Three billion: The number of products Amazon sells worldwide. With a number this high, it’s not surprising that 92 percent of American online shoppers say they’ve bought something on Amazon, and more than 40 percent say they purchase something on Amazon at least once a month. In fact, according to NPR, when people shop online, they’re most likely to start on Amazon.

So brands know that Amazon is a massive marketplace for their products, but with so many product pages out there, brands run into the challenge of making their products stand out. So how can you make sure your brand is not missing from the shopping cart?

Rule #1: Your Product Page is Not Complete Without User-Generated Content

Overwhelmingly, consumers trust other consumers to facilitate purchase decisions. But the truth is, marketers only have so much control over things like Amazon customer reviews and star ratings. A marketer’s primary jurisdiction is managing content presented to shoppers, namely on product pages. And while most marketers understand the importance of social proof, many will still fill product pages with hollow brand jargon and staged photos.

Seventy-eight percent of millennials are more interested in seeing user-generated content over professionally produced content. Simply put, consumers are more likely to engage with user-generated content than any other type of content. Injecting some social proof into your product page will help shoppers, especially hesitant ones, to gain confidence in both your product’s performance and value.

When it comes to choosing UGC, focus on showcasing rich content like photos and videos. Forty percent of consumers said it would most likely affect purchase decisions and shoppers are staggeringly 137 percent more likely to buy a product if they see customer photos of it.

Rule #2 Product Page User-Generated Content Should be Used to Create Stories, Not Push the Sale

Consumers crave authenticity and connection. It’s why an emotional connection with a brand matters more than customer satisfaction, and 57 percent of millennial women say a brand’s values and stance on issues that are important to them drive their purchase decisions. User-generated content presents the opportunity for marketers to authentically connect with their customers and capture how your product makes people feel.

While user-generated content that displays features and instructional how-tos are useful, content that tells a story will leave a lasting impact on shoppers. Smart marketers use user-generated content to offer alignment with the brand philosophy, and shared values and purpose carry much more weight when the brand isn’t the one doing the talking.

Rule #3 Rally Your Tribe: Build an Always-On User-Generated Content Engine of Brand Advocates

Authenticity drives conversion like nothing else, and user-generated content is the holy grail of authenticity. But if your e-commerce UGC strategy is a one-time, six-week campaign centered around an Instagram hashtag, you are missing out.

A user-generated content strategy must be an integral part of the marketing plan. One of the most effective ways to ensure a constant stream of user-generated content is by building a meaningful relationship with your best consumers. Marketers should think beyond traditional loyalty programs, as 28 percent of consumers are abandoning loyalty programs and 54 percent are inactive altogether.

Build an online community around your brand and make it easy for your ardent supporters to connect by giving them unique ways to communicate with your brand. A community that delivers engaging activities such as personalized offers, relevant discussions, polls, exclusive access and more, creates an environment to foster those relationships. This environment will yield a long-term arsenal of user-generated content creators who will happily share their experience.

We must remember that online shopping inherently creates an obstacle with shoppers. It is difficult for consumers to picture the benefits or quality of your product and this causes hesitancy. User-generated content fills this void and provides the social proof and information shoppers want to help validate their online purchases.

Interested in more?

Learn more about how to optimize your online brand community with our eBook, “Four Steps to Creating a Winning Brand Community Strategy”.

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