The Evolution of Ecommerce: Why Complementing Written Ratings & Reviews with UGC Boosts your ROI

eCommerce is an exciting industry that has grown, achieved numerous milestones, and drastically changed since the early 1990’s. In 1995 the introduction of online payment methods launched the rise of eCommerce into the digital market space that we enjoy today. By the end of 2001, B2B eCommerce had reached approximately $700 Billion in transactions and showed no sign of slowing down. However, the average person was still unable to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. Businesses were gathering customer intelligence based off of Consumer Reports, which were a one-way broadcast model that didn’t provide today’s level of in-depth insights. All of that changed, when ratings and reviews were introduced into the eCommerce industry.

What Ratings & Reviews Brought to the Table

Platforms such as Yelp, Open Table, Amazon, eBay, and Trip Advisor offered a chance for consumers to give star ratings to certain eCommerce businesses. This mentality has been brought into today’s eCommerce realm where 71 percent of customers agree that consumer reviews make them feel more comfortable about their purchases.

In a recent consumer behavior study, RJ Metrics discovered that customer reviews create a 74 percent increase in product conversion. The only downside of reviews and ratings is that this written system only goes so far. Over the past few years, visual User Generated Content (UGC) has stepped in to fill in the gaps that the latter consumer opinion platforms lack.

Visual User Generated Content (UGC): Bringing The Next Big Shift in Product Reviews

It is no secret that many people use social media to share opinions, ideas, and thoughts on a wide range of topics. However, not all social media platforms deliver the same conversion results.

  • According to a recent consumer study, Facebook videos received significantly more shares than all other social media platforms.
  • Over the past year, Instagram businesses have experienced an estimated 5 to 7 percent conversion rate increase, simply by using UGC photos.
  • In 2011, the EA gaming company ran a Twitter UGC promotion that resulted in 500,000 mentions and an engagement rate of around 29 percent for its latest video game.

As the above social media statistics show, visual UGC has the power to convert more consumers into actively engaged brand ambassadors. Part of this increased power lays in the fact that 90 percent of the information transmitted to the brain is visual. In fact, the brain can process visuals up to 60,000 times faster than text. When your user has an attention span that rivals a goldfish, using visual UGC cues is a fantastic way to increase conversion ratings.

A few of the additional benefits of visual UGC include:

  • Videos on landing pages increase average page conversion rates by 86 percent.
  • Social media posts with visuals tend to receive 94 percent more page visits than those without.
  • Adding UGC to your product page can increase your conversion rate by 5 to 7 percent.
  • Buyers are 3 times more likely to buy a product after interacting with UGC in the form of visual aids and user reviews.
  • UGC videos on the product detail page can cause a 64 to 84 percent buying increase.

Visual UGC + Consumer Reviews = A Success Story with Many Lessons Learned

One of the most referenced visual UGC success stories is Urban Outfitters. They created an on-site user generated content gallery of customer photos. Each photo was linked directly to the product page of the customer’s purchased item. Their campaign resulted in a time on-site increase of 45 seconds, as well as a 15 percent increase in shopping rate purchases.

With this success story in mind, it is easy to see how visual UGC is the next evolutionary step within the eCommerce industry. Brands that successfully implement UGC campaigns in conjunction with consumer reviews will be in a better position to engage with consumers and create a loyal following of brand ambassadors.


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Topics: UGC, User Generated Content, eCommerce