Omnichannel. What does that even mean? If you’ve been to any of the big e-commerce trade shows recently, you’ve heard this buzzword being used more times than you can count. The perception of omnichannel still varies. Some marketers I’ve talked to perceive it to mean having the same look & feel on both your website and mobile experience. While that’s always a good idea, “real” omnichannel is a much bigger concept.
For the purpose of this post, let’s define omnichannel as the unification of different sales channels, such as your website, mobile app, or brick and mortar stores to provide your customers with continuity that feels like “one experience.” For example, lets say I’m a fan of your brand, I may go to your website and make a purchase, reserving the product for pickup in store. Then say I walk to that location of your store, go to the counter, show my mobile phone to identify myself, pick up my stuff and go home (or get Pizza from Grimaldi’s here in NYC).
In this example, you’ll see that I visited your website (online sales channel), then your brick and mortar store (physical location), next I pulled out your mobile app (mobile channel) to confirm I made that purchase, and finally I take a photo of the purchase and post it on Instagram along with your brand’s hashtag (social channel). So, when I interact with all these separate channels but experience them in a way that feels connected — that’s omnichannel.
You may have also noticed that I mentioned taking a picture and posting it on Instagram? Yeah, so that’s a thing and just like me, there are millions of other shoppers who take pictures of products from brands they love and are passionate about and share that content everyday. Brands who’ve tapped into the authentic power of consumer-generated photos have seen major results. Visual content that consumers love, and that drives up to 40% higher conversion is sitting there in plain sight waiting for you to use it.
Of course, the first step towards building a library of amazing consumer-generated content is to nurture a passionate community of customers.
If you already have an engaged audience on Instagram, here are some ways you can use UGC in your omnichannel strategy:
1. Display UGC photos on product pages: This is helpful because as a shopper I frequent Instagram for style inspiration and to see how others are wearing products from brands I love and as such seeing them again on your website or for the first time, makes use of the social channel in a unique way.
2. Email Campaigns: You can utilize user photos in product specific emails or in campaign emails. Especially do this when you are sending out post-purchase emails to display how other customers are wearing/using the same products and for cart-abandonment emails, this is really helpful as it serves as social-proof.
3. In-store Displays: In your store, you likely have giant product stock photos or display that use those images. Similar to that, you can integrate UGC photos so that when customers visit your website, Instagram account, etc, and when they visit a physical store, they see the same content or as long as they see some UGC photo content, that would be helpful.
These are just 3 of the possible ways you can use UGC photos from social media as part of an omnichannel strategy that creates an authentic 360 degree experience for your audience — and higher converting shoppers for you.