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UGC Best Practices: Getting Started For Retailers


Collect More Content

For retailers, brand participation is a key component of a winning UGC strategy. Follow these tips to encourage your brands to collect more UGC and improve their presence on your website.

1. Send Post-Purchase Emails

Sending post-purchase emails still reigns supreme as the best method for review collection. Our research shows that these follow-up emails generate between 70% to 90% of total review volume

Retailers can even synchronize in-store order data with PowerReviews to collect reviews for in-store purchases. This can make a major difference in your review collection efforts, especially for retailers where a large volume of sales are made in store, like grocery and pet supplies. In-person shoppers are more likely to make additional, unplanned purchases, so following up with these shoppers allows you to collect even more reviews! 

Best of all, this collection method generates results fast. Prior to collecting in-store reviews, wholesale retailer BJ’s was averaging between 4,000 to 6,000 reviews per month. After just one month of implementing in-store reviews, their average monthly review numbers increased by 499%, reaching over 33,000 reviews and staying steadily in that range ever since. 

2. Leverage UGC Syndication

With PowerReviews UGC Syndication for Retailers, your partner brands can push UGC content originally posted on their website onto your product pages. That means more UGC for you.

How do you get your brands to opt in? Let PowerReviews do the work. We’ll set up co-branded landing pages and targeted email sends that make it easy for your brand partners to inquire about participating in your UGC program.

To start the conversation with your brand partners, you need to prove out the value of both reviews on your site and your overall ecommerce program generally.

First, your brands need to be educated and bought in on the revenue your site can drive for them. Is it a valuable sales channel for them? If not, could/should it be? And what proof points can you provide to endorse this?

Second, highlight the incremental revenue impact of reviews on your site – ideally with data. Perhaps also outline how your search algorithm is impacted by reviews (i.e. more reviews = more traffic and better conversion). Essentially, you want to be able to prove how adding reviews to your site will result in tangible ROI for brands.

3. Encourage brands to respond to Q&A and reviews on your site

Empower your brand partners to interact and build relationships with customers via their product pages on your website. For example, they can answer questions left on your product pages and respond to specific reviews (At PowerReviews, our Brand Engage capability enables you to offer this capability).

Fostering customer Q&A as a place where your customers can expect to receive answers to their questions is an essential UGC best practice. That’s because of all three types of UGC — ratings and reviews, image and video, and Q&A — Q&A has the largest impact on conversion. Specifically, there is a 103.1% lift in conversion among site visitors who click on “Ask a Question.”

Not only does Brand Engage put the power in your brand’s hands, it also saves you, the retailer, time and resources. Best of all, it ensures your customers get their questions answered, eliminating uncertainty and easing their path to purchase.

Here’s an example from Ulta Beauty, where Estee Lauder representatives answer questions about a foundation.

4. Allow Customers to Leave Ratings Only

Display UGC for Maximum Impact

Now that you’re regularly bringing in fresh UGC, it’s time to make the most of it! Follow these UGC display best practices.

6. Curate UGC from Social Media

Shoppers aren’t only looking for written UGC. Many want to see visuals, too, with 94% of shoppers seeking out visual UGC at least sometimes — and 25% always seeking it out.

One of the easiest ways for retailers to generate visual UGC quickly and consistently is with social curation. Shoppers love sharing their latest finds on social media. With Social Curation, you can amplify their voice, and build out the UGC on your product pages.

Work with your CSM to set up social curation on your product pages, home page, and elsewhere on your website. These campaigns are easy to set up using hashtags and other identifiers. With PowerReviews’ In Real Life (IRL) Gallery, a simple JavaScript snippet brings your Instagram UGC gallery wherever you want it on your website — with shoppable calls to action that link directly to the featured products.

7. Display a Brand Score for Products With 0 Reviews

Is a new product in need of reviews? No problem. PowerReviews’ Brand Score is a tool that allows you to show a cumulative score for a brand on product pages that don’t have any reviews yet. 

This offers shoppers more information about a brand generally, which may reduce their hesitation about purchasing this particular product.

Until the product gets a review, the page will show an average rating for products by that brand in the same category. (Psst… you can also enable this feature for your private label products.) 

8.Create Review Displays That Convert

The ideal review display features a number of features that allow customers to find the UGC they seek, from review summaries and helpful votes to search and filter options. 

While the conversion impact of any one of these features can vary from retailer to retailer, we’ve found the following to be the most impactful.

Search and filter options let users choose from a list of common filters, or type in a specific keyword to find reviews relevant to them. As you might expect, once shoppers hone in on the reviews most relevant to them, they’re more likely to make a purchase. We’ve found a 202.9% conversion lift among visitors who use the search feature (over general visitors to the same page). PowerReviews can work with you to customize the filter options for your products, as well as the look and feel of the review feature so it matches your brand.

A review faceoff pits the Most Liked Positive Review against the Most Liked Negative Review at the top of your review display. This prominent position helps shoppers quickly identify the pros and cons of a product that have been most helpful for other shoppers to learn about. Our research shows there’s a 138.2% conversion lift for those who expand the positive review in the faceoff over general visitors to the same product page.

Adding “helpful” and “not helpful” voting buttons to your reviews invites shoppers to engage as they read through a product’s reviews. Interestingly, engaging with either button is associated with an increase in conversion rates: +314.7% for those who click “helpful,” and +182.4% for those who click “unhelpful.”

Our research has found these features to be generally helpful across industries, brands, and retailers. However, every retailer is different, and what works best for you may be different than your competitor (just take a look at our Inspiration Station!). That’s why PowerReviews continually analyzes what’s impacting purchases on your product pages. Based on the insights gathered from our analytics tools, we’ll provide suggestions to your team for ways to further optimize your review display and increase the value you’re getting from your UGC. 

9. Load Reviews at Lightning Speed

The load speed of your product page can be the difference between making a sale and losing a customer forever. 

That’s why PowerReviews built our displays to not only be the most flexible, but load faster than any other ratings and reviews vendor. We’re proud to say our code is the lightest around. Still, we encourage retailers to pay close attention to how their display affects load speed and identify additional opportunities to improve load speed on their product pages.

Analyze with world class tools

Regularly analyzing your UGC can help you see which review generation strategies are working. You can spot trends in your review collection. And, you can find low-hanging fruit, such as product pages missing reviews, visual UGC, or answers to Q&A.

10. Get a Bird’s-Eye View of Your UGC

At the highest level, you should be monitoring the headline data of your review program.  For example, the average rating shoppers encounter when browsing your website, along with how many reviews and images each product has. 

This information can help you understand where you stand in regards to industry benchmarks and consumer expectations. Generally, consumers tend to be suspicious of perfect 5-star ratings. They prefer average ratings around 4.5 stars. Focus your efforts on bringing lower-rated products above 4 stars.

11. Review Your Syndication Analytics

Syndication analytics reveal everything you want to know about your review syndication efforts. 

You can see how many brands are syndicating reviews to your website, and the total number of reviews you’ve generated through syndication. You can even compare how many more reviews syndication drives, on average, per product — a great selling point for brands you want to start syndicating to you.

12. Quickly Identify Products That Need a Boost

You can also analyze how your own review collection efforts are working, such as those you generate through post-purchase emails and sampling campaigns. In particular, these reports are extremely valuable for identifying high-opportunity products or categories that could be targeted for review collection.

The sooner you can discover a product has low ratings, the sooner you can fix it by sharing feedback with the brand. Once they address the issue, spin up a sampling campaign to generate new reviews and bring up the star rating.

13. Find Products With 0 Reviews

Review coverage is very important to consumers, second only to star rating. In an ideal world, one in four customers say they would love to see more than 500 reviews for a product. And, the more reviews a product has, the better, as this chart clearly illustrates: 

Special thanks to our friends at PowerReviews for their insights on this topic.
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