Ecommerce Social Proof & Why You Need It

The rise of technology has propelled industries forward, and ecommerce is no different—going online is the most convenient way for consumers to shop. However, with that convenience comes uncertainty because they don’t always know exactly what they’re getting. That’s where social proof comes in.

Popularized by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence, social proof refers to our belief that other’s actions are the correct behavior in a given situation. It relies on the human tendency to follow the pack and it’s a tactic used by ecommerce marketers to build trust and increase sales.

Social proof can take many forms when it comes to ecommerce, and it’s easy to incorporate into your online store and marketing strategy. Simply put, social proof is any mention of your products “in the wild” that you can use to your advantage.

Read on for examples of social proof and how they’ll help you build consumer trust and skyrocket sales.

Product Reviews

One of the most popular forms of social proof are product reviews written by customers who want to share their experience with a purchase. In fact, product reviews are so widely sought out that 92% of prospective shoppers will take the time to read a product review before making a purchasing decision and 90% will read 5-10 reviews.

Product reviews also build trust around your brand and products. A Deloitte study found that consumers are just as likely to trust a customer review as they are to trust family and friends.

In case you missed our extensive guide to ecommerce product reviews, these are some of the most compelling statistics.

  • 54% of the time, consumers will click over to an online store from a positive review.
  • 87% of consumers place as much trust in a product review as they would word-to-mouth.
  • 87% of consumers agree that they won’t do business with an entity that has an unfavorable rating.
  • 73% of consumers consider aged reviews (90 days or older) to be irrelevant.
  • 68% of consumers want to see mixed negative and positive reviews to believe they are real.
  • 78% of consumers who bought after reading a review report being satisfied.
  • 31% of consumers increase spending when an online business has positive reviews.
  • Consumers are 124% likelier to buy a product from a smartphone after reading a positive review.
  • 50 or more reviews on a product can lead to an average increase of 4.6% in revenue.
  • 63% of customers are likelier to buy from an online store that features user reviews.
  • Customers are 110% likelier to buy from an online store that features reviews and Q&A.
  • Online product reviews yield and average sales uplift of 18%.

It’s clear that product reviews have a massive impact on your online store. E-tailers may be avoiding adding a review feature for fear of negative feedback, but studies show that even negative reviews bolster your credibility and offer a more holistic experience for your products.

If you’re running your ecommerce business on a popular platform like Magento, Shopify or others, adding reviews is as simple as adding an extension or plugin from the respective App Store. There are several options out there, and most of them won’t blow your budget. As you can see, the addition will offer you high returns on your investment.

User-Generated Content

Another increasingly popular form of social proof is user-generated content (or UGC). It’s just like it sounds: UGC is digital content created by a common person, not a brand representative or someone affiliated with the business, who is sharing their experience. Product reviews fall into this category to some extent, but ecommerce in particular is an industry with a wealth of UGC because customers use their blogs and social media channels to distribute images and videos that feature their purchases.

User-generated content has gained so much traction because it adds authenticity that’s often missing from marketing messages. Stackla recently found that 90% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support (up from 86% in 2017) which highlights the growing need.

Stackla also found that brands who utilize UGC see a 50% lift in social engagement, a 73% increase in email click-through-rates and a 10% increase in conversions when included in an online purchase path. Similar to product reviews, this shows that people are drawn to content created by peers, rather than by professional marketing teams.

UGC has made such a big impact that 79% of people say it highly influences their purchasing decisions. This is a statistic that e-tailers can’t ignore. Fortunately, you can integrate user-generated content into your marketing strategy with just a few steps. Use hashtags and monitoring tools to gather UGC, ask permission from the creator before posting and watch what happens. Online sellers will boost their store’s reputation as authentic while also saving time that would have been spent creating marketing materials.

For more tips on UGC, don’t miss our guide.

Brand Collaborations

Brand collaborations are similar to influencer campaigns but are on a larger scale. Instead of an individual’s followers, the relationship introduces your brand to another brand’s following and customer base. It is mutually beneficial because the introductions go both ways and bring new customers to each brand.

The collab campaigns often make a huge splash because they show household names working together (such as Nike and Apple) but can be done no matter how small the business.

Another way to incorporate a brand’s approval is to add media mentions to your site. For example, we’re proud to display that ReadyCloud has been featured in highly respected publications and media and have added the social proof to our site.

Consumers trust their peers more than they trust the messages that come directly from brands. So, it’s important for online retailers to offer some sort of social proof of their products. Whether you add the ability for verified customers to leave product reviews or seek reputation boosting from an influencer or brand, every bit helps add authenticity so shoppers can feel good about purchasing from your online store.

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