User-generated content (UGC) is coming to an online store near you. In 2014, one of the biggest trends will be retailers generating brand affinity and sales by incorporating UGC into the ecommerce experience in a meaningful way.
Here are three reasons why UGC is hot.
1. It celebrates loyalty
When talking about social, much has been made about courting influencers. But what about all those loyal consumers who have only modest followings on social? They're a chorus waiting to be heard, and they're tired of being ignored.
The problem once was that recognizing these fans in any public way was not particularly easy or authentic. UGC is changing that. Now, you can simply encourage fans to share their experience with you in pictures, and you can feature those pictures on the biggest stage you own: your website.
Urban Outfitters worked with Curalate to do just this, and the payoff was amazing. A fan with just over 100 followers shared a photo of herself in Urban clothing that was subsequently displayed in a prominent gallery that links off Urban's homepage. The fan came back to Urban's website, saw her image featured, and Instagrammed a screen shot of the gallery along with a caption calling Urban one of her favorite stores and proclaiming that she was ";hyperventilating" because she was recognized by the company. You simply cannot buy brand love this deep.
2. It's creative and inspirational
Product reviews can feel overly rational and lifeless. Why? Because product reviews essentially ask the reviewer to be critical.