In today's digital age, having an effective User-Generated Content strategy has become a valuable asset for e-commerce brands. UGC, such as product reviews, social media posts, and photos, can help build trust, increase engagement, and drive sales. In this article, we'll explore the top 5 e-commerce brand hacks for collecting User Generated Content to give you some ideas for your brand and help you grow your business.

1. Unbottled leverage customer reviews

Collecting user-generated content (UGC) is an essential strategy for any e-commerce brand, and cosmetics brand Unbottled has found an effective way to do so. One of the most effective ways to collect UGC is through customer reviews, and one of the most effective ways to get customer reviews is through email. Unbottled understands this, and that's why they use email as one of their main strategies to collect UGC.

Unbottled cleverly uses this strategy by sending follow-up emails to customers after their purchases, asking for a review and a comment about their experience. To encourage customers to leave a detailed review, the brand offers a 20% discount on their next purchase for those who leave a note and a comment about their last purchase. In addition to increasing its number of honest product reviews, the brand can increase its sales while building customer loyalty!

2. Cabaïa protects animals

The French brand Cabaïa has come up with a clever strategy to collect user-generated content (UGC) and support a good cause at the same time. They have created the "Marty Challenge" which encourages customers to share photos of themselves using Cabaia products with their pets. For every photo of a Cabaia item posted with the brand name and the hashtag #martychallenge, Cabaia donates 1€ to the SPA (the French animal protection association).

This tactic has proven to be remarkably successful for Cabaia. They have amassed almost 10,000 photos of their products, many of which feature customers' four-legged companions.

Not only does this tactic gather UGC, but it also provides Cabaia with highly engaging and adorable photos to post on the company's account. This approach not only helps Cabaia to establish a dedicated community, but also supports a noble cause, and engage with their audience in a fun and interactive way. It also showcases the brand's dedication to the well-being of animals and customers can identify with that, which in turn helps to increase trust and brand awareness.

3. Balzac plays Paparazzi

French brand Balzac is an expert in collecting user-generated content through its clever Instagram contests. One example of this is their recent contest that encouraged users to share pictures of pieces from the Balzac collection that they spot on the street. The brand offered a €150 prize in a draw to those who participated in the contest.

The conditions for the contest were straightforward and inclusive. To participate, users simply had to identify Balzac's side account (@vousenbalzac) in their post. The brand didn't require participants to show their face or even make a purchase from their shop, making it easy for anyone to participate. This inclusivity and ease of entry helped Balzac to collect a high volume of user-generated content, all while engaging with their audience and boosting their brand awareness.

Thanks to this approach, the brand has amassed over 2,500 publications and has gained almost 20,000 followers.

This kind of user engagement is crucial for any brand, as it helps to increase brand awareness and build a loyal following. It can also be used to showcase customer satisfaction, provide social proof and create trust among potential buyers. Overall Balzac's strategy has been a great way to connect and build a community with their audience and take advantage of this content.


4. Gymshark’s 66 days challenge

The sportswear brand founded by Ben Francis has always been a precursor to influence marketing and how turn clients into ambassadors.

Gymshark was one of the early adopters of influencer marketing on Instagram, before the concept even had a name in 2012. This was the beginning of what the brand calls its ‘Gymshark Athlete Community’. The brand's entry into TikTok followed its success on Instagram and other social media channels.

From 2016-2017, Gymshark shifted much of its focus to the platform, where they have gone on to build its reputation among younger generations. They have an incredibly well-executed TikTok marketing strategy. They consciously decided to partner with fitness and lifestyle influencers on TikTok.

UGC has been essential for scaling Gymshark, and TikTok represents it perfectly. They always involve customers in their posts and campaigns, and the 66 days challenge (#Gymshark66) is a good example.

Gymshark announced 2018 its yearly 66 Days to Change Your life challenge: customers had to select a personal goal and upload an initial photo/video. 66 days later, on the 8th of March, the user had to upload that initial content with an updated one, for a chance to win a year’s supply of Gymshark goods.

Their rulebook is simple:

1. Start #Gymshark66 Whenever You're Ready: seriously, whenever you're ready. January 1st? Well, it'd be rude not to. 3am on October 2nd? You might regret it in the morning, but go on then. Whenever you decide to start your journey, our family will be there to support you.

2. Decide On Three Rules: this is your challenge to change. Decide on three rules that you want to stick to during the 66 days. This could be as simple as: drinking more water, doing one workout a week, and for the night-owls amongst us, going to sleep before the clock strikes midnight.

3. Share Your Journey: this one isn't mandatory, but, during your 66-day challenge, we urge you to share your journey with the world. From workouts and progress pictures to paintings and new recipe creations - we want to see it all via the hashtag #Gymshark66.


In December 2022, the brand had over 4.2 million followers and 65.7 million likes.

5. Jones Road writes to its customers

Jones Road Beauty is a clean makeup brand launched in late October 2020, created by beauty industry titan Bobbi Brown. The 65-year-old makeup artist and business woman is very present on social media and has a strong fanbase with +700K followers on Instagram, +400K followers on TikTok and +160K followers on Twitter.

Since the founder of Jones Road is very well-known in the makeup industry, the company has relied on her reputation and fame to build a community and position the brand as a healthy and alternative solution to other existing makeup brands.

Besides Bobbi’s influence, Jones Road relies on influencers and UGC to commit customers to the brand and increase trust in the products. They have a “give first” policy at Jones Road and search for alignment with their values rather than exclusively targeting influencers with a big community.

To do so, the Jones Road newsletter gives access to yet-to-be-released products, that are limited editions.

This strategy is a double win for the brand: scarcity brings value to the product and makes the customers feel special!

Today, the company has an estimated annual revenue of $8M and around 50 employees, and works solely through the D2C channel (no retailers, nor distributors).

Building an effective User Generated Content strategy is an amazing way to build trust, increase engagement, and drive sales for your e-commerce brand. By leveraging customer reviews, hosting social media contests, using social proof, working with influencers, and using hashtags, you can effectively collect UGC and use it to your advantage.

Remember that also its important to have a clear UGC policy on place, and have a system in place to moderate and curate the content to ensure is compliant and appropriate for your audience.