All shoppers have their favorites. Their favorite skincare products, home decor brands, and pet items. And, there’s no doubt that your customers consider you a favorite brand. But to reach new shoppers, you need to focus on growing your retail sales channels.
A well-designed channel sales strategy will deliver optimal results, helping you take your sales to the next level. Specifically, having a rich product detail page full of user-generated content (UGC) will create a higher-trafficked, more-engaging, and higher-performing product page.
And, partnering with retailers will help you reach new audiences.
What is a sales channel?
A sales channel is where consumers meet your brand, whether for the first or the hundredth time. They’re the sales strategy for your organization, and they include direct sales channels, indirect sales channels, and distribution channels.
While an omnichannel experience boosts customer acquisition, it’s crucial to focus on the channels that work best for your brand. Developing your channel sales strategy and getting your products on retailers’ digital or physical store shelves will deepen connections with your existing shoppers and inspire new ones.
What are the top sales channels?
There’s a number of different sales channels, their importance varying depending on your type of business. Generally, the top sales channels are:
- E-commerce. Any transaction that’s completed online
- Retail. When a business sells through another store, like selling your goods at Samsclub.com
- Marketplaces. These include traditional marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy, or modern marketplaces like social media platforms or Shopify
- Direct-to-consumer. For example, buying Nike shorts directly from Nike’s website
- Wholesale. Selling your products, usually in bulk, to businesses who then retail them
How to boost your sales channels strategy for retail
If you’re a brand selling at retail, you’ll want tips on how to increase sales and drive conversion at key retailers. Here’s the top three ways to optimize your retail channel sales strategy.
1. Use visuals to enhance product detail pages
Product detail pages (PDPs) are the web pages where shoppers go when they want detailed information about a specific product on a retailer’s site. They give shoppers everything they need to know about something so they can buy it with confidence: colors, dimensions, material, shipping details, and a call-to-action, such as a “buy now” button.
Well-crafted PDPs are where shoppers go to actually purchase. They help build brand trust, generate new customers, and minimize returns and complaints.
Boost PDPs with UGC photos
Visual content is a crucial component of a PDP. Professional product photos are great, but photos from real shoppers are better at connecting with consumers. Featuring visual UGC, including photos and videos, gives consumers a glimpse at how products look, work, and feel in real life.
Based on our own research, visual UGC on product pages can generate a 45% revenue lift, a 31% conversion jump, and a 16% higher order value. And images from social media make shoppers 6x more likely to buy from a PDP.
So, how do you collect vthis isual UGC? There’s several quick ways to do so, including review request emails, searching social media, and sampling programs.
Use sampling to fill PDPs with visuals
Product sampling — where you give consumers a product to try in exchange for a review — can really boost UGC volumes. With our product sampling campaigns, we’ve found that when they sample something, 63% of consumers purchased the product again, 50% said it became a new staple in their lives, and 87% recommended the product or brand to others.
From a results standpoint, it’s been a positive experience to see that we can get 10-15 reviews for new products quicklyHannah Kredich, Category Specialist, Petco
Petco’s Spotted Sampling Program, for instance, delivers crates, pet food, collars, and treats from brands to pet parents in exchange for honest reviews at Petco.com. The campaign has increased review volume by 405%, generated a 9% lift in review ratings, and brought in a slew of adorable pet photos — revving up brand and retailers’ visual UGC.
Display UGC across channels
Whenever you collect UGC, make sure the visuals align with your brand and resonate with your consumers across different retail channels. To maintain trust with shoppers, be sure to label any influencer content as such and establish a strategy for moderating content to weed out fake reviews. Or, you can work with a content moderating partner to help.
Syndicating visual UGC — when you distribute reviews and photos on retailer websites — lets you reach our network of 1.3 billion shoppers with exciting and authentic content, everywhere they are. Our retailers see 20x more shopper traffic with retail syndication.
Content syndication helps brands elevate shopping experiences. It ensures you have plenty of high-quality content on your PDPs that help shoppers make informed, confident purchasing decisions. Consumers perceive visual UGC as authentic and trustworthy, akin to getting a recommendation from a friend or family member.
Enhancing PDPs with high-quality visuals can significantly improve your channel sales strategy by increasing conversions, building trust, and providing a better shopping experience across direct and indirect sales channels.
For indirect sales channels like retailers, providing top-notch visuals makes it easier for them to sell your product, improving your relationship and positioning with these partners. It also helps them maintain a level of quality on their platform.
2. Enhance relationships with online retailers
Maximizing your retail sales channels depends on building and maintaining solid relationships with retailers. Digital and physical shelf space is competitive, and retailers are a crucial player in your success. Their goal is to drive sales and profits, and they do that by having a firm grasp on who their customers are and what they want.
Remember, flexibility and adaptability are key when collaborating with retailers to maximize the benefits of your partnership. Most already have decades of experience working with brands and know what works and what doesn’t.
Use UGC to stand out with retailers
UGC helps you tell your brand story and shows retailers what you’re all about. Collecting reviews and customer photos, via sampling, social media, and review request emails, helps you gain insights into what shoppers think about you and your products and demonstrates how your products perform.
Rug and home decor brand Nourison worked to grow its retail partners by expanding and improving the content mix on its PDPs. Nourison relies on UGC to help shoppers make informed decisions, since its customers have unique needs around sizes, styles, and prices.
Nourison syndicates UGC to 32 retailers worldwide, including Target.com, and brings major value to its retail partners. Since it’s devoted time to strengthening relationships with retailers, the brand has seen a 4x lift in conversions and a 3x lift in revenue.
Create win-win retailer relationships
Retailer partnerships are mutually beneficial. They increase brand and retailer awareness, for one. When your fans know they can get your products at major retailers, they might pick them up on their usual Target or Walmart run. That’s a win-win.
You’re helping bring your existing customers to the retailers. And new shoppers will find you while browsing for other things at their favorite stores.
Another benefit is that retailer relationships can reduce customer returns. UGC influences purchases, and displaying feedback from real shoppers and photos of your products being worn by real people or used in day-to-day settings will help shoppers better understand whether an item will meet their needs.
Co-marketing is a crucial aspect of partnerships between brands and retailers – it helps raise awareness and drive growth for both parties. It’s also a great approach for smaller businesses with lean marketing teams. By collaborating on a shared campaign, brands and retailers can leverage each other’s strengths and reach new audiences. Your customers, who already trust you, will shift some of their trust to the retailers you’ve partnered with, and vice versa.
3. Analyze and benchmark performance insights at retail
How will you know if your retail sales channel is working? You have to monitor its performance and analyze the data. Regular auditing and analysis make all the difference. The better your products sell, the more likely a retailer will keep stocking them.
Assess product performance
Walmart helps its brands understand how their UGC and products are performing on its website. The retailer’s Content Quality Score (CQS) offers clear, objective standards for the content on brands’ PDPs, including style guides for every product category that they sell.
The CQS measures your content against those guides, which lets you easily see what elements you’re missing. It also tells you where you can improve. These analytics can help you make data-driven decisions about how to improve your content, removing the guesswork.
Another way to assess your performance is via Bazaarvoice’s Premium Network Insights, which includes sentiment analysis, UGC performance tracking, social analytics, and competitor insights. You can optimize your retail sales channels by better understanding and monitoring what customers are saying about your products.
Uncovering insights can help you drive higher click-through rates, product discovery, and, ultimately, purchases.
U.K.-based retailer Argos uses sampling to generate UGC quickly. Allowing shoppers to test new products before they launch helps the retailer collect and feature reviews before a product is even available to purchase.
The sooner Argos can collect UGC, the sooner it can identify opportunities to improve products and marketing messaging. When online shoppers interact with UGC, Argos sees conversion lifts of 53% on mobile, 51% on desktop, and 45% on its app.
Analyze and optimize data
Examining data from your UGC campaigns can tell you how consumers feel about your products and brand as a whole. You can learn which products are performing well and which need improvement.
You can keep track of how shoppers are engaging with UGC and other features of your PDPs, and identify how it affects sales. We’ve found that across our network, brands see a 136% conversion rate life when shoppers interact with UGC on best-in-class sites.
You’ll also see which PDPs lack adequate review coverage, so you’ll know when to beef up your UGC collection strategies, whether it’s via sampling or sending post-purchase emails.
Petco collaborates with the brands that it sells to collect content and engage with shoppers — syndication accounts for about 80% of the retailer’s total review volume.
The revenue-per-product rate for dog food products with one review is 20% higher than no reviews and 43% higher when a product gets at least five reviews. Overall, conversion rates are 8% higher for consumers who engage with reviews on Petco’s website, and revenue per visitor is 15% higher.
How to optimize UGC to boost your retail sales channels
Building a robust channel sales strategy for retail is not just an option for brands — it’s a must. Understanding and optimizing key elements such as enhancing PDPs with compelling visuals and other UGC, fostering meaningful relationships with retailers, and regularly analyzing performance metrics, can unlock your retail channel sales’ full potential.
These best practices will not only put products in front of shoppers but also build trust, deepen engagement, and create a holistic shopping experience that turns first-time buyers into loyal customers. With the right strategy and tools, you can scale your reach, boost revenue, and secure your place as a favorite among new and existing shoppers.
Bazaarvoice’s unique retailer programs are a great place to optimize your UGC strategy and boost your retail channel sales. Click the retailer(s) you sell at to learn more: