User-generated content (UGC) significantly impacts your brand’s ability to grow revenue and retain customers. Unfortunately, once you hit $10-$15 million in annual sales, scaling UGC can be nearly impossible.
This article unlocks examples, results, and data Yotpo has collected working with over 70,000 businesses worldwide, including how …
- Customer photos on product pages increase conversions 24%
- Review-request emails can yield 27.5% return purchases
- Post-purchase coupons generate an up to 43% conversion rate
Great brands are built on happy and returning customers. Why? Because existing customers aren’t just your best source of long-term revenue, they’re also your most powerful strategy for converting new customers.
Whenever a purchase is complete, ask yourself one simple question: Have we reached the maximum value of this customer? If you haven’t invested in UGC for retention, taking a few simple actions can lead to a swift uplift in sales.
5 tactics to improve retention with 17 user-generated content examples:
- Incentivize Reviews and Repeat Purchases with Coupons
- Let Customers Answer Consumers to Build Community
- Upsell Immediately with Personalized Post-Purchase Emails
- Leverage Your Social Media Properties Offsite and On
- Listen to Your Customers Holistically Through Insights
Keep reading to unearth the examples and tactics …
But, to go behind the scenes and find out how user-generated content is just one part of what helps the average Shopify Plus merchant grow between 126% and 274% YoY …
1. Incentivize Reviews and Repeat Purchases with Coupons
You already know you should connect with your customers after they’ve used your product for the very first time. This is the critical moment when they’re thinking about how they feel about your brand: Was it a good investment? Does it meet their expectations? Would they recommend it to friends and family?
Collecting that feedback systematically in the form of publicly facing reviews and rating is the heartbeat of UGC.
Merchant Spotlight: Cupshe
Cupshe — a rapidly growing Shopify Plus merchant and Yotpo customer that has scaled beyond $3 million in monthly sales — leverages UGC throughout their offsite and onsite funnel:
For Cupshe, speed meets scale is essential:
“I love Shopify Plus,” says Cupshe founder and CEO Mike Zhao, “because it makes my life so much easier. I can adjust quickly and move as fast as I want because I know I can trust Shopify’s platform to keep up.”
The question is: how to collect and put all that UGC to work?
With Yotpo, customers automatically receive a highly targeted review request email after their purchase. The word “automatically” is the first critical step to scaling.
Within Yotpo you can create customized email sequences (again, automatically) tied directly to your product catalog and each customer’s purchase history:
But there’s a second critical step for scaling … within this email, you can incentivize customers with coupons to write reviews and share them on social.
Yotpo data shows that businesses experienced a 43% conversion rate from site visitors who had received coupons immediately post-purchase.
This provides another powerful way to re-engage past buyers by offering them loyalty points for writing reviews, submitting customer photos, and sharing them on social. Your customers will come back and buy more because of the discount and the points, and they’ll also develop a stronger bond with your brand.
2. Let Customers Answer Consumers and Build Community
Leverage your customer community by letting them join in answering shoppers’ questions and advocating for your product. This is a powerful technique that enhances social proof on your site and plays a critical role in the consumer decision-making process. You’ll give new shoppers the information they need to purchase confidently with quick and reliable responses from your customer community or from your own team.
Allowing customers to answer questions has another benefit: it engages your customer community to let their voice be a part of your brand. This strategy also boosts sales.
Yotpo found that 12% of past buyers who received questions from the Q&A feature returned to the site — even if they didn’t answer the questions.
You can also incentivize your customers by offering coupons for answering questions. One of Shopify Plus’ customers, Vanity Planet, has generated over 84,400 reviews to a top product. It also has 100 questions asked by prospective customers.
Employees at Vanity Planet can answer these questions, or they can send the questions to past buyers, and let the customers answer the questions. Consumers appreciate hearing from other consumers like themselves, rather than just from brands.
In one case, three different Vanity Planet customers answered an inquisitive but unsure prospective buyer’s question. These three past-buyers advocated for the brand, creating some serious social proof.
Vanity Planet turned a regular product page into a dynamic community. They made it much more powerful for first-time visitors to feel very confident in their brand as well as letting their customers’ voices champion and evangelize their products.
In addition to Q&A, Vanity Planet also drove up conversions for visitors reaching the checkout page from the product page by 24% through the placement of UGC photos.
3. Upsell Immediately with Personalized Post-Purchase Emails
Take advantage of review requests to promote your top-rated products to recent customers.
Remember, Yotpo sends each one of your customers an automatically triggered post-purchase review request email. Use these emails to upsell and promote related products that are currently being reviewed.
Yotpo’s algorithm selects the products most likely to bring past shoppers back to buy more, and data collected from more than 2,000 stores shows that…
27.5% of customers who clicked on promoted products in post-purchase review request emails end up converting.
Consider re-engaging customers by showing them products that are:
- Relevant: If they purchased a coat that they are now reviewing, promote pants that match
- Top-rated: Help your customers discover your most popular products that display positive, enthusiastic reviews
4. Leverage Your Social Media Properties for Social Proof
Publicize your best reviews and other UGC on your brand’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts to instill trust in your products and your brand via social proof.
Leesa does this across the board, organically and through paid-social advertising:
Shoppers who engage with shared UGC on social spend more time on-site than any other customers. Adding reviews to Facebook boosts the time spent on-site by 9.9%.
Moreover, you can also re-engage customers after they leave your site with product-specific dynamic retargeting ads. According to a Facebook case study, these ads:
- Lower cost per acquisition by 38%
- Increase return on ad spend by 62%
- Decrease cost per click by 40%
Pack your ads with social proof by including 5-star reviews and UGC in the messaging.
Yotpo Ads for Facebook & Instagram makes it super-easy to create beautiful and effective social ads using reviews from verified buyers.
You can also include real customer photos and UGC that people can relate to in place of product picture or stock images.
5. Listen to Your Customers Holistically Through Insights
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said that “customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied … your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.”
But as a brand, how do you begin actually listening to consumers?
You can get extremely precise input from customers doing focus groups, but it’s very hard to scale that over time and across customer segments, product categories, and different geographies.
On the other extreme, you can get constant, large-scale feedback from social media. But comments and likes are very hard to draw conclusions from.
Then there are customer reviews, a great source of consumer feedback in determining what your customers like and don't like about your product and brand. In the last couple of years, we noticed this feedback has become one of the top reasons for businesses to use reviews in the first place.
Some of the fastest-growing businesses we work with, like Vanity Planet, are integrating customer feedback into their product development processes.
But until now, extracting deep insights from reviews at scale has been a serious challenge ...
Yotpo’s newest product, Insights, automatically extracts key insights from every review collected and uses natural language processing and machine learning to analyze, group, and tag them. This empowers you to see what topics matter to your customers and determine which factors have the most impact on customer satisfaction, so you can invest time in what matters most to them.
For example, let’s say you wanted to know why customers in New York were leaving positive reviews while customers in Toronto were unhappy with the same product. Now it’s possible to draw powerful conclusions by analyzing all the customer reviews by segment or group. In this case, it turned out there was a distribution problem in Toronto and customers were not receiving the packages on time.
Having your finger on the pulse of what customer sentiment is around your products or brand, for better or for worse, is the most effective way to make smarter business decisions to keep your customers coming back. You can continuously leverage their reviews and feedback to improve your offering.
Harness UGC Examples Throughout the Buyer’s Journey
It’s important to look at customer retention as another stage in the customer journey. Or, even better, another funnel where you can engage your community of buyers with UGC to help them become brand ambassadors and to increase sales.
But the buyer’s journey does not end when the customer checks out.
Sending the right message at the right time to your customer base can quickly generate additional sales from your community. Incorporating UGC into your retention tools, such as coupons and upselling, makes it easier for you to connect with hard-earned customers and to bring them back to shop on your site.
You can get more, much more, from shoppers by leveraging UGC after they make a purchase. With the right UGC tools, you will improve customer engagement and boost sales among your current community of customers —and you will increase new customer acquisitions.
That’s a win-win and win for everybody.
About the Author
John-David heads up US Channel Partnerships for Yotpo. A recent NYC transplant from the Tel Aviv HQ, JD was an early Yotpo employee who helped build and scale Yotpo’s strategic partner ecosystem from the ground up.
When not in the office or at trade shows, he can be found evangelizing the power of UGC marketing and running training workshops for Yotpo’s top partners.