6 Reasons Fashion & Apparel Brands Need UGC

January 14, 2024

As a brand operating in the fashion space, the customers you make happiest are your most valuable assets. They promote your brand not because they have to but because they want to.

Adopting user-generated content (UGC) into your marketing strategy is vital to success. Whether promoting your apparel and footwear, growing your brand, refining your products, or strengthening the connection with the audience, tapping into UGC is essential. 

Let’s dive into six reasons why fashion and apparel brands must leverage UGC.

1. UGC builds trust with authenticity

It’s natural for brands to say their products are the hottest in the fashion industry. Yet, that’s the problem. Customers need authenticity.

People know ads are engineered to capture attention and influence behavior, but don’t trust them. Rather than trusting ads, consumers rely on each other to guide their shopping.

For instance, Amazon shoppers know reviews are untrustworthy because they’re easy to fake. Reviews are also swayed by compensation or free product programs, like Amazon Vine, which exacerbates the authenticity issue.

Shoppers need real, trustworthy feedback. When customers show off their new ‘drip’ (e.g., clothes, shoes, purses), they love your product. Seeing someone enjoy a product in a user-generated video creates a sense of trust traditional text reviews can’t replicate. 

Every piece of UGC a potential customer finds contributes to the authenticity and trust of your brand—which is crucial for shoppers who value actual experiences over the perfect ad. 

2. Gaining valuable customer insights

UGC is a goldmine of data that offers deep insights into how customers feel about products. Customer videos contain direct feedback about apparel items that help us identify sentiment. While videos show how people actually think about products, assessing the attitudes in the comments also adds to the insight.

For instance, analyzing a footwear or apparel brand’s UGC allows it to pinpoint which products resonate with customers. Sentiment analysis helps identify which items are popular and which aren’t to improve ad campaigns and future designs. 

3. Enhancing customer engagement

One of the most valuable components of UGC is creating a participatory culture that transforms the dynamic between your brand and customers.

When customers create their own videos wearing your clothing, they go beyond consuming and become involved with the culture around your items and brand. Engaging with customers who create and comment on content reinforces their sense of community and loyalty.

Making UGC video campaigns part of your brand’s narrative by encouraging and promoting customer participation nurtures relationships beyond simple transactions. This strategy develops a community of engaged shoppers and builds the culture around your brand.

4. UGC is a cost-effective marketing strategy

Video marketing has historically been a costly endeavor for businesses. From planning and production to distribution, there are many players involved in traditional video ad campaigns, and the costs add up quickly. 

With UGC, your customers do all the heavy lifting for you. All brands must do is repurpose their top UGC content. This approach allows companies to maximize organic exposure without the hefty price tag of professional video production.

5. Expanding organic reach and going viral

In-house teams are always wondering why the a sudden bump in traffic to a specific item or brand. They invest countless hours investigating their campaigns for any clues about what they did and can do again. Meanwhile, a viral video is responsible for the surge in their recent activity. 

UGC extends your brand's reach organically as users share their experiences across their personal networks. According to the six degrees of separation, friend networks are more connected than we realize (we’re only up to six connections away from any other person). Every time a customer shares content, it reaches their friends, families, and followers who wouldn’t have found your brand otherwise. 

Assessing what’s working well for your brand, alongside competitor analysis, helps you identify videos with the potential to go viral and find creators with large networks who may consider a more strategic creator partnership—further improving the chances of going viral.

6. Promoting diversity and inclusivity

Many brands struggle to balance promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion sincerely. Compared to traditional advertisements featuring paid models, UGC enhances cultural representation and authenticity in marketing. 

UGC breaks away from the often unattainable beauty standards set by professional model-centric ads. Instead of scripting DEI, UGC allows brands to let their customers demonstrate the cultures supporting their products. When fashion brands showcase videos of real customers, they’re supporting various styles, backgrounds, and body types in the image of the actual customer.

This shift is crucial for apparel brands because it builds trust and loyalty among consumers, who feel more connected to companies that honor real-life diversity and authenticity.

What is the impact of user-generated content in the fashion industry?

The impact of UGC in the fashion industry profoundly shapes brand engagement and consumer trust. Including customer reviews and photos enhances the shopping experience.

As UCLan identified in a case study on the renowned fashion e-commerce brand SHEIN, brands that directly incorporate customer photos and feedback on their product pages give consumers a genuine view of what they're buying and guide purchase decisions​.

This approach builds trust by showcasing real-life uses of products and empowers consumers by making the marketing experience more relatable. Consequently, fashion brands that effectively use UGC can significantly improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Harnessing UGC to power your brand

In the fashion industry, user-generated content (UGC) builds trust through authentic testimonials and customers seeing other people wearing and using the products. It opens the door to sentiment analysis directly from the consumer base.

Moreover, UGC enhances engagement by involving customers directly in the brand's narrative, creating a sense of community and belonging. This approach to sourcing creative media is cost-effective as it leverages the free content that customers willingly create. Genuine endorsements reduce marketing expenses and increase organic reach.

Lastly, UGC encourages diversity and inclusivity by featuring a wide range of real customers, which helps to promote a more inclusive brand image. Collectively, these factors underscore why embracing UGC is critical for fashion brands aiming to maintain relevance and foster loyalty.

Are you ready to take your UGC marketing to the next level? Contact Vyrill to learn more about incorporating UGC video campaigns into your marketing strategy.

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About the author

Ajay Bam is the CEO and Co-founder at Vyrill, a first-of-its-kind video intelligence company launched in 2017 through UC Berkeley’s Skydeck Incubator program. Vyrill helps brands and shoppers find the “moments that matter” inside videos. Its AI-powered “In-Video’' search technology analyzes & shares insights hidden within videos to improve personalization, SEO, and conversion. Before Vyrill, Ajay launched Boston-based, mobile shopping app company Modiv Media. He is a proven and accomplished product management professional, entrepreneurial thinker, and innovator with more than 13 years of experience leading startups and world-class brands.

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