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Why Unilever shares shopper ‘selfies’ with retailers

January 15, 2015 11:25 AM
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Getting a shopper to try a new skin care product isn’t easy, particularly when they only see the product on an e-commerce site, says Doug Straton, who leads Unilever’s North American E-commerce Center of Excellence.

But Unilever’s Simple Skincare brand is building trust with shoppers by urging shoppers to share photos related to its products, he says. The manufacturer works with photo-management vendor Olapic to encourage shoppers to share photos—by uploading a photo to the brand’s site, Facebook or Instagram—and it then syndicates those images out using the vendor’s newest feature, which launches today.

“Consumers trust current users of a product more than something a brand may put forward through traditional assets,” Straton says. By sharing the content with four sites—Ulta.com, RiteAid,com, CVS.com and HarmonDiscount.com—more consumers are exposed to that content, he says.

Unilever worked with Olapic to avoid the labor-intensive process of developing an in-house system to collect and organize the images consumers share. Olapic lets consumers connect to the two social networks to select photos they’d like to send to Unilever. The vendor also provides Unilever with a dashboard where it can check to ensure each photo looks good and that the image displays the brand’s products.

Olapic developed the syndication tool, which is part of the vendor’s visual marketing product, to help brands make their products stand out on other retailers’ sites, says Pau Sabria, the vendor’s CEO.

“User-generated content is beneficial to consumers and its more beneficial when more consumers see that content,” he says.

Olapic works with content syndicator WebCollage to distribute the content to retailers’ sites via an application programming interface, or API, which automatically transmits the content received on the brand’s site to retailers.

Simple Skincare, which has tested the tool for a few months, says that the early results have been successful, but declined to offer specifics. Straton adds that two major retailers plan to add the API to begin displaying the syndicated photos.

 

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