These Awesome Social Proof Strategies Convert – Use Them to Win

One of the main challenges of ecommerce is getting prospective customers to connect with your catalog. If they can’t physically touch, feel or try products before purchasing, how can you convince them that your offerings are worth their hard-earned money? The answer lies with social proof, which leverages existing customers’ opinions to tip the scales in your favor. 

Read on to delve into social proof, exploring strategies that not only validate your brand but also nudge hesitant visitors toward becoming loyal customers.

What Is Social Proof?

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon of people relying on the actions, opinions and behaviors of others to guide their own decisions, especially when faced with an uncertain or ambiguous situation. Essentially, it’s the idea that if others are doing something or making a particular choice, then it must be the right thing to do. 

In ecommerce, social proof is harnessed as a powerful tool to influence prospective customers by showcasing evidence of previous buyers’ positive experiences. This can include reviews, ratings, testimonials, user-generated content, influencer endorsements and various other forms of validation that highlight the credibility and popularity of a product or brand. By leveraging social proof effectively, online retailers can build trust, reduce uncertainty and ultimately drive conversions and sales.

Ready to dig in? Let’s explore these social proof strategies so you can get some inspiration for how you can tap into consumer psychology and give your ecommerce business a lift.   

Product Reviews

One of our must-haves for any online store, product reviews are unfiltered opinions provided by customers who have purchased and used a particular product. These reviews offer insights into the quality, performance, features and overall satisfaction of the product from an actual customer’s perspective. In other words, they’re social proof gold. 

Consider this:

  • 95% of shoppers consult product reviews before making a purchase. 
  • Nearly half (49%) of consumers trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations from loved ones. 
  • Reviews encourage trust in a company, according to 74% of consumers

It doesn’t just apply to positive reviews, either. Negative reviews can offer insights into areas where the product might fall short, which can help shoppers make informed decisions. Two-thirds of shoppers actually want to see a mix of positive and negative opinions. 

By encouraging customers to leave honest reviews and actively showcasing these reviews on product pages, online retailers can leverage the power of social proof to influence purchasing decisions and improve customer satisfaction.

Case Studies

If your online store sells products that drastically impact users in a positive way, you may want to explore creating case studies for social proof. Case studies are in-depth breakdowns that illustrate the “before” and “after” of implementing a product, and they offer a level of detail that can convince a hesitant shopper. Think of a case study like a more thorough and collaborative product review. 

Case studies can be written, but the beauty of selling products online is you can capitalize on interesting imagery and video to tell your stories. For example:

  • Showcase room makeovers if you sell furnishings, decor, paint or wallpaper.  
  • Document the progress of a weight loss journey if you sell healthy food, workout equipment or wearable fitness trackers. 
  • Display the differences in skin or hair if you sell skincare or hair care products.

Case studies serve as valuable tools for online retailers to demonstrate the effectiveness of their products or strategies. They provide evidence of real-world success, helping potential customers understand how a particular product or service can address their needs or pain points. By sharing case studies, retailers can showcase their expertise, build credibility, and influence purchasing decisions through the power of social proof.

Influencer Marketing

In case you missed our recent guide to influencer marketing, here’s the scoop: Influencer marketing is the practice of partnering with someone who has an engaged social media following and reaching that person’s audience through collaborative marketing. The person in question has influence over their followers because they’re seen as an authority or are otherwise trusted and respected.

As an online retailer, it’s important to do your due diligence when choosing influencers to work with — you want to choose creators whose personal brands and values align with that of your business. You’ll get greater results from a campaign with a micro-influencer (someone with 10,000 to 100,000 followers) who is the perfect spokesperson for your brand than from a mega-celebrity who isn’t relatable to their followers. 

Why is this? You guessed it: social proof. By sharing their real lives with their followers, influencers build trust with their online communities. People feel like they truly know these creators, and they often look to them for guidance. Therefore, when an influencer endorses a product or brand, their loyal followers will also flock to it.

User-Generated Content

User-generated content, often shortened to UGC, is fairly self-explanatory. Users (in this case, customers) create their own descriptions, images and videos of your products and distribute them online. The result is an authentic message that serves as incredibly powerful social proof. 

UGC may seem risky at first, especially for companies that prioritize strict brand guidelines. But the real-life showcase of your products is far more valuable than any stock photo or professionally lit product video could ever be. At the end of the day, people trust other people far more than marketing messages, so user-generated imperfect content is what you want.

Additionally, sellers can leverage UGC for their own marketing campaigns with permission from the creators. You’ll see more conversions with less work from your in-house team, which is a huge win.   

Recent Sales Pop-Ups

Recent sales pop-ups, also known as sales notifications or recent purchase notifications, are small notifications that display real-time information about the purchases other customers have made on your website. Shoppers will typically see details like the product purchased, the name of the customer and where the customer is generally located. These notifications are designed to create a sense of urgency and social proof, suggesting high demand and possibly running out of stock. 

When shoppers are casually browsing your online store and see others are actively buying products, they’re more likely to perceive your brand as popular and trustworthy. Therefore, they’re more likely to follow the trend and make purchases themselves — social proof in action.    

Recent sales pop-ups can be effective in boosting conversions and sales, especially during high-traffic periods or promotional campaigns. However, it’s important to strike a balance and keep the notifications brief and accurate, not aggressive or misleading.

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