1. Blog
  2. Customer Marketing
  3. Reviews and UGC

7 Ways DTC Brands are Using Reviews and UGC to Drive Conversions

Aug 23, 2020 | 6 minute read

7 Ways DTC Brands are Using Reviews and UGC to Drive Conversions

Amanda Calderon

DTC brands thrive when they focus on two things: visibility and authenticity. In fact, 90% of consumers claim that authenticity is incredibly important when they’re choosing a brand to buy from.

The trouble is, shouting about how authentic you are is very… inauthentic. Instead, put the power in your customers’ hands and let them provide the proof for you.

According to research, 60% of consumers believe user-generated content (UGC) is the most authentic form of content. The best part is, UGC like reviews and customer photos can be intricately woven into the buying experience.

For DTC brands, this is key. At their core, they challenge traditional sales techniques by owning every part of the buyer journey. Integrating a powerful form of content like UGC allows them to provide a complete and customer-centric shopping experience that builds community and boosts conversions.

Here are some key ways DTC brands are leveraging UGC to drive conversions.

1. Improve Products Through Customer Reflection

Reviews cast a light on the experience of individual customers. For DTC brands, sculpting this experience into something highly enjoyable is an absolute must if they want to gain a competitive edge. Creating a slick customer journey is the key to building trust and loyalty — something DTC brands heavily rely on in a saturated and competitive industry.

Take beauty brand Glossier as an example. It takes insights from customer feedback and reviews and uses it to enhance and improve its products. This tactic has seen the brand’s Net Promoter Score rise to 83 where most other retailers sit at around 50.

Eyeliner product improvement based on customer reviews

2. Repurpose UGC to Optimize Social Ads

The great thing about UGC is it instantly provides a catalog of content that can be repurposed and reused in multiple ways. One of the most effective ways to leverage customer photos and reviews is to incorporate them into social ads, whether it’s a Facebook carousel or an Instagram Story ad. Research shows that UGC-populated ads generate 5x higher click-through rates.

West Elm A/B tested its Facebook ads with and without UGC. The brand found that the ads pushed out with UGC generated 2.6x more click-throughs than those without, and ROAS increased too.

Photos from customers in social media ads

3. Build Trust in International Markets

Global expansion is a major goal for growth-minded DTCs. Breaking into niche markets around the world lets brands reach new audiences and strengthen their visibility. But entering these markets with no proof and no previous connections can be a recipe for disaster. This is where UGC swoops in and saves the day by providing new markets with the social proof they need to feel comfortable buying from an unknown brand.

Silk Laundry did exactly this when it leveraged the positive brand experiences of its existing customers to connect with new markets. The brand used Okendo to populate product pages with past customer insights, which dramatically increased shoppers’ pre-purchase confidence and excitement.

Silk Laundry dress PDP page with star ratings

4. Populate Product Pages with UGC

Consumers today actively seek out the experiences of past customers to determine the value of a product. Adding UGC and reviews to product pages gives potential buyers the proof and reassurance they need to part with their money. Product pages are a core part of the sales funnel and, when UGC is included in the online purchase path in hotspots such as this, it can increase conversions by 10%.

Born Primitive relies heavily on sharing the experiences of its customers to foster a community of like-minded shoppers. For a specialist clothing brand, reviews on product pages incorporating customer photos are especially beneficial. They eliminate worry about size and fit, and create a safe and comfortable space for shoppers to consider their purchase.

Born Primitive showing customer photos of a mountain, beach, and travel setting of customers using their products

5. Showcase Brand Popularity and Tap Into FOMO

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a very real thing. When a consumer is presented with a ton of five-star reviews that sing a product’s praises, they’re going to want in on that action. Proving the popularity of their products is important for DTC brands that are competing with mass marketplaces and other third-party platforms.

Adding a simple UGC gallery can increase the time shoppers spend on-site by 90%, while sites with featured UGC can see a 20% increase in return visitors. Shoe brand Paul Evans has wised up to this. It showcases a carousel of reviews on its homepage to give new customers an insight into just how popular the products are.

Reviews carousel of dress shoes

6. Convert qualified social traffic

DTC brands often thrive on social media where they can build a loyal following and connect on a more personal level with their buyers. Getting customers to follow through to a site after checking out a social post is the first hurdle — then it’s converting those visitors once they land on-site. This is where UGC is a powerful ally.

Take Perfect Sculpt, for example. This brand sprinkled reviews along the path a customer might take after arriving from social media. This instilled trust throughout the buyer journey and kept the momentum going.

A review from a customer with the title "very impressed"

7. Stand Out on Google Shopping

Many consumers today turn to Google for their shopping needs. Through Google Shopping, they can get a snapshot of relevant products in one place, compare pricing, and browse multiple different stores at once. It essentially acts as an aggregate ecommerce marketplace. Incorporating reviews into their Google Shopping entries can help DTC brands stand out and convert new customers.

ROAM Luggage does exactly this. They leverage reviews in their Google Shopping campaigns to increase buyer confidence for their premium, easily-customized luggage – higher ticket items often require more “proof” before a shopper takes the leap. By using Okendo to sprinkle their product listings with reviews, they managed to increase their revenue by 189% and decrease CPA by 74%.

Luggage product listings on Google Shopping showing the aggregate of the product's reviews

There’s no limit to the power of UGC

For DTC brands, building a community boosts visibility and ultimately drives more conversions. UGC — whether it takes the form of reviews, images or videos — fosters this vital sense of community and adds an element of peer approval to the buyer’s journey.

There’s no denying the versatility and power of UGC. Be like the smartest DTC brands and leverage it to the fullest extent.

Ready to learn more?

Let's Talk