A roadmap for retail merchants: Building a UGC strategy

A retail merchant's work is far from easy in today's shopping climate.

Retailers must embrace rapid change while providing an amazing omnichannel experience with the best product choices. Particularly in light of today's highly knowledgeable and always-on consumer.

Understanding the consumer is the primary emphasis of a retail merchant. To understand the customer, keep up with industry changes and ensure that their merchandising approach is coordinated.

On top of keeping up with the current trends, there are numerous elements that go into maintaining an internet business. Every decision must be carefully considered in order to profitably expand the business and for a retail merchant to achieve their ultimate goal: their OTB (open-to-buy) plan. 

Today, online retailers' merchants must find ways to optimize and improve user-generated content (UGC) — reviews, images, videos, and questions created by individual users — in their categories to drive more conversion and sales. Here are some of the most effective business practices. 

  1. What should retail merchants concentrate on in order to meet their goals?

    Simple - develop product description page (PDP) content requirements for your industry

    While product, price, and location are still important factors in retail success, content reigns supreme. And in today's e-commerce world, user-generated content (UGC) is the patriarch of the content family. That doesn't mean you should ignore branded content; it just means you should balance out the content bias in favor of UGC.

    Without the ability to touch and feel things sold online, customers rely heavily on one another to determine whether a product is a good fit for them. Particularly during a pandemic. Globally, 48% of customers said they read reviews more now than before the outbreak.

    Before purchasing a product, shoppers want to know more about it than what the brand says, whether it's in the form of ratings and reviews, social images, or Q&A. UGC is perceived by 85% of shoppers as more authentic and impactful than brand-created material, and it is 5x more likely to convert than branded content.

    And shoppers will not buy if there is no UGC on a PDP for a product they want to buy. More than 80% of buyers say they will not buy if there are no written reviews, and 66% say the same about user photo material. And if you can include video into your e-commerce, you'll have an even better chance of inspiring transactions.

    Simply said, user-generated content directly affects consumer decisions and promotes conversion.

  1. What are the advantages of UGC for a retailer?

    A robust, comprehensive UGC strategy has many advantages for a merchant and their line of business. Supporting an increase in conversion and sales, creating a consumer understanding, and lowering return rates are the top three advantages.

    Generate sales and conversion

    No online information is more trusted by users than other people's opinions, so grab their attention and give them the tools they need to make informed purchasing decisions. In fact, we discovered that when customers engage with UGC on the Dotlogics Network, the conversion rate increases by 136%.

    Become more customer-focused

    You can gain insight into the thoughts of the clients by utilizing the direct customer feedback that comes via UGC. Retail business owners can use this to plan their purchases more effectively and make smarter business decisions.

    Lower return rates

    With the use of customer reviews, you may quickly determine why some consumers opt to return items, and you can modify your procurement strategy or the PDP as necessary.

    How do you now obtain these advantages? For your category, develop a UGC strategy.

  1. Why it's crucial to have a UGC strategy for your category

    Retail merchants who prioritize UGC experience the greatest success and business growth are able to do so because they incorporate it into their merchandising strategy.

    Vendors will start assisting you in getting more UGC when you're putting into practice (and enforcing) a strategy that focuses on UGC. Both you and the merchant profit from the increased conversion and sales, making it a win-win situation.

    UGC strategy for retailers in 5 steps

    1. Establish standards for your category.

    Content standards influence outcomes. When a retail merchant establishes and upholds PDP content guidelines for their category (also referred to as a vendor scorecard), that is the ultimate catalyst for UGC success. By putting standards into place, you can make sure that your vendors are contributing to the creation of that content.

    It becomes slightly more challenging to impose to your vendors that they must take part in UGC for your products in the absence of guidelines. UGC benchmark examples:

    Every item should have X reviews, or

    X% of the entire selection must have at least one review.

    All products must have a minimum rating of X stars.

    Every new product must be released with reviews. 

    2. Interact with and hold accountable your providers

    Inform your vendors of the content criteria you have established for your category. Start enforcing them, and allow that influence the order in which you position your products.

    When discussing content strategy with your vendors, see if your UGC stakeholders have any resources they can share with you.

    Again, adopting a UGC approach benefits vendors as well as retail retailers. You will both benefit financially if you can have more substantial vendor user-generated content (UGC) on your product sites.

    3. Highlight the areas that require review coverage.

    Which sections of your company receive little review coverage? Or no coverage at all?

    These ought to receive a lot of attention. These days, online buyers are very wary to buy products with few ratings, and especially those without any reviews.

    Ask your vendor to collaborate with their ratings and reviews provider to find a solution that can help them increase review coverage at-scale. Use reporting tools to quickly identify these areas, vendors, and SKUs.

    4. To boost sales, introduce all new products with reviews.

    Making sure you are keeping in mind any new items slated to launch in the near months is a crucial component of a strong UGC strategy.

    It's critical that your vendors plan ahead and gather reviews so that the new product (or brand) is on the PDP before launch in order to grab the customer's attention and confirm that it's the best choice for them.

    You can accomplish this by conducting product samplings. With sampling, your vendor can distribute their goods to a carefully selected group of customers in exchange for stellar reviews prior to launch. Vendors can use this to gather feedback on particular products and make sure that the content is prepared for the PDP's launch.

    5. Include UGC that is visual and social

    Images of actual customers using the products can encourage greater purchases from consumers. Text evaluations are crucial, but today's consumers are increasingly looking for products with visual user-generated content (UGC) so they can see how the product actually looks. In fact, 66% of consumers believe that visual UGC is crucial when considering a buy.

    Resolved the main problems facing retailers

    We are aware of the numerous problems you face as a retailer. But you can nearly always solve them with UGC, efficiently and affordably. Find out how below.

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