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1. What is user-generated content in ecommerce?

UGC ecommerce: Advantages, types, and tips for engagement

When you dive into the ecommerce world, you're looking to seize every possible advantage. One exciting frontier that's been transforming the industry is user-generated content (UGC). UGC is an authentic, engaging, and powerful SEO tool that boosts organic reach and conversion rates.

By embracing UGC, you can forge deeper connections with your customers and elevate your brand to new heights.

In this article, we'll explore the benefits and types of UGC and provide actionable tips for enhancing customer engagement through an effective UGC strategy.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • UGC (User-generated content) in ecommerce can significantly boost customer trust, engagement, and conversion rates, along with enhancing the brand's SEO and organic reach.

  • User-generated content can come in various forms, including customer reviews and testimonials, social media posts with branded hashtags, photo or video content, and participation in Q&A forums, which serve as social proof for your brand.

  • Effective UGC strategies often include offering customizable products, creating unique branded hashtags for social media, leveraging contests, and showcasing UGC content on product pages.

  • Strengthening a UGC strategy could also involve encouraging social media users to share their stories, setting clear participation guidelines, maintaining authenticity, and engaging with contributors responsively.

  • Ecommerce platforms like Gelato can be leveraged to effortlessly incorporate UGC, be it through customizable product designs or showcasing customer testimonials, fostering a stronger brand community.

What is user-generated content in ecommerce?

Customer reviewing product

In ecommerce, user-generated content (UGC) primarily refers to varying types of content created by the customers themselves. This includes not just text-based reviews or ratings but also videos, photos, social media posts, and any other creative expressions originating from their unique interactions and experiences with the brand. 

UGC vs. brand-generated content(BGC)

BGC is created by the company itself—think professional product photos, ad campaigns, or blog posts.

UGC, on the other hand, is spontaneously generated by users. It could be a tweet raving about your product, an Instagram post of a happy customer using your item, or a detailed review on your website.

The beauty of UGC lies in its authenticity, presenting real-life experiences that resonate with potential customers, often leading to amplified trust and higher conversion rates than traditional BGC.

Advantages of UGC in ecommerce

Engaged online community

Discover the game-changing benefits of leveraging user-generated content (UGC) in your ecommerce strategy, a powerful tool to boost brand awareness, engagement, trust, and conversions.

1. Builds trust and authenticity

UGC bolsters trust and authenticity, serving as digital word-of-mouth endorsements from real customers. It showcases genuine experiences and unbiased opinions about your products.

Unlike brand-generated content, which can often be construed as salesy, UGC underlines the authenticity of your brand, fostering a rapport that strengthens customer-brand relationships.

Additionally, seeing someone else vouch for your products generates trustworthiness and confidence in your brand, encouraging others to try it out themselves.

2. Enhances engagement

UGC significantly enhances engagement, given its ability to spark discussions and nurture a sense of community. Here, your brand is more than just a gateway to products; it's a conversation starter - a platform that listens and values customers' voices.

This results in stronger connections, cultivating loyal relationships steeped in mutual appreciation and respect. The key is to keep the conversation open and flowing, acknowledging and responding to UGC in real time.

3. Boosts SEO and organic reach

Leverage user-generated content to significantly improve your SEO and organic reach. Every piece of UGC, whether a product review or an Instagram post, brings fresh, authentic content, prepping your site with relevant keywords.

This richness in unique content sends positive signals to search engines, pushing your site higher in search rankings. Higher visibility in organic search results translates into more website visitors, enhancing your brand's reach and potential for business growth.

4. Increases conversion rates

UGC holds the potential to significantly boost your conversion rates. Seeing real-life people using and recommending your products inherently builds trust, and trust translates to sales.

This is particularly true when customer reviews, testimonials, and user-submitted photos or videos are incorporated on product pages. 

These elements create a sense of community and reinforcement around your product, encouraging potential customers to become actual customers.

Types of UGC in ecommerce

Filming creative product video

When choosing a platform to sell your artwork, you must evaluate its pros and cons for your success as an artist. Let's look at some platforms and then delve into key factors to make the right selection.

Dedicated art marketplaces 

These platforms are specifically designed for artists and their art lovers. They can offer a sense of community within the art world and accommodate a variety of art styles and mediums. Let’s take a look at some of the leading options. 

Saatchi Art 

Saatchi Art is a well-renowned art marketplace featuring work from artists all over the world. With a mission to connect artists with art lovers, Saatchi Art offers curated collections and personalized recommendations.

  • Key features: Curation and personalized recommendations, global shipping.

  • Target audience: Art collectors, interior designers, and commercial buyers.

  • Commission or fee structure: You earn a 40% commission on every sale.


Artfinder is an online marketplace aimed at helping independent artists sell their work. They promote original art and limited edition prints.

  • Key features: Mobile app, artist stories, original artwork, limited edition prints.

  • Target audience: Art enthusiasts, independent art buyers, and interior designers.

  • Commission or fee structure: 35-42% commission deducted on every sale.

General ecommerce platforms

These platforms can increase the visibility of an artist’s work to a wider audience outside of the traditional art community. They are also typically easy to navigate and often cost-effective. 


As a marketplace for handmade items, vintage goods, and craft supplies, Etsy offers a space for artists to sell unique art pieces and prints.

  • Key features: Personalized shopfronts, secure transactions, seller tools and analytics.

  • Target audience: Creatives, crafters, and collectors.

  • Commission or fee structure: Listing fee ($0.20 per item), transaction fee (6.5% on price including shipping).


Amazon, a giant in the online shopping world, offers an 'Art' category where artists can showcase and sell their creations.

  • Key features: Worldwide marketplace, customer reviews, advertising opportunities.

  • Target audience: General consumers of all demographics.

  • Commission or fee structure: 'Individual Selling' plan: $0.99 per artwork sold; 'Professional Selling' plan: $39.99 a month + selling fees.

Social media channels 

Social media platforms are increasingly used as sales channels, leveraging their large user bases and visual-friendly formats to sell art. 


As a visually-focused platform, Instagram is popular among artists for showcasing their work and connecting directly with fans and buyers.

  • Key features: Shoppable posts, story highlights, IGTV for artist talks and process videos.

  • Target audience: Millennials and Gen Z users, influencers, art and design enthusiasts.

  • Commission or fee structure: No upfront fees, but using paid features such as Instagram ads will incur costs.


Pinterest serves as an excellent platform for artists looking to broadcast and sell their work to a global audience in 2024. This visual social media site offers an ideal space for artists to showcase their beautiful creations in a setting ripe with creative and aesthetically driven individuals.

  • Key features: Business account, promoted pins, analytics

  • Target audience: Art lovers and high-intent shoppers looking to purchase high-quality artwork.

  • Commission or fee structure: You earn a commission on every sale made via affiliate link clicks.

Criteria to consider when choosing a platform 

When choosing a platform to sell your art, think about how it matches your unique art style, who your target audience is, and what your sales goals are. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Commissions and fees: What’s the cost of selling your art on the platform? Are fees based on listing, transactions, or commissions on sales?

  • Audience: Does the platform’s user base match your target audience in terms of demographics, interests, and buying behavior?

  • Usability: How user-friendly is the platform? Does it offer tools and resources to help manage your storefront and sales?

  • Support: Does the platform offer support services to help you address any challenges or issues that may arise?

  • Presentation: Is the platform designed in a way that lets your artwork shine? You'd want your art to look its best!.

Developing an effective UGC strategy: Nine best practices for engagement

Strategic planning for UGC

Leveraging UGC is exciting but requires a strategic approach. Let's delve into nine best practices that can grow your engagement in the ecommerce sphere under your UGC strategy.

1. Offer customizable products

Increasing customization options can spur users to get creative and share their exciting product designs. The unique blend of individuality and brand loyalty that customization offers is a powerful catalyst for user-generated content. 

By utilizing Gelato's print on demand capabilities, you can provide a vast range of customizable products, including but not limited to: 

  • Stylish t-shirts featuring dynamic designs;

  • Personalized mugs perfect for every coffee or tea lover;

  • Sophisticated wall art that captures personal memories or aesthetics;

  • Custom phone cases to show off individual style and protect devices;

  • Cherished photo books that bring together treasured moments.

These options can facilitate a more interactive and engaging shopping experience, prompting customers to contribute their own unique content.

2. Create a branded hashtag for social media platforms

Crafting a unique, branded hashtag for your business can amplify your presence on social platforms and allow you to harness the power of UGC effectively. 

Here's how you can make it work: 

  • Design a hashtag that's catchy, easy to remember, and strongly associated with your brand. This helps users identify and interact with your content more easily.

  • Ensure consistency in using this hashtag across all your social platforms to strengthen your brand identity.

  • Promote the use of your branded hashtag by incorporating it into your user-generated content campaigns, social media posts, and customer communications. Encourage users to use it when they share experiences or content related to your brand.

  • Utilize a content aggregator tool to collect and showcase posts featuring your hashtag, thus making it an interactive hub for UGC.

3. Leverage contests and giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a smart way to encourage your audience to generate content. They give customers an incentive to engage with your brand, thus nurturing a symbiotic relationship. 

Below are some crucial points to keep in mind: 

  • Ensure the entry mechanism is simple, preferably involving the task of sharing a photo or review of your product.

  • Publicize the contest or giveaway across all your social media platforms for maximum reach.

  • Make the contest or giveaway relevant to your brand and appealing to your target audience.

4. Showcase UGC on product pages

Product pages offer an ideal platform for showcasing user-generated content. Including customer images, video demonstrations, or written experiences can provide potential buyers with a 'real world' view of your product. 

This not only demonstrates the value your product offers but also establishes a community feel around your brand. 

Here's how to go about it.

  • Feature customer photos as visible proof of your product in action, shot by real users.

  • Integrate customer video reviews since visual demonstrations enhance authenticity and trust.

  • Include written customer experiences, as they provide invaluable insights and help resolve potential buyer's doubts.

5. Utilize influencer marketing

User-generated content in the form of influencer marketing has become a vital tool for ecommerce businesses. Influencers, with their established trust and deep connection with their followers, can augment your brand's visibility and credibility. 

Optimize your influencer marketing strategy by: 

  • Identifying influencers who align with your brand

  • Encouraging organic content creation to maintain authenticity

  • Engaging in longer-term collaborations for sustained impact

  • Measuring the ROI of influencer campaigns

6. Encourage customer stories

Encouraging customer stories can be a compelling way to generate authentic and relatable user content. Such stories showcase your products in real-life situations, forging deeper connections with potential customers. 

Here's how you can tap into this rich source of user-generated content: 

  • Simplify the process of sharing stories through direct product page links, email prompts, or social media call-outs.

  • Consider rewards like discounts, loyalty points, or exclusive access for customers who share their stories.

  • Highlight and share the best stories on your social channels or website to show appreciation and encourage further participation.

7. Establish clear guidelines and actively encourage participation

As you nurture your community, it's essential to establish clear guidelines about what type of content is encouraged. Provide examples and explicitly let your customers know how they can contribute.

You could: 

  • Invite customers through emails, social media posts, or on your site.

  • Offer incentives like discounts, features, or badges for active participants.

  • Create exciting challenges, events, or contests to inspire UGC creation.

8. Maintain authenticity and transparency

Maintaining authenticity and transparency is a cornerstone of an effective UGC strategy. Customers gravitate towards brands that are genuine and honest, so always ensure your UGC reflects your brand's true identity. Here's how you can accomplish this: 

  • Never fabricate or alter UGC. Allow your customers to voice their true experiences.

  • Clear communication about your products or services can help create an atmosphere of trust.

  • Responding to public feedback and queries highlights your commitment to customer service.

9. Engage responsively with contributors

Engaging responsively with contributors is a vital aspect of a fruitful UGC strategy. Some practical ways to interact responsively with contributors include: 

  • Quick and meaningful responses to UGC, like thank you notes or personalized messages, can prove valuable in reinforcing connections.

  • Felicitate and incentivize contributors by showcasing their content, thereby encouraging further generation of UGC.

  • Foster an environment where contributors can interact, share tips, and support each other’s creations. This builds a stronger, more engaged community.

  • Reward your most active contributors with sneak peeks, insider information, or early access to new products or services, making them feel valued and part of the brand's inner circle.

Maximize your ecommerce UGC campaigns with Gelato

Maximizing your ecommerce UGC campaigns becomes seamless with Gelato's print on demand solutions. With a wide range of customizable products like t-shirts, mugs, wall art, phone cases, photo books, and more, Gelato gives your customers the freedom to express their creativity and share their ideas. This not only boosts UGC but also deepens your brand's connection with users.

With seamless integration, your customers' designs can be showcased directly on your online store, fostering a community around your brand. Sign up for Gelato today, choose a subscription plan that suits your needs and objectives, and amplify your ecommerce journey.


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