Le Col has always prized itself as a high-end sporting gear brand — its cycling products are specialized for the very best in the biking industry. Le Col’s business model is predominantly Direct-to-Consumer (D2C), so continually optimizing and delivering the best online experience is a must.
That’s why the premium brand uses user-generated content (UGC) as social proof to inspire confidence in its quality. Having authentic voices on its site is one of Le Col’s key tactics to drive growth. Bazaarvoice is the cycling gear company’s expert partner to support this initiative with a stellar UGC program that delivers tangible results and helps the company stand out from the pack.
Maintaining a premium price point while growing globally
Le Col creates high-quality cycling products at a premium price point. It’s also experiencing what cyclists may call a breakaway — the company is sprinting away from the competition in an effort to expand globally and build a lead. During this expansion, Le Col’s challenge is to convince first-time customers that its products are worth the premium price point. To do this, Le Col relies on UGC in the form of reviews and authentic lifestyle images.
“Our reviews provide social proof to new customers who are discovering the brand for the first time. It gives them confidence that the products are the highest quality and we believe reviews are as important to new customers as our own product claims.” said Andrew Longley, Head of Digital at Le Col.
Le Col follows UGC best practices on its website. The team has cleverly integrated expert reviews and quotes, great quality images, and best-in-class displays for several products.
Another challenge Le Col faces as an apparel brand is correctly setting sizing expectations to instill shopper confidence and reduce costly returns. To solve this, Le Col uses a reviews module to display how other customers found a product to fit.
“Post-purchase sizing was one of our biggest reasons for seeing customer returns. Our review implementation has helped us get on top of this issue,” said Longley.
Combining reviews and images within Bazaarvoice Galleries is a winning formula
As mentioned above, high-quality images are key to Le Col’s UGC strategy. On its website, the company features authentic cycling lifestyle content and pulls ratings into its image galleries. Le Col is one of the first Bazaarvoice clients to add reviews to galleries, and this strategy is most likely why the cycling company is seeing a 25% higher than average uplift in site metrics.
“It improved the site experience, and we’ve seen great results. Customers who engage with our gallery are 5 times more likely to convert and are spending 12% higher AOV,” said Longley.
Le Col also utilizes UGC images in its channel program and syndicates high-performing reviews and visuals to retailers to make this content work even harder for the cycling gear company.
“It’s a massive time saver to be able to syndicate instead of having to select images and generate new reviews manually,” said Langley.
Leveraging omnichannel UGC for product launches
Reviews are also an integral part of the product launch process for Le Col. When a new product launches, the company immediately analyzes consumer reviews and sees if there are any opportunities to improve product page quality and messaging. The team looks at product page conversion, fit, review scores, and more to identify what has resonated with customers and what hasn’t.
“When we launched a popular collaboration jersey recently, the first reviews came in explaining that customers were expecting a looser fitting jersey. However, this shirt was an aero-fit design, meaning it was tight and for high-performance use. It turns out that people expected this shirt to be an item of memorabilia rather than a performance jersey. We were able to quickly modify the product page to make it clearer and to set expectations correctly,” said Longley.
The second way Le Col uses UGC at product launch is through emails. A few weeks after a new product launch, the brand sends out an email highlighting a few of the first reviews. These emails are consistently some of the highest-performing emails in Le Col’s product launch series.
“Whenever we launch a new product, part of our go to market strategy always includes our customers’ reviews. It is as important a pillar in the launch plan as our own marketing campaign or our influencer reviews and we use reviews across web, emails and paid media.” said Langley
UGC also improves the search experience and helps shoppers discover new products.
“Reviews give that powerful first impression of our brand. This is especially important for our hero products when we’re competing on Google Shopping. Having a product with thousands of five-star reviews gets someone’s attention,” said Langley.
The sprint toward a 125% increase in conversion rates
Le Col’s increased focus on UGC has paid off. The company now sees a 13% higher average order value for products with reviews, a 155% increase in revenue per visitor, and a 125% increase in conversion rates.
In the future, Le Col sees UGC as a top-five opportunity to improve the online customer journey and increase conversions even more. Future projects will look at ways to test and optimize UGC placement more prominently at critical stages in the customer journey.
“Something that we want to look at in the next year is how we can use the Bazaarvoice API more,” said Langley. “I think Bazaarvoice is a great solution. It’s proven its worth in supporting discovery, engagement, conversion, and increasing revenue for Le Col.”
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