Your customers likely don’t shop the same way that they did pre-pandemic. Many businesses are desperately searching for ways to engage consumer interest and turn casual “window shoppers” into customers of their online store, as in-person shopping and parties are still not as prevalent.

But have 2020’s effects permanently changed the ways people see, shop and connect with the world? And if so, how will these changes impact the 2021 holiday shopping season?

Stackla’s new report provides some insight. They surveyed over 2,000 people regarding how and why they shop and what influences their purchasing decisions. The report illustrates how these online shopping surges aren’t going away and how today’s shoppers crave more authenticity from brands – especially in the form of personalized shopping. In fact, 83 percent of those surveyed said brands need to offer authenticity in shopping experiences, and 70 percent stated personalized shopping experiences are important.

Let’s take a look at other findings.

User-Generated Content Is the Authentic, Personalized Experience Consumers Seek

Brands allocate large budgets for professional photos and influencer marketing. And although it generated quite the buzz for a while, influencer content doesn’t present the return many brands had hoped for. In fact, of those surveyed:

  • Just 19 percent find authenticity in brand-developed content
  • Only 10 percent consider influencer-generated content authentic
  • Almost 80 percent prefer user-generated content, or UGC, and it greatly influenced their purchasing decisions

Some other key findings from the report suggest that the pandemic has amplified UGC’s influence. For instance:

  • 56 percent are more influenced now by images on social media compared to pre-pandemic
  • 72 percent prefer actual customer pics and videos when shopping online
  • 80 percent will be more inclined to make a purchase if the website includes actual customers’ images and videos
  • 64 percent (Gen Z) and 60 percent (Millennials) will leave a website without buying anything if there aren’t any customer pics or product reviews

In other words, UGC matters to consumers and it should matter to your brand – especially as you head into the 2021 holiday shopping season.

You Play a Role in Creating Your Brand Image

Your own user-generated content can play an active role across several of your marketing campaigns, especially your social media. It continuously feeds the need for fresh, evergreen content. And it’s one of the best strategies to engage customer loyalty. In fact, 60 percent of those surveyed said they’d be loyal to and more likely would buy from brands or people that invite them into a community of customer advocates. So don’t forget the importance of Facebook groups and online communities here either.

Not only do you get to be the content creator of your brand, but you can ask your customers to send you photos of themselves using your products.

That said, if you incorporate your own user-generated content, from photos to videos to lives, into your social media and customer experience, you’ll reap the rewards.

Learn more about Multibrain and how we can better manage your online business and social media profiles.

Source: “[New Report] Post-Pandemic Consumer Shopping Habits: Authenticity, Personalization & The Power of UGC.” Stackla, 11 Aug. 2021, https://stackla.com/resources/reports/post-pandemic-shifts-in-consumer-shopping-habits-authenticity-personalization-and-the-power-of-ugc/.