With stores and retailers facing lockdown periods and intermittent closures, it’s no wonder in-store shopping was down 25% during the first quarter of 2020, and 75% by the second. Shoppers, though, are still shopping, they have just taken their business online.
The growth of e-commerce
E-commerce has shown a significant uptick in 2020 with an average growth of 20% in the sector. That doesn’t mean, however, that savvy businesses aren’t able to get even more out of their e-commerce channels. Walmart, for instance, was able to grow their e-commerce sales by 97% in the second quarter of 2020.
With more and more retailers understanding that ‘going digital’ can be the difference between the life and death of their business, ensuring you have a strong online presence is vital, especially with Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season just around the corner. In fact, many retailers have such confidence in these trends that they are signaling that they will close their physical stores completely on Black Friday, relying completely on e-commerce sales.
While competition for buyer attention on big events such as Black Friday was extremely high while only contending with retailers in your physical area, businesses are now looking for a competitive edge in the online landscape, where competition has escalated to a global playing field. With the growth of social media, it’s no surprise companies are turning towards User-Generated Content to give them that necessary edge.
What is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
Essentially, UGC is content that is created by your customers—not your marketing team. This can be anything from an online review or rating to a photo or video with your product.
It’s importance is clear—buyers value authentic opinions on products and brands. In fact, 82% of shoppers say that UGC is extremely valuable to them when making a purchase decision. Not only is it an important way of attracting new customers, it’s an invaluable method of retaining customers and receiving genuine feedback into customer experiences which can then help you identify any processes that need improvement.
How do you leverage UGC and boost your online presence?
The key to boosting UGC and access the growth that comes with it is by creating a plan that engages your customers. More specifically, you are looking to engage your ‘Power Users’, your brand’s most active and engaged customers. These users are your competitive edge over other brands.
Engaging these users in different ways will unlock a new world of organic growth for your brand. This can be done through engaging them on social media with polls, by sharing their content and asking for reviews, by setting up specific campaigns and milestones they can achieve, and by offering them rewards for referrals or other helpful acts. The target is always to make these users feel valued and encourage them to act as your ambassadors. Some brands have seen up to 300% growth in their online sales using this method.
Like anything in life, this is best achieved by having an organised ‘plan of attack’—a proper customer engagement plan—and not done by sporadic actions here and there. You need to make sure the steps you outline for yourself are achievable, realistic, and sustainable in the long run. You should consider using a specialized tool, like Innercircle, that can help you create a plan that’s right for you and execute it automatically, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
Black Friday done right
With the decrease in physical sales and surge in e-commerce, now is the time to focus on your competitive edge when it comes to your online presence. Preparing your brand sooner rather than later will ensure that you reach Black Friday and the holiday period at the forefront of your industry and with an active customer base who will be more than happy to turn to you for their shopping needs.
Turn your customers into your competitive edge with Innercircle’s all-in-one platform: