What is social proof?
In the e-commerce world, social proof is becoming an important tool for a solid sales stream, but what is it, exactly?
Social proof, first coined by Robert Cialdini, refers to the conformity of people to the behavior of what others are doing or have done. In each situation, when a person is unable to determine the right behavior, they are more likely to rely on the knowledge of other people.
The more people who have taken a specific action, or the stronger their endorsements, the more likely others are to follow suit.
Relying on other people’s previous or current actions is the assumption that other people who have faced the same situation have better knowledge.
Social proof is a great tool for improving the sales for your business. There are several different ways to leverage social proof to help you stand out in the marketplace, and in this article we will list five ways to boost your sales using social proof.
We will start with the easiest steps and move up to harder ones (that will have a greater impact).
Social Proof Tip #1: Counter Notifications
Counter/Activity Notifications are notifications that show how busy your store is.
With Nextsale, we have different kinds of counters available based on your specific needs.
The most common ones are:
- online visitors
- product views
Below is a screenshot from the Nextsale app showing our available counters:
How do counters help with conversions?
People (visitor) counting can show other customers how busy your store is. When someone sees that 20, 50, or even 200 other people are on your website right now, it sends a strong social signal that your site is popular and your products are in demand.
This is the easiest first step in establishing some type of on-site social proof.
Social Proof Tip #2: Sales Notifications
Sales notifications show the recent sales of your products and you can display these recent sales to build trust with your website visitors.
Nextsale’s campaign builder allows you to customize every aspect of Sales notifications by:
- Displaying your customers’ first, last or full name, or even anonymizing customer data
- Targeting visitors by displaying countries, provinces, cities, locations, or country flags where they’re from
- Showing purchased product titles and images with filter tags.
How does displaying sales notifications help to convert to more sales?
This is central to the theory of social proof – if people see another person who fits their demographic profile, buying a product they were searching for, then they are more likely to buy that product or similar products.
As you generate more sales, you will have more notifications which creates a positive sales feedback loop for your store.
We went a bit deeper on this topic in another blog post on checkout practices to reduce cart abandonment.
Social Proof Tip #3: Product Review Notification
Product review notifications are reviews that are retrieved from a merchant’s own eCommerce site’s products like Growave, Stamped.io and then displayed on your website to let other potential customers know what other people think of your products.
92% of consumers, according to Nielsen.com, have reported they are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising.
Review notifications are incredibly powerful word-of-mouth marketing and can really help you convert more visitors into customers!
Check out Nextsales available integrations with review services and learn how to connect each of them:
- Shopify App Store page
- Shopify Experts page
You can also learn how to create review notifications campaigns:
- Shopify App reviews
- Shopify Experts reviews
Social Proof Tip #4: Brand Review Notifications
Brand Review Notifications are notifications of reviews that are retrieved from a merchant’s accounts on brand review platforms like Capterra, ResellerRatings, etc.
Brand Reviews can also be called or considered “feedback”.
This differs from product reviews significantly.
Feedback is like a “report card” from customers regarding the buying experience. A product review is just what the name implies–a review of the item purchased, not the seller or the purchasing experience.
These are just as important, if not more important than product reviews. These speak to your reputation online, and customers more and more are seeking validation for where to spend their money using brand reviews as social proof.
Social Proof Tip #5 Testimonials
In marketing, the term testimonial is used to describe an advertising method in which a person offers positive comments about a product or brand. The aim of a testimonial is to create trust and strengthen brand credibility.
Testimonials and Reviews “are the quintessential example of social proof. And including ratings and reviews on your website as well as sharing on social media lets your audience know what others think.”
88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.
There are many different types of testimonials – the most common being a direct quote from a satisfied customer, but it can also be in the form of a photo, video, social media post, even audio clips.
For more information, you can read our other blog post on types of testimonials with examples.
We suggest using testimonials in different places, where it makes sense in your store and its flow.
Some ideas for locations could be:
- On the landing page
- On the about us page
- As badges on header and footer of the store.
Not sure how to get testimonials? There are several proven ways to get testimonials from clients.
Adding Social Proof to Your Store
When integrating social proof into your eCommerce shop, it can feel a bit overwhelming, and that’s a common feeling.
Just start with step one.
Start with visitor counters, then move to product reviews.
After that, you can add testimonials to your website and other additional social proof mechanisms.
You know your business best, so do what feels right and authentic to your brand.
Social proof is one of the best ways to market your business, because it harnesses the power of what people are already doing within your store.
You can add a few tools such as Nextsale and you will be on your way to improving conversion rates on your website.