, giving them a place to share pictures of their new cases and to show others the benefits of making their own.

User Generated Content Lego Belkin

Encourage users to leave reviews by sending out newsletters and adding a review request link that recipients can click to post a review of your business on a site of your choice. If you've built a strong community on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, make it easy for customers by adding a link to the review page where you want them to go. Several e-mail marketing providers also offer tools for creating customizable e-mail templates, and industry-specific review sites have similar offerings: Edmunds has Review Accelerator, for example, and TripAdvisor has Review Express.

Consumer-generated content can make a significant impact on revenue, customer acquisition, and brand loyalty. Retailers must find venues to let customers tell their own story and leverage this content across their entire marketing strategy through multiple channels. By encouraging your brand followers to share, the results benefit both use and your customers.

Another great example is Starbucks’ White Cup Contest which they launched in April 2014. Customers across the country were asked to doodle on their Starbucks cups and submit pictures as entries. The winning entry would be the template for a new limited edition Starbucks cup. Nearly 4,000 customers submitted entries in a three week span. The contest was a great way for Starbucks to earn publicity and prove that it strongly valued customer feedback.

User Generated Content Marketing

2)    Use Contests and Give-aways

Contests are a great way to encourage consumer-generated content and which has benefits for both you and your fans. By offering awards of cash, merchandise, free service and even recognition, you can encourage your brand followers to help you generate original content that will help you as well as deliver value to your visitors.

An exceptional example is a content run by Microsoft Lumia: #MakeItHappen

User Generated Content Retail

Throughout December 2014, Microsoft Lumia made the most of 2014’s final days by helping 31 people from all over the world complete 31 New Year’s resolutions via their user generated content submissions. Each winner was given a Lumia device, with an array of apps at their fingertips to help #MakeItHappen.

Another example is coffee company Costa's #ShakeUpSummer Instagram video contest:

User Generated Content Marketing

Costa Coffee celebrated the launch of their new Ice Coffee shake by asking consumers to upload a video to Instagram demonstrating their shake. All the best entries with the hashtag #ShakeUpSummer were featured on social sites. Consumers were given the chance to win items such as an iPad Air 2, a designer sunglasses voucher, Beats by Dre headphones and more.

3)    Encourage Reviews

Up to 70% of consumers place unbiased “peer” recommendations and reviews above professionally written, brand-controlled content, while 81% of online shoppers use online reviews to make their ultimate purchase decision. Research by PeopleClaim revealed the importance of consumer reviews for ecommerce:

  • 71% of consumers agree that reviews make them feel more confident in a purchase
  • 82% of consumers consider reviews to be ‘valuable’ or ‘extremely valuable’ assets for an ecommerce site
  • 63% of consumers are more likely to buy from a website when it features consumer reviews
  • Consumer reviews drive 18% more customer loyalty and 25% higher consumer satisfaction

Encourage users to leave reviews by sending out newsletters and adding a review request link that recipients can click to post a review of your business on a site of your choice. If you've built a strong community on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, make it easy for customers by adding a link to the review page where you want them to go. Several e-mail marketing providers also offer tools for creating customizable e-mail templates, and industry-specific review sites have similar offerings: Edmunds has Review Accelerator, for example, and TripAdvisor has Review Express.

Consumer-generated content can make a significant impact on revenue, customer acquisition, and brand loyalty. Retailers must find venues to let customers tell their own story and leverage this content across their entire marketing strategy through multiple channels. By encouraging your brand followers to share, the results benefit both you and your customers.

Written by Kelly Idol, Senior Vice President of Sales, DataMentors. This article originally appeared on Internet Retailer. View original article here.

To learn more about using data-driven marketing solutions in retail, download our Retail Marketing Data Solutions and Strategy Guide.

Original Article

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