The term social proof was coined by a popular psychologist - Robert Cialdini. His Social Proof principle gained instant popularity and became the world’s favorite influence approach. Social proof is an effective way to convince visitors by indirectly telling them, “People like you have purchased this product, so you should consider buying it too!”
As a matter of fact, social proof has been a powerful marketing weapon for decades. In the year 1955, McDonald’s began posting on its signs, the total number of hamburgers that were sold during a period of time. As the numbers increased from a million in the year 1955 to a billion in 1963, the sales also increased. McDonald’s managed to attract the locals with the proof that people enjoyed their food.
Marketers across the globe have been experimenting with various techniques to increase their site’s conversions. However, most of the smart marketers know how powerful social proof is to their website and have always leveraged on its potential.
Social proof is an awesome technique to influence visitors to make a purchase from your site. But are you capitalizing on it effectively?
Let's dig deep.
Why do eCommerce site owners need social proof?
- Social proof creates authenticity around eCommerce website in a single glance
- It helps the eCommerce owners in strengthening their brand value
- More the number of social proof, the more visitors will be interested in buying a promoted product
- It is easier to up-sell a product
The manner in which one uses social proof to boost their brand's visibility efforts will vary with the kind of social proof in question. In this blog, we will cover 7 ways you can use social proof to increase your brand’s credibility.
- Customer testimonials
- User ratings
- Expert's stamp of approval
- In-line notifications for creating urgency
- Number of subscribers
- Case studies
- Awards and Recognition
7 ways to use social proof for your eCommerce brand
1) Customer Testimonials
One of the best examples of social proof are testimonials from your customers. The idea behind having testimonials is to get the visitors to connect with the story of your happy customers.
In most of the cases, the customers who write testimonials highlight the issues they were facing and how their situation improved after using the product/service.
Testimonials can be used as a marketing weapon to display how a company has been serving its clients and why a prospective customer should consider purchasing something from a brand.
2) User Ratings
You can find user ratings on almost every eCommerce website because they are a fantastic form of social proof. A vast majority of users check ratings before purchasing products online, and they trust the customer ratings to a great extent.
No one displays user ratings better than Amazon. Over the years this eCommerce giant has gathered tons of reviews and has displayed them in an easy to interpret way, which shows a breakdown of all the ratings, from 1 through 5 stars.
If you as a user, have been looking for a product, you will be more inclined to purchase after seeing that a product has more than 30K five star reviews. You are more likely to buy it because many others have bought it in the past.
3) Expert's Stamp of Approval
This is a type of social proof where an industry expert or influencer approves of your product/service.
The makers of fitness trackers let health industry experts speak about the quality of their products in the “Buzz” section of their website. It adds a lot of credibility to Fitbit’s products when a good number of publications are saying positive things. This could well be the reason why Fitbit is rated as a top fitness tracker.
4) In-line Notifications to Create Urgency
FOMO (fear of missing out) is something that drives users to take some form of action online. It is an extremely powerful strategy that can be implemented on your landing page.
Most often, when you are booking a flight ticket, you might have noticed a trick that airline websites use to encourage you to make a quick booking confirmation. As you progress through the checkout, the website will alert you that there are a limited number of seats left on the plane.
If you look at the example shown above, you will notice that United Airlines is using “1 seat left”, notification to create a sense of urgency and make users purchase tickets immediately.
5) Number of Subscribers
As a marketer, we all have come across this phrase, “the money is in the list”.
Building a subscriber base is not an easy task, however, after you reach a certain point, you could use this as a social proof technique to get more visitors to join you. People often have the Fear of Missing Out syndrome. If they see a good number of people who have subscribed to your blog already, they are more inclined to also subscribe to your blog.
There is definitely a lot of social validation here with the Facebook fans, the twitter followers and all of the other social media followers mentioned in one place.
This technique is a great way to show the world that your website content is popular.
6) Case Studies
Case studies are one of the best ways to display how a product or service has benefitted another user who is very similar to the reader. These are more or less like testimonials, however, they are more in-depth, and are given by a credible source. With case studies in your repository, you can cover more problem areas that the visitors can relate to.
One of the main reasons many businesses fail in increasing revenue is because their potential customers are not confident if their company can solve their problem, this is why you need to have case studies. Case studies are impactful because not only can you showcase your happy clients, you can also demonstrate your proof of concept.
7) Awards and Recognition
People prefer purchasing from brands that they can trust. However, at times, just claiming that you are trustworthy isn’t enough. Displaying evidence that supports your claim will be more convincing enough for people to trust you. This is the reason why Awards and Recognition act as great forms of social proof.
Awards validate your brand because they come from a 3rd party that has given you a stamp of approval. The more popular the source of your award is, the more valuable it will be to list on your website.
Bag Servant, former eCommerce brand tested out to see if mentioning awards on their site improved their conversions. The control group included social media buttons to follow them on social media channels. The experiment group replaced that with an award badge. The experiment version beat out the control version with around 90% statistical confidence in all the 3 goals they tested.
People’s trust in online advertising and branded websites is increasing at a steady pace. According to Nielsen research, 69% of visitors trust social proof on branded websites and around 68% trust the consumer opinions that are posted online. Social proof can certainly influence visitors to take actions and make decisions differently than they would if they would have relied completely upon their own judgment.