26 May 2015

Using UGC effectively

For two weeks, I have been working full-time for Olapic, a SaaS company that focuses on using UGC to create conversions. Olapic has very fundamental beliefs that focus on getting rid of white backgrounds for products. It’s that simple. Are you more likely to like that shoe/shirt/television/car/hotel/etc if you see it out of context in a sterile vacuum or if you see a real person using/interacting with it?

So here’s how it works. Companies post photos of their products to product description pages (PDPs) and show the product in the blandest way possible. People post photos of them using the same product all over Twitter, Instagram and others. Now the brand tells people to keep doing that, but with a hashtag (e.g. #AwesomeCompanyRocksMySocks). Olapic runs around the web looking for every photo with that hashtag and presents it to the brand that was smart enough to be an Olapic client. The brand then chooses all the photos that contain that hashtag and are content they want to use and they approve them.

Also, all the while, the brand has a short 2-3 line javascript snippet that calls to an Olapic widget and displays all of the photos, on the brand’s website, that have been approved. Now shoppers get to see all of the products in a contextual way. What’s more is that the shopping experience has changed.

On one hand, you get to see all the products in a typical shopping environment, but you see UGC below it that help you make a decision. That is the flow if you’re shopping first and adding the UGC experience.

On the other hand, if you’re looking at a stream of photos posted by people, you can “shop this look” and be taken to a PDP to buy something you saw. That is the flow if you’re browsing UGC and want to purchase.

Either way, we are seeing huge conversions in online shopping because we get to see a product in use by people like us before forking over our hard earned money. I’ve always said that context is the real king.