How Rhode Uses Merchandise to Generate Viral UGC

For a while, user-generated content (UGC) was a bit of a buzzword in the marketing industry.

However, UGC has become increasingly important to consumer purchasing decisions. And it’s not just anecdotal. 

Consider the following UGC stats:

  • 85% of shoppers think UGC  holds more sway than brand photos or videos
  • 92% of consumers trust reviews and testimonials more than traditional advertising
  • 70% of customers place peer recommendations and reviews over professionally written content

With that in mind, we want to share a quick strategy used by Rhode Cosmetics to generate viral UGC, while also increasing the brand’s sales.

Let’s get into it.

How Rhode Uses A Product Upsell to Drive UGC 

 Last week, Rhode founder and influencer Hailey Bieber posted a selfie on Instagram. In the photo, she was holding her brand’s newest product: a phone case.

Now, why is a cosmetics brand selling a phone case you ask? Well, while it’s common for companies to sell merch, this time it’s more than that.

The phone case is called the lip case, and holds Rhode’s popular lip balm. 

This product solves a pain point for Rhode’s customers. With the advent of payment options like Apple Pay, customers can now go anywhere with just their phone & still take their lip balm.

But more importantly, customers advertise Rhode’s products, not only in person but in every selfie they take and post on social media.

In other words, every customer who buys the $35 phone case becomes a content creator for Rhode Cosmetics. 

Since Rhode has a lot of brand equity, customers are going to want to be seen with this product.

So with a single product, Rhode has:

  • Solved a pain point for users
  • Built an army of UGC creators
  • Generated more revenue for the brand

Pretty clever, right?

How to Upsell Viral Merchandise& Create UGC Like Rhode

Let’s look at how you can take inspiration from Rhode’s strategy and apply it to your brand.

1. Create merch your customers want

The first step is to create merchandise that your customers genuinely want. Think beyond sticking your logo on a t-shirt.

Ask, “what complementary products could I brand that would solve a pain point or enhance my current offering?”

2. Build a buzz before your merch drops

Rhode used a pre-launch page, as well as a site-wide pop-up to promote their phone case launch.

In addition, the brand used social media (namely Hailey Bieber’s account) to tease customers about the product launch.

While you might not have access to Hailey’s following, you could send your merch to relevant influencers to build a buzz on your behalf.

3. Upsell your merch at checkout & on post-purchase pages

A great way to sell more merchandise is to promote it at the right time. Merchandise makes an excellent cross-sell or upsell at checkout or during the post-purchase phase.

Post-purchase upsells work because purchase intent is high. Customers have already committed to buying from you, so it’s likely they’ll buy again if you give them the chance. 

In our post-purchase upselling report, we found that the average conversion rate for one-click upsells (pictured above) was a whopping 4.7%.

The Key Takeaways

Let’s quickly recap the key takeaways from Rhode’s marketing example.

  • Custom merchandise is a great way to create free UGC - especially if it's a phone case
  • Think about how new merchandise can solve a customer pain point or enhance your existing product offering
  • Design merchandise that customers genuinely want 
  • Use a pre-launch offer & social media influencers to build excitement 
  • Upsell your products at checkout, and on post-purchase pages for maximum uptake

While the specifics of this genius marketing example might not apply to your brand, the underlying principles are something to think about. How can you take inspiration from Rhode’s viral UGC strategy, and apply the principles to reach your eCommerce goals?

Start your Free Trial

ReConvert empowers you to instantly boost revenue by 15% with one-click upsells, customized thank you pages, and more.
Find it on the
Shopify App Store