How one startup is bringing user-generated content to e-comm sites

Gander integrates videos on product pages to offer “social proof” that drives shopper conversion.
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· 4 min read

While social media platforms like TikTok present CPG brands with an opportunity to engage potential customers with video content, when wedged between Gentleminions videos and “Chrissy Wake Up” remixes, sometimes actual shopper conversion can be difficult.

Entertainment-minded users scrolling through their For You pages don’t always have “intent to shop,” according to Kimiloluwa Fafowora, founder and CEO of startup Gander, which is working to instead bring video content straight to a brand’s e-comm site.

“While people are actively already considering your product, they get that extra nudge to get that extra layer of social proof that really drives them towards actually checking out,” Fafowora told Retail Brew.

Gander, which debuted last year and raised $4.2 million in a seed round last month, integrates short videos onto DTC sites to provide shoppers with demos or product info while they’re browsing—while providing brands a way to boost sales and conversion rates.

  • In Q1 2022, Gander drove an 8x boost in conversion rates for shoppers who viewed brands’ videos, according to the company.
  • And by connecting with a company’s store via a Shopify app, the startup says it doesn’t affect website performance or loading speed.

Coming into view: Fafowora, a 26-year-old Gen Z branding expert, began her career in investing before working as strategy manager at consumer brand studio, Brandable. Selling to brick-and-mortar retailers like Sephora, Walmart, and Target while running DTC businesses, she found that “a lot of the human elements that are critical for driving conversions don’t really exist online.”

“In store, you have a sales associate, or you can touch a killer product and get a sense of the size and the scale of it, and really all these more tactile elements that help drive conversion,” she said. “Whereas online, the most that you have is really a product image and in written reviews and ratings.”

The company lets brands either upload their own video content or request it from Gander’s network of 1,000+ TikTok and Instagram creators. Brands can ship products to these influencers—picking who they’d like to work with by checking out past brand collabs and their personal socials—and have video content within five to seven days.

  • Videos range from 15 seconds to a minute, but 30 seconds is typically the sweet spot, Fafowora said. Brands can put them on either collection, product, or cart pages on their sites.

Gander has worked with brands like Good American and Black Opal, whose sites range from 10,000 to 3 million monthly visitors—and it’s seen the highest conversion with those in the 30,000+ range, Fafowora said.

  • The startup offers three tiers—starter ($59/month, for companies with 10,000 monthly visits), growth ($250/month, for 50,000 monthly visits), and professional (negotiated per company), according to its website.
  • A company with 30,000 visits a month with an average order volume of $48 would see a $7,200 monthly sales boost, per its on-site ROI calculator.
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It was initially focused only on beauty, but the startup has since expanded across apparel and food, and even a hip-seat baby carrier called Tushbaby. While that company uses Gander to feature an 18-second video demonstrating the item’s different uses on its product page, Fafowora also mentioned a DTC smoothie brand that uses a Gander video to show off texture and serving size.

“Through this discovery process of talking to different types of customers of all different stages, we’ve learned that video content is powerful across the board, but we have to pay special attention to what kind of content is most important by category,” she said.

Looking ahead…Fafowora said its recent funding will go toward doubling its eight-person team, marketing, and driving scale. While its content is currently “uniform across websites,” she noted that one of the main priorities on Gander’s product roadmap is to leverage the learnings from shopper interactions with these videos to help brands optimize their content.

  • For example, Gander has found that Millennials and Gen Zers tend to favor 30-second videos, while Gen X and Baby Boomers have a bit longer attention span: a whole 60 seconds.

“As we continue to get more and more data, we will start to help brands make sure they’re basically putting their best foot forward—or their best videos forward—for every single shopper that comes onto their site,” Fafowora said.

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