How to Leverage User-Generated Content for E-Commerce & Shopify

Tagged posts, review images, and more — customers are creating more content than imaginable. See how user-generated content can benefit your Shopify store.

Using User-Generated Content for Your Shopify Store

No matter what you sell or who your audience is, the biggest obstacle in converting store visitors into customers is earning consumers’ trust. Trust is not something easily gained when it comes to e-commerce, and every store struggles with showing that they’re trustworthy — especially smaller ones. Demonstrating trustworthiness doesn’t have to be difficult though, and usually just takes adding some user-generated content to your storefront, marketing campaigns, and social media. User-generated content (UGC) refers to media content created by customers of a brand or store. User-generated content is the easiest way to boost sales without spending money on ads or other similar marketing measures.

What Is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is content created for a brand by the consumers who interact with it, as opposed to content made by the brand or business itself. It’s a broad term, and refers to content of any medium, including photos, videos, GIFs, and more. While user-generated content typically refers to content created by consumers or those in a brand’s audience, in the case of larger companies, may even refer to content generated by non-marketing employees.

Consumers’ Faith in Other Customers’ Reviews

Customers can visit phenomenal websites filled with great products and a flawless customer experience and still worry that the items they buy will actually meet their expectations. Unfortunately, the nature of sales means every online shopper has been burned at least once, and therefore has somewhat of an innate distrust for e-commerce businesses. One way to mitigate this is through user-generated content.

Consumers trust one another far more than they trust a company, and they’re more likely to buy when they see other positive reviews, especially those with customer images that accompany them. In fact, in one survey, 54% of consumers stated that they trust information in reviews from peers, but only 20% trust information from the brand itself. Take into account that any brand trust is likely for larger corporations with established followings, and you’ll quickly see why UGC is absolutely necessary for smaller Shopify stores.

How to Source User-Generated Content

Remember that user-generated content might be to your brand’s benefit, but it’s for your consumers. Gather and create content that doesn’t just promote your brand, but adds to the lifestyle it encourages by being exemplary media that other consumers want to see. Here are three common ways businesses will find and source user-generated content.

Submitted Reviews

Has a customer provided a review with a picture on a recent purchase? There’s a good chance they’d be okay with you using it for marketing purposes! Consider adding a button or clause on your reviews that allows customer images to be used as part of your site’s feed or as social media content. You can also offer incentives to encourage users to submit photos. For instance, many brands offer a percentage off your next purchase should you leave a complete review with an attached image. You’ll often find these photos to be better-than-expected quality, and far more authentic than any product images curated in a studio setting.

Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags refer to unique hashtags not already in popular use that represent your store. They give customers the chance to engage with you, and work best on platforms that rely on hashtags like Twitter and Instagram. It’s the easiest way to find user-generated content, and you’ll be able to search through your own hashtag whenever necessary. With time, you’ll find you can even rely on it for a majority of your social calendar! As a tip, it’s best to choose branded hashtags that put the focus on the consumer. While your store’s name is effective, it’s not necessarily the most fun nor engaging option. Consider hashtags along the lines of “[Brand] x Me,” “How You [Brand],” “My [Brand],” and similar.


If you’re struggling for the user engagement you need to pull off user-generated content, opting for a giveaway or similar incentivised-style submission is a great way to pull in customers. Photo contests and themed prizes encourage participation, and then these photos can be used for your social media accounts. Be sure to tag customers’ personal accounts; when you highlight specific people in this way, you make them feel special. This raises the chance that they’ll share your brand’s post with their immediate followers. Keep in mind that their friends are likely to have similar interests, so it’s an audience you want to reach.

Our Expertise in E-Commerce Conversion

At Radiant, we’ve helped Shopify stores just like yours transform their websites into e-commerce platforms that convert with ease. Our web development team specialises in key conversion modules for your site, including those that incorporate user-generated content. In a society where everyone carries phones with high-quality cameras and a time when so many greatly utilise apps like VSCO and Photoshop, it only makes sense to ask your customers to engage in the content creation process with you. Get in touch today to see how we can add Instagram feed plug-ins, self-populating review modules, and even custom media content that encourages customers to share their experience with your brand.