Adding social proof can boost your eCommerce conversion rate. That’s why big giants like Amazon, WordPress, MailChimp, and other company, use social proof on their site.
So, the simple truth is that leveraging social proof will positively impact most of your key eCommerce metrics, including conversion rate, average order value, and average lifetime value.
In this article, we’re going to look some most effective ways to use social proof. By implementing these tips on your eCommerce site, you’ll be reproducing strategies used by some of the biggest and most successful online retailers in the game.
What is Social Proof?
Humans brain are driven by a lot of different factors. One of the most prominent one is judgement, and taking one’s decisions into account, when making a related decision. This is a pattern of behavior in our psychology.
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that occurs where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.
It was first introduced and popularized by psychology professor Robert B. Cialdini. In his book Influence, he writes: “In general, when we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct.” He also says in his book, “First, we seem to assume that if a lot of people are doing the same thing, they must know something we don’t.” As Cialdini clearly outlines in his book, social proof is a all-round concept. But it all comes down to our basic instinct to act as pack animals.
It can’t be denied the power of social proof. According to a study, more than 70 percent of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase.
According to econsultancy, product reviews are 12-times more trusted than product descriptions.
Social proof helps us to understand other useful techniques applicable to eCommerce and urgency-building. In both cases, the suggestion that the “pack” is acting in a particular way creates a desire to buy.
Types of Social Proof
There are 5 types of social proof available. Start by leveraging the types/sources you already have, and then work to acquire more.
What does Social Proof do?
Social Proof Eases Uncertainty
Social proof is strongest when customers have high levels of uncertainty.
In other words, it is most effective when customers are at the top of the funnel.
Social Proof Guides Decision-Making Process
If we based all of our key decisions on others’ input, we would constantly be stuck trying to choose which way to turn. On a daily basis, we absorb thousands of conflicting point of views over any given matter.
Luckily, our brain is one step forward of us. It selectively chooses which advice to take into consideration and when.
This is why customers are much more likely to take past buyers’ online shopping experiences into consideration than a store owner’s pitch, when deciding whether to purchase a product or not.
Social Proof Creates Urgency to Purchase
If you want to follow your customers a specific call to action (like reviewing your product or answering a question from other customer), it may makes sense to show them that other customers are taking that action. By doing this, you can use the power of social proof to encourage more social proof.
To achieve this, bring your store to life by showcasing real-time customer interactions, like a pop-up notification when someone leaves a new ratings or review of a product.
How to Collect More Social Proof
The question isn’t whether or not social proof will help you increase conversions rates, but rather which social proof techniques will you choose to leverage?
Below are some social proof strategies that you can start using in your business to increase your conversions and grow your sales.
1. Real-Time Statistics
Showing the real-time stats of how many people are currently viewing the page, or how many customers are currently purchasing is not only a great form of social proof but it also adds urgency into the mix as well.
For example, Hotels.com shows when a particular hotel was last booked in a real time manner.
The more recent the last booking, the higher the perceived value of the hotel, and someone will quickly want to book their stay before missing out!
2. Customer Testimonials
The most commonly used form of social proof is customer testimonial. According to Nielsen research, 92% of visitor will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of visitor will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.
That’s why almost all big brands show customer testimonials on their online store.
Amazon, the giant retailer, displays customer reviews and ratings on each and every product.
Freshbooks, a popular invoicing software manufacturer for small businesses highlight why small businesses owners love their product. By doing this, they are targeting their testimonials directly at their customers:
Customer reviews and testimonials can be displayed in different formats as long as they highlight the value of your product through the voices of satisfied customers. In fact, according to a study, testimonials can increase conversions on sales pages by as much as 34 percent.
3. Celebrity Endorsements
Celebrities and well-known industry experts are great resources when it comes to establishing customer trust.
Depending on your brand, celebrity endorsement may come in the form of paid endorsements or even natural endorsements.
The former would refer to formal contracts where you pay an amount to represent your brand. This is what big company like Pepsi and Priceline do.
Natural celebrity endorsement refers to situations where an individual approves of your brand/product of their own volition.
4. Case Studies
Case studies are often used to provide high authority social proof in eCommerce store. It leverage the idea that customers recognize long, in-depth reviews as being more reputable than brief excerpts.
For example, Shopify highlights their customer success stories as long-form case studies.
5. Media Mentions
Media mentions is another strategy to provide social proof. Which include magazine features, unsolicited reviews, TV segments, or podcast interviews. If possible, take excerpts from these media mentions and paste them on your store to establish authority.
This is what Freshbooks does on their landing page:
Here is another example of Markhor, a high-quality leather shoes maker.
6. Customer Base
One extremely extensive and effective social proof strategy is the use of client logos to prove positive adoption.
By showing visitors your existing customer base, you’re essentially telling them that your product offering is well enough for successful companies to use.
Basecamp does this by showing the number of companies that signed up last week along with the big companies that are using their platform.
7. Trust Seals
By adding trust seals on your checkout page, you can significantly boost your store sales. There are lots of security seals you can add on your site such as Norton, McAfee, Better Business Bureau, etc.
8. Certifications and Badges
Certain industry certifications or accreditation brings extra value to your online store.
Most certifying and accrediting organizations have badges or logos and you can freely display this on your website. According to monetizepros, certification and badges can increase conversion rates by as much as 30 percent.
9. Platform Integrations
If your product or service integrates with third-party services, then one of the best social proof you can add to your site is the logos of your integration partners. By doing this, you actually put your product in the company of credible and familiar brands.
Baremetrics does it right in their header by stating that they’re an analytics and insights platform for the popular payment gateway Stripe.
10. Social Share Count
One really simple form of social proof that you can display on your online store or website is the number of social shares.
Social share counts are most often used to provide social proof on any blog posts.
However, you can also add social share counts display to any page on your website, including landing pages and product pages.
11. Subscriber/Visitor/Customer Count
Your subscriber, visitor or customer count is another valuable statistic that brings value to your brand.
MailChimp highlights on their landing page that over 10 million people use MailChimp to send 600 million emails every day.
12. Social Media Proof
As social media becomes more popular, brands are using social media statuses as social proof by highlighting what their customers are saying about their products and services.
13. Ratings and Reviews
According to Searchenginejournal, 63% of consumers indicate that they are more likely to purchase product from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.
Especially if you have an eCommerce store, you should be using ratings and reviews to increase conversions rates on your product pages.
14. Test Scores
Test scores from an independent, 3rd party source can be really helpful for relieving a customer’s concerns.
For example, Google’s “Trusted Store” card provides a score based on criteria that are really important to customers in advance of making a purchase.
15. “Best Seller”
Simply showing customers which products are your “best sellers” works to increase conversions rates on those particular products.
A prospect who is thinking about purchasing may be on the fence, but when they see that it is a best seller then they will be much more convenient to make the decision to purchase. That’s why Amazon show which products are their best sellers with an eye-catching “#1 Best Seller” banner.
16. “Customers who bought this item also bought…”
Similarly, you can show expectation of similar products that your customers bought along with the product they are currently viewing.
This is not just a tactic for cross-selling products, it’s a form of social proof which also states that other people are purchasing your products.
17. Customer Recommendations
Customer recommendations is a really powerful way to leverage your existing customers for social proof.
NakedWines use this technique by asking customers who bought a bottle of wine to give it a rating and state whether they would buy it again and then calculating the overall percentage.
18. Number of Orders
Just simply sharing how many orders you’ve had, or how many times your product has been sold can make a huge difference in making even more sales.
GoodReads does this, in their product description for a book by Dale Carnegie, they share the number of copies as number they sold.
You can allow customers to create a profile and become ambassadors of your brand.
This shows hope that your product is so good that customers not only love it, but they promote it as well.
Sweaty Betty, a fitness apparel company, use ambassadors on each of their product pages under the “Product reviews” section.
20. Popular Products
Showing off your popular products proves that other people are interested to that. So place those in a prominent place on your website.
John Lewis has a section like this for their top sellers on the homepage.
21. Customer Showcase
People love to be featured, so use their emotion as social proof. With a customer showcase, you can show off your customer’s creations, styles to create or do as the result of your product.
For example, Modcloth has a style gallery where they post customers photos wearing their products.
If you implement those above tips, you will see a boost in the social proof associated with your website, and products. And your overall eCommerce conversion rate will improve as a result.
You may also like: Connect your WooCommerce Store with Facebook and Drive Sales