Coming up with new content for your ecommerce site can be challenging after a while. It starts to feel very “been there, done that.” But did you know there’s actually an oasis of engaging content out there, ripe for the picking? If you can harness its power, you’re guaranteed a never-ending source of fresh content your audience will love.

This is because the content doesn’t come from you; it comes straight from your satisfied buyers. It’s a win-win: They want to tell the world about their purchase and you do, too. Without further ado, here are four smart ways to use customer-generated content in ecommerce.

 

Customer Reviews on Website

 The effectiveness of consumer-generated content boils down to the power of social proof. People tend to trust what others say. Seeing others bought a product or love a brand can be very influential when it comes to persuading customers to convert. And, the numbers don’t lie.

As Business Insider reports, shoppers who interact with consumer-generated content are 97 percent more likely to convert than those who don’t. In turn, brands see a 78 percent boost in conversion rates.

One of the simplest ways to reassure shoppers that others have bought from your online store is to post customer reviews on product pages. Seeing positive reviews helps shoppers gain confidence in the item they’re considering—the more, the better. It’s the same effect as choosing to eat in a crowded restaurant because you figure the food must be good if it’s so sought-after.

Even negative reviews can be helpful because they bring possible pitfalls to shoppers’ attention. The key is collecting detailed reviews so users can know exactly what went wrong or fell short of expectations; while contributing to the honesty of your review section. This also allows shoppers to judge for themselves whether the failing was a specific situation or a general problem.

An example would be “my senior dog didn’t love this specific toy” (personal preference) versus “this toy fell apart in my dog’s mouth so we had to take him to the vet and get emergency surgery” (universal shortcoming).

 

Create a Social Media Hub for Customers’ Posts

 You’ve asked your social media followers to use a certain hashtag to share their photographs and stories involving your products.

So what are you going to do with them? You’ve created a handy hub for potential buyers to visit and scan user-generated content.

Just think back to Coca-Cola’s highly successful campaign asking users to share pictures of themselves with personalized bottles of soda. This campaign earned Coke a two percent increase in revenue.

Go beyond merely collecting social proof, develop a system for reposting the cream of the crop for all to see.

Social media is more important than ever in ecommerce. Social media platforms like Facebook can now directly integrate with cloud ecommerce software like Shopify. This means storeowners can use customer-generated content to target potential buyers at the point of purchase.

 

Host a Crowdsourced Contest

 

You have something online shoppers want for free. They have compelling content and creative ideas for promoting their favorite products. Tap into these motivations with a crowdsourced, content-based contest.

Ask your followers to submit photographs or stories for voting, then aggregate them in one place. People can vote with their “likes,” “favorites” or comments.

Just make sure your contest is legal on each respective social media platform. Be certain to also establish clear parameters so everyone knows what’s at stake.

 

Feature a Customer of the Week

Encourage customers to post by picking a “customer of the week” and rewarding their diligent sharing efforts.

You might send a free t-shirt to someone who shares a great gym story, or email a coupon for 25 percent off to someone who makes the funniest pun involving your products. This will boost brand loyalty as shoppers see the human side of your online store.

Call out customers via Twitter to let them know how much they mean to you: