Ecommerce websites have been around since the late 1990’s. As the industry continues to evolve, so too has the user-interaction on the product detail pages changed. Product detail pages used to be limited to minimal text and maybe one photo. Yes, there was the HTTPS, Verisign, or other security badge, but the product pages of years gone by were simple creatures. They assumed that if the customer was on the product page then they were ready to purchase and didn’t need further convincing. However, the tides have changed thanks to the prevalence of user-generated content.
User-generated content is not a trend, it is an evolution that is rapidly changing the face of eCommerce product pages. From customer reviews, to customer promotional videos, to social media, and guest blogging references, user-generated content has helped to shape the way we shop. In 2015, we expect that this phenomenon will soon become the status quo for product detail pages.
User-Generated Content: The New Status Quo for eCommerce Best Practice Tactics
Showing customer videos and photographs have helped online retailers bridge the gap between digital and physical. Rent the Runway infamously aided this trend when they started “Our Runway,” an online eCommerce campaign that features actual customers in the available clothing. Members who viewed these user-generated photos were 200 percent more likely to buy (or in this case rent) than those who only viewed the product shot on a model. Other notable campaigns include the Free the People Instagram campaign or the Pepsi MAX Find Your Super Fan campaign; both of which encouraged customer interactions and promoted customer-generated content to a profitable result. The latter achieved an impressive 7,300 entrants, more than 700 images of Pepsi MAX cans posted to social media sites, and 52,000 visits to the microsite.
User Generated Content Becomes a Trusted Resource on Product Pages
Trusting user-generated content can no longer be called a “passing trend.” A recent Nielsen report found that online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online. In keeping with the Nielsen findings, a Bazaar report discovered that over 50 percent of Americans trust user-generated content more than the information provided by the company’s website. Adding this content to product detail pages will help to push viewers towards a sale. Just ask the students at Harvard Business School, whom discovered that a single star increase on Yelp led to a 5 – 9 percent increase in revenue.
Using a Dual Approach of Stock Photos and User-Generated Photos
The next step in the user-generated content evolution, is to use a combination of user photos and stock or model photos. This dual approach shows that the product appears similar in both examples. In other words, it puts the trust back into a stock photo. This is important because eCommerce sites want to be able to add a little variety to their product pages. If a company only uses user-generated photos, then suddenly this content doesn’t just replace the stock photos it becomes them, which is a dangerous slope, because it leads to a lack of consumer trust. Instead, it is wiser to show the brand working in harmony with the user-generated content.
3 out of 4 YouTube users say, “if there is a brand I love, I tell everyone about it.” With over 1 Billion unique visitors to the site on a daily basis, the power of “brand love” is an important thing. Think of the potential of adding a YouTube customer product review, next to a professional video clip on your product detail page. These types of tactics could help you to capture the 90 percent of luxury buyers who research products online before purchasing. In short, user-generated content is here to stay and it is here to help improve conversion ratings on eCommerce product detail pages.