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User-Generated Content (UGC) for Fashion Brands

Digital fashion commerce is fast adopting good quality content to drive brand awareness, loyalty, and customer engagement. This is especially true after the pandemic, with the changing customer spending and online behavior, accelerated innovation, and novel marketing tools revolutionizing the fashion eCommerce industry. 

The industry is witnessing a major shift in advertising and marketing methodologies. Traditional celebrity endorsements don’t cut the bill anymore. In fact, 92% of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement. This can be attributed to evolving cultural norms and democratization of content, thanks to the omnipresence of social media. 

What is User-Generated Content? 

Image Source: Business Wire

User-generated content, also known as consumer-generated content is any digital asset created by consumers, including images, videos, testimonials, product reviews, audio, artwork, and other content types featuring the brand’s product(s). With more people taking to social media to communicate and share their opinions today, fashion brands are keen on leveraging customer social networks to derive marketing assets and fuel organic reach. By encouraging customers to create content mentioning or using their brand’s product or services, fashion eCommerce stores can generate a high volume of marketing assets at no cost. 

What’s more, user-generated content or UGC is 5 times more likely to convert customers into purchasing your products than branded or professional product shots. As social media becomes more collaborative, brands are inviting customers to be a part of their story, while building brand loyalty, trust, authenticity, and positive customer sentiment. 

Why Fashion Brands Need More User-Generated Content 

According to a study by Stackla, there exists a glaring disconnect between the content customers desire to see by brands and what marketers deliver. 92% of marketers believe their content is perceived as ‘authentic’ as opposed to only 51% of consumers who believe that less than half the brands deliver authentic content. This is worrisome because content is a major driver of online sales for fashion brands, especially apparel and footwear. 

User-generated content can bridge this gap considerably, given consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic when compared with branded. There are multiple ways UGC for social media can help fashion brands unlock organic growth in a cost-effective manner- 

  • Build authenticity 

90% of consumers believe that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support. UGC for social media can help fashion brands produce more authentic content that users can relate to. Users are relatively more inclined to buy from brands that engage customers and interact with them. 

  • Increase brand loyalty – UGC is today’s word-of-mouth marketing

User-generated content can enhance brand loyalty and take it to the next level. This happens because UGC actively invites consumers to share their voices, opinions, and experiences of the brand with the rest of the world. In many ways, user-generated content is this age’s word-of-mouth. 

  • Engagement, engagement, engagement!

UGC can help brands increase customer engagement organically while generating creative content that speaks to social media users. What’s more, brand engagement can increase by 28% when brands use a mix of branded and user-generated content. 

  • Improve conversion and sales

UGC can help fashion brands convert and sell more through social media channels. Imagine a prospect browsing the latest collection on your website and not making a purchase because they aren’t sure of their choice yet. While scrolling through their Instagram feed later, they come across a friend’s story featuring the same pair of jeans they were eyeing before. This is UGC at work. Social proof can go a long way in increasing your eCommerce store’s sales and conversions. 

  • Boost brand awareness at a low cost

Creating branded content or investing in influencer marketing can certainly help your brand’s growth, but the costs associated with these can be overwhelming. User-generated content, on the other hand, delivers diverse, authentic, and impactful content at negligible costs. 

  • Contribute to social commerce – the next generation of eCommerce

The next era of eCommerce is social commerce, where the boundaries between social media and eCommerce platforms will become blurred. Social commerce will allow users to directly buy products and services from the social media platform. After all, 48% of customers say that UGC is a great way to discover new products. UGC for social media can allow brands to leverage social commerce by influencing customer buying decisions.  

  • Reduce bounce rate and improve SEO

41% of consumers will be tempted to purchase a product with as few as one to four reviews. Integrating user-generated content such as product reviews with images, ratings, and customer testimonials on your eCommerce website will help you improve your SEO search rankings while encouraging users to spend more time on your website. 

How Can Fashion ECommerce Benefit From UGC

Over 84% of millennials believe that UGC on company websites at least partially influences their purchases. It is no wonder then that the biggest names in fashion have been using UGC to engage their loyal customers and brand advocates, and take brand loyalty to the next level by involving them in the content creation process. Some of these brands include Burberry, Calvin Klein, ASOS, and other pioneers in fashion. What’s more, millennials prefer websites that display UGC over those that don’t. 

Image source: nosto

 The results are inspiring – 

  • Showcase your products on ‘real’ bodies

Consumers actively seek social proof when trying to make purchasing decisions. User-generated content is different from branded content in that it displays your brand’s products on ‘real’ people with far more relatability than a professional model or a celebrity. 

  • Build aspirational value for your brand

There is something about UGC that builds brand desirability and makes users want to be a part of your online family. When they see your brand’s products looking good on other people, it fuels their imagination and helps them visualize themselves wearing them. 

  • Establish your fashion brand’s identity 

If you truly wish to make a mark for your fashion brand, you need to leverage user-generated content that helps you establish your brand’s personality and identity. 

For example, if you are a fashion brand that embraces diversity, user-generated content can help you showcase that through consumer images. 

Get Started With User-Generated Content For Your Fashion Brand

User-generated content comes in many forms and keeps evolving with time and changing user trends. Here are some of the tools to get you started with user-generated content for your fashion brand – 

  • Customer testimonials

Customer testimonials go a long way in building trust and credibility for your brand amongst existing users as well as prospects. Testimonials can be generated in video, audio, or text formats, and must be embedded on your product page to help users make informed buying decisions. Integrating user-generated content with your product pages can improve conversions by up to 64%.

  • Product reviews and images

Product reviews are absolutely essential pieces of user-generated content that can help boost your website’s SEO as well as your brand image and loyalty. This is important given that 70% of consumers prefer peer recommendations to professionally written copy. In fact, adding customer reviews to a product page increases page views by 10% over just two days.

  • Social media contests and giveaways

Social media giveaways and contests can help brands execute short-term UGC campaigns by engaging customers in return for rewards. Using brand hashtags or asking people to tag their friends is a common way in which fashion brands can leverage user-generated content to fuel online growth. 

  • Expert/influencer product videos

User-generated videos on YouTube get 10 times more views than any content created and uploaded by a brand. Videos are one of the most frequently consumed content formats by users who are interested in buying a product. Adding user-generated or expert videos testing or featuring your products can help brands build trust among customers and prospects. 

  • Repost user Instagram stories on your social media handle

Many social media users, especially Instagrammers use the ‘story’ feature to share their life updates with their online followers. Fashion brands can leverage user-generated Instagram stories showcasing their products and share them on their official social media accounts. Not only does this give your brand a more human voice, but it also encourages customers to consistently engage with your eCommerce brand. 

Conclusion

The next age of eCommerce will have customers at its center, from product customization and value to content creation. Successful brands are seeing brilliant results by leveraging user-generated content in every industry, but especially in fashion. This is especially true today in the post-pandemic world, where the industry is expanding, but the marketing techniques are becoming more user-focused, especially when it comes to content creation and sharing. 

UGC produces over 9.6% better conversion rates than regular branded photos and has clear benefits in comparison to traditional branded content. Fashion eCommerce brands need to leverage this novel, cost-friendly way of marketing themselves and building a strong connection with their consumers and brand loyalists. Considering how visual fashion eCommerce is as an industry, the right time to jump on the UGC bandwagon is now.

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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)

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