The estimated sales of online furniture and homeware brands for 2018 was expected to be close to $190 billion. As the world of eCommerce gets more sophisticated, it’s consistently becoming easier for online furniture brands to digitally sell their products. That is, if brands are willing to latch on to the latest trends in online social selling, namely: User Generated Content.
eCommerce brands across the globe are beginning to understand the power of stretching their social media engagement further by integrating customer content into their marketing efforts. While many industries benefit from this strategy, online furniture brands have a lot to gain.
Here are 5 concrete reasons why customer content is a must-have in any furniture brand’s eCommerce paired with examples from leading homeware brands.
1. Riviera Maison: Help online customers understand product sizes and styles
A big hesitance when selling furniture products online is the fear that your customers won’t understand how your brand’s products will actually look in their own home.
Your customers are asking themselves: Will it be too small? Will it overpower the room? Will the material actually look how I imagine it does? How will it integrate with the rest of my furniture??
Luckily, User Generated Content is there to abate these buying qualms before they even begin.
Premium furniture brand, Riviera Maison, has collected over 50,000 User Generated images from social media through the Photoslurp platform to be used in their eCommerce efforts. Their goal? To give their customers another way to understand how their products will actually look in their own homes.
“I think with the products we sell, it’s fairly common that people don’t really know what to expect in terms of size. For example: with a coffee cup, we have small, medium, large and extra large, and it’s difficult to take a photo that conveys the exact size. So we display a Photoslurp image below the product image, showing a person holding the coffee cup. It really helps to show our products in perspective because it’s more clear to the customer what to expect when they order something.”
– Leonie Sta van Uiter, Online Development Coordinator with Riviera Maison
Their UGC galleries and carousels are integrated directly into their homepage and within product pages to give their customers every opportunity to shop the brand’s earned content.
Not only does this make for a happier customer, it also reduces the eCommerce return rates of customers sending back products that didn’t meet their expectations.
For more on how Riviera Maison leverages UGC in their eCommerce, check out the rest of their case study. For now, let’s move on to inspiring online shoppers with customer content.
2. SuperStudio: Give your customers style inspiration from real homes
While your brand’s personal styling ideas are useful, it can’t beat the enthusiasm that comes with a happy customer styling their own home with your products. Plus, this styling isn’t appearing in a showroom or a product display; it’s real people who face real styling challenges and have found solace in your online furniture brand. Nothing is more inspiring for your future customers!
With UGC, let your customers inspire future shoppers by including their images and videos in your online buying process. Their styling ideas will also give your brand a glimpse into the minds of your customers, which can inspire how you design them in the future or even how you display them in your store.
Home furnishings brand, SuperStudio, takes their UGC gallery one step further by including HotSpots or numbered tags in their customer content that show shoppers where each product appears in the photo.
This feature is really useful for online furniture brands, as home products are fully integrated into the daily lives of their users. Maybe they even have 2 or 3 pieces to show-off in one picture! HotSpots help make the shopping journey more compelling and can add a more interactive touch to your inspiring UGC integration.
While you inspire customers with your UGC, you’ll also notice the difference back in sales. Let’s move on to how customer content can help you convert.
3. Jennifer Taylor Home: Increase your eCommerce conversions with authentic UGC
We can’t forget the selling power that comes with User Generated Content, especially when it’s directly connected to your products in your eCommerce store. We see an average 15% increase of conversion rates with authentic UGC, but online furniture brands have the potential for much more.
Jennifer Taylor Home has seen a conversion rate increase of 49.7% with their customer content integration, including a 22.06% interaction rate. Numbers like these make UGC a no-brainer.
Not only will you see an increase back in sales with UGC, but it also helps your brand save money, time and resources on creating content by leveraging the content that’s being produced for you. It’s a more sustainable content strategy with the added bonus of a devoted brand community!
Jennifer Taylor Home also agrees with Riviera Maison on the importance of giving your customers the best chance to understand how your home decor products will fit into their home.
“I think UGC is very important especially for a product category such as furniture. Even though we list our products with the dimensions, some people can’t actually picture in their mind how big or small the item actually is. To see it in a real life setting, they actually get a better idea of what the product will look like in terms of size and everything else.”
– Vu Tong, eCommerce Account Manager with JTH
Read more about JTH in their case study here. For now, let’s move on to customer engagement.
4. Kavehome: Extend social engagement into your eCommerce marketing efforts
I’m sure I don’t need to sell you on the benefits of social selling, the potential for eCommerce brands is huge. If you’re looking for some tips on how to meet customers where they spend their time (namely Instagram), then you can catch up on our Instagram Marketing Strategies here. Otherwise, it’s time to extend that engagement past the confines of social media.
If you have customers posting on your hashtag, tagging, or mentioning your brand, this is amazing for your social media engagement. And guess what? It can also mean the same for your eCommerce engagement.
It’s one thing to include images from social media in your eCommerce store, but it’s a whole different story when you can make that content shoppable and attribute conversions to specific pieces of content or users.
We’ve all seen brands repost customer images on social media with major success, but now leading brands are doing more with that content. For example, Kavehome.
Users love engaging with social content while it’s on social media, and this remains true when it’s brought into your online store. UGC is 5X more likely to convert than professional content because it’s more authentic and engaging. Use that to your advantage!
Plus, it makes a much more cohesive brand image and customer journey. You can even use UGC insights to see which users post for you the most and which content is the most successful. Then, utilize this intel to feature other content that will convert or foster better relationships with influencers and users.
Let’s move on to our last reason why furniture brands should leverage UGC. Two words: social proof!
5. VOX: Leverage social proof by converting UGC into visual reviews
We’ve talked about conversions, engagement and style inspiration. But there is one huge UGC benefit that we still haven’t covered: gaining trust through visual reviews.
You may already use a reviews service to gain your customers’ trust, which is a reliable way to show the value of your products. But you should be hitting users from all sides with your reviews, and that includes visual examples of how your customers feel about your products.
Pairing visual reviews with written reviews is a great way to ensure that your customers find your products reliable and desirable with the help of social proof.
Give your customers more reason to trust your brand by letting other people tell them they should – just like online furniture brand VOX does with their customer content.
Visual content is useful because shoppers not only get to read the captions from social media, but they also get to see exactly how well your products work in the homes of others. Plus, they know it’s coming from a real person and has not been generated by the brand. It’s a win-win with UGC reviews!
“Personally, I believe Photoslurp instills buyer confidence just by showcasing what other consumers have purchased. I would even consider UGC as a review feature because a lot of the content is tagged with actual commentary. I think it’s very beneficial.”
– Vu Tong, eCommerce Account Manager with Jennifer Taylor Home
Online furniture brands & UGC
As furniture brands become more aware of these customer content benefits, it will only up customers’ desire to see this kind of media within their shopping journey.
Shoppers want to know that the product they’re buying will be reliable, meet their expectations and look good within their home. All of this can be accomplished when you integrate User Generated Content into your eCommerce store.
With easy integration that adapts to the look and feel of your brand, having a successful customer content strategy has never been easier.