Using social proof for ecommerce marketing is one of the best ways to build trust and sell more products. People are heavily influenced by other people, and your online store should be taking full advantage of this.
The good news is that there are many different ways that you can utilize the power of social proof to influence your customers and boost your sales. This isn’t only a common marketing tactic, but social proof has also become something that customers specifically look for before they make a purchase.
Follow our guide below to understand social proof for ecommerce, and discover 11 ways that you can use it to grow your business.
What is Social Proof?
When consumers aren’t sure about what to buy or how to act, they look towards others. This is the basic idea behind social proof.
The term social proof was coined by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. The idea points towards a social and psychological habit, where we want to copy what other people are doing. We see social proof used in marketing all the time, both online and offline. While it can be used for all kinds of businesses and industries, social proof is incredibly effective for ecommerce.
This is because building trust is essential for ecommerce sales. Most of your customers want to see reviews before making a purchase and leveraging social proof will help you to get more customers on your side.
11 Ways to Use Social Proof for Your Ecommerce Store
As an ecommerce brand, you’ve got loads of opportunities to use social proof to boost your sales. Here are 11 strategies you should consider.
1. Use Reviews and Ratings
The most important area of social proof for any ecommerce brand is that of reviews and ratings. Your store has to show customers reviews if it wants to build trust. In fact, 95% of consumers read reviews before making a decision to buy a product. Reviews show that other customers have used these products, and what their experiences have been. Consumers trust these reviews far more than they trust marketing from brands.
Make sure that your ecommerce site has some kind of review section clearly visible on your product pages. This could include star ratings, as well as written reviews. Without this, you’ll struggle to build trust.
And don’t be afraid to nudge customers to get them to leave a review. Send automated emails asking customers nicely to leave a review. This can make a big difference.
2. Show How Many People Have Bought The Product
The more in-demand a product is, the more appealing it will be to customers. A great way to generate this kind of buying appeal is to indicate how many people have bought, or are looking at, the product. This helps to build trust, and it creates a sense of urgency.
If a lot of people have bought the product already, this will help to influence people on your site trying to make a decision. And even if you’ve only sold one unit, this still indicates that the product is out there and being used by people.
3. Frame Your Products in an Appealing Way
The way you present your products will make a big difference to how your customers perceive them. By using titles like “Best Selling”, “Most Popular”, or “Fastest Moving”, visitors to your site will be much more influenced to buy.
This triggers confidence in your customers, it helps to build trust, and it makes them think that they need to get their hands on a best-seller. Every online store has a best-selling product, and this should always be highlighted. Even if sales of this product aren’t through the roof, a label like “most popular” will influence new customers in a big way.
4. Recommend Similar Products
Another highly effective way to influence your customers is to recommend products that other customers also buy. This is something that Amazon does really well, and it’s a great way to upsell to your existing buyers. Beyond the element of social proof, it’s also a lot cheaper and easier to sell to existing customers compared to acquiring new ones.
You can add a section below or alongside the product page saying something like “customers who bought this also bought” with a few recommended products. Customers will see this, and assume if other people made these purchases, then they should too. This is an easy way to influence customers to buy more.
5. Highlight Expert Reviews
The idea behind social proof is that people trust the recommendations and actions of other people. This becomes even more true if these people are recognized experts in their field. One of the most powerful ways to persuade customers to support your ecommerce store is to display recommendations and positive reviews from industry experts.
Something like a dentist’s recommendation on a toothbrush will make a big impact on the customer’s perception of the product. So reach out to any relevant professionals or recognized experts that relate to your product, and try to gather a positive review or recommendation from them. Paying experts for product endorsements is a common marketing tactic for all kinds of products and brands.
If your dog food comes with a “veterinary recommendation”, or your sunglasses are “preferred by optometrists”, your products will gain a lot more credibility. And more credibility results in more sales.
6. Gather And Share User-Generated Content on Social Media
Social media is probably the most powerful place for your ecommerce brand to generate social proof. This is where your audience will be talking about your brand and your products, and you need to make sure that you include as much social proof as possible in your social media marketing strategy. This can be achieved through user-generated content.
User-generated content refers to each time social media users post about or mention your brand or products online. User-generated content is one of the most obvious forms of social proof, and it can have a huge impact on your sales. The more that people post about your products, the more brand awareness your ecommerce store attracts. This will get more social media users to discover and trust your brand, which will result in more customers.
So, how do you create more user-generated content? The best way to achieve this is through an online giveaway or contest. Your ecommerce store can run a giveaway that requires entrants to perform a certain action on social media–like upload a selfie with your product or mention your brand in a post and use a certain hashtag.
If you offer an appealing prize, you will end up generating loads of user-generated content for your business. The more social engagement like this you can get, the better. Just make sure that you use the right social promotions tool to allow you to run contests like this.
Whenever your product or brand is positively mentioned on social media, try to share this. Sharing user-generated content in your stories is always a good tactic. This way, when someone new visits your social media page, they will see various other users posting about your brand. This helps to instantly build trust, making it more likely for new visitors to become customers.
7. Work With Influencers And Brand Ambassadors
This is another tactic to help get more user-generated content for your business. Influencer marketing is huge, and for good reason. It can help you to gain some of the most powerful user-generated content for your brand, which ends up influencing a big audience.
Unlike regular user-generated content from your customers, influencers have more control over their audience. If an influencer recommends a product, there’s a good chance their followers will go out and buy it.
Influencer marketing is ideal for helping any online shop boost its sales. You just need to find the right influencer to work with that matches your brand’s values and target audience. Ideally, you will want to find an influencer with a very high engagement rate. Consider their audience demographics, and make sure that this matches your target audience.
The other option is to work with a brand ambassador. These are different from influencers in the sense that they offer longer-term relationships with your brand. Generally, an influencer will only do a once-off paid promotion for your business. Brand ambassadors, however, form a long-term promotional relationship with your brand. They post about your products regularly, engage with customers, and mention your brand online often.
There are various ways that you could establish a deal with a brand ambassador or influencer. Typically, this would be through a paid promotion, but it could also be through another incentive like free products.
8. Display Testimonials Across Your Website
Nothing builds trust and influences customers quite like a testimonial. While you will have visible reviews and ratings on your product pages, you can also display testimonials across other areas of your website to help visitors feel more confident about your brand.
Video testimonials are also an excellent way to get new visitors to trust your brand. Video is incredibly engaging, and it can help to provide more of a relatable, human element to the testimonial.
You don’t need a lot of testimonials. Just reach out to a few happy customers and ask them to say something about their experience with your brand. Once you have gathered these testimonials, you can apply them to places like your homepage, contact pages, or even use them in ads.
9. Create Urgency For Shoppers
Creating urgency is a great way to get your website visitors to make a fast decision to buy. Social proof can be used to generate urgency, and influence people to follow others and buy products that they’re interested in.
Creating urgency on shopping pages can be done in a couple of different ways. A common approach is to show how many people are on the checkout page at that moment. If you see something along the lines of “10 other people are viewing this product”, you will be triggered to buy that product quickly.
Another great tactic is to show how many units are left. If there are only five products left, it shows that the product is popular and that it might sell out fast. This kind of urgent social proof is a very effective way to boost your sales quickly.
10. Add Questions And Answers to Your Product Pages
Instead of handling all customer queries yourself, you can get your other customers to do this for you. Many ecommerce retailers display a questions and answers section alongside each product. Prospective customers can ask questions about the product, and existing customers will respond.
On the one hand, this saves you time, and at the same time, it helps you generate a new type of user-generated content for your products. Prospective customers will trust the opinions of other existing customers more than they will trust a brand, and so this type of social proof really works well for online stores.
11. Include Trust Badges on Your Site
Trust badges are little emblems that websites display to help customers build more trust in the business. These can include things like awards, guarantees, or even something as basic as displaying the tools you use for a secure checkout process.
Trust badges are simple, and they can make a big difference to the way customers perceive your business.
Think of anything that your online store could flaunt, like a 30-day money-back guarantee or instant shipping, and include these as trust badges.
Social proof for ecommerce marketing is essential. Customers today are always looking for proof that other happy customers exist before they make the decision to buy. Social proof will help you to attract more customers and give them more reason to leave your store with full carts.
Follow the strategies and tips listed above, and you will see just how much of a difference the correct use of social proof can make to your business.