Progressive retailers are acknowledging the impact of user-generated content, and in turn, are featuring customer photos and feedback on their e-Commerce sites.
Bridal retailer the Dessy Group is harnessing the power of social media by integrating images shared on Instagram and Pinterest directly on the site home page. Using Fanreel, a solution developed by Curalate, a visual analytics and marketing platform provider, the retailer can easily collect, track and publish images shared by happy customers.
Prior to implementing Fanreel, the Dessy Group had difficulties curating actual wedding images that customers shared online, according to Alan Dessy, CEO of the Dessy Group. “Some of our competitors are really diligent about visiting customer posts and publishing images of their products in real life. Usually you just see photos of models that have been retouched. It’s a good angle to see what our products look like on real people.”
To kick off the photocollection process, the retailer visited Pinterest and Google Images to curate and tag images in which subjects were wearing the Dessy Group products. Then, the Dessy Group developed and started promoting the hash tag #DessyRealWeddings across social channels to drive fan participation.
“Overnight, we launched Fanreel with about 50 images from real weddings around the world,” Dessy said. After going live, “consumers started to find out about #DessyRealWeddings and share their images.”
All images are published on the front page of the site through a photo stream, which is promoted alongside top-selling items and information on new bridal trends.
A moderation tool provides Dessy with an easy-to-use platform to either reject or upload images, so all user-generated content is powerful and brand friendly. Fanreel also provides detailed analytics, so the Dessy Group can determine the impact of integrating user-generated content into the web site. Data integrated into the Curalate dashboard include page views, impressions, interactions, interaction duration and number of photos submitted, among others.
User-generated content, Dessy explained, provides “positive enforcement of our products, which also has an impact on overall conversions.”
The retailer’s growing focus on user-generated content also has had a significant impact on overall social presence and reach. Approximately 6,000 users are following the #DessyRealWeddings Pinterest board, an increase of 1,000 followers since launching Fanreel in September. The Dessy Group also has gained 300 Instagram followers within the same period of time.
Putting Social Into Focus
In 2014, social media is going to become “imminently more important to us,” Dessy said. “We’re doing a real push because we feel that social media, especially for our niche, is going to explode in the next year.”
Although Dessy compares staying ahead of the social media curve to “being lost in a rabbit hole,” he noted that solutions such as Curalate help make navigating — and succeeding — in social media far easier.
“We’d be blind on Pinterest and Instagram if we didn’t have Curalate,” Dessy said. “We have learned that your follower count isn’t the only metric that matters. For example, Pinterest is a top traffic driver for us. With our competitor analysis tool, we’re able to see that although our follower base is lower than some in the space, the number of pins we have exceeds theirs.”
Previously, the Dessy Group didn’t have insight regarding “who our followers were, what their behaviors were and we didn’t have a consolidated tool for publishing,” Dessy said. “We have a small team of about three people dedicated to social media and blogging. Being able to collaborate as a group through Curalate is a big deal for us.”