Consumers often follow the actions of other consumers. They’ll buy products that are popular and trending while avoiding other, less-popular products. Known as social proof, it’s a driving force behind many online purchases. As an e-commerce store owner, though, you can leverage this phenomenon to increase conversions.
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof is essentially a follow-the-crowd phenomenon in which consumers choose products based on the recommendations or opinions of others. When consumers perceive a product as being popular, they’ll have a stronger desire to own it. They’ll see that other consumers have endorsed the product, so they’ll probably choose it over other products.
Social proof isn’t limited to e-commerce stores; it can affect local stores and businesses as well. Restaurants with a crowded parking lot, for example, are perceived as more popular than those with an empty parking lot. A crowded parking lot shows that other consumers approve of the respective restaurant.
The Conversion-Boosting Power of Social Proof
While all businesses can benefit from it, social proof is especially beneficial to e-commerce stores. You can use it to demonstrate the popularity of your e-commerce store and its products. With social proof, consumers will see that your e-commerce store is popular, and with their hive mentality, consumers will be more likely to buy its products.
Consumers also trust social proof more than traditional marketing messages. You can always claim that a product is the best in its class, but consumers may not trust your message. After all, you have an incentive to generate sales, which is revenue for you. Social proof consists of unbiased messages from other consumers, so is viewed as more trustworthy than traditional marketing messages.
Allow Consumers to Leave Product Reviews
Product reviews are a form of social proof. Enabling them will allow consumers to share their experience with a product by writing a review. Before buying a product, consumers may read these reviews. A lot of positive reviews and few or no negative reviews indicates the product is popular, in which case more consumers will buy it.
Not all consumers will leave a product review. According to WebsiteBuilder, in fact, only about one in 10 consumers leave a review after buying a product. With that said, most of your e-commerce store’s products will probably attract reviews, assuming they generate sales. As it attracts more product reviews, your e-commerce store’s conversions will increase.
In addition to product reviews, testimonials are a form of social proof. A testimonial is a piece of positive feedback given to your e-commerce store from a consumer. If a consumer has an overly positive experience, he or she may send your e-commerce store an email. In this email, the consumer may describe the experience while expressing gratitude. You can turn positive feedback such as this into testimonials for your e-commerce store.
There are several places where you can showcase testimonials. Many e-commerce stores publish them on their homepage. When showcased on your e-commerce store’s homepage, more consumers will see the testimonials. Alternatively, some e-commerce stores have a page dedicated to testimonials. Rather than showcasing them on your e-commerce store’s homepage, for instance, you can create a new page specifically for the testimonials.
You don’t have to choose between testimonials and product reviews. You can include both of them on your e-commerce store.
Use Social Media Plugins
Social media plugins allow you to tap into the conversion-boosting power of social proof. Social media is a platform where consumers can voice their opinions about businesses, including e-commerce stores. With social media plugins, you can encourage consumers to like and share your e-commerce store on social media.
Some social media plugins consist of packaged software or files that extend one or more social media functions to your e-commerce store. A common example is a Facebook ‘like’ plugin. It will add a button to your e-commerce store that consumers can click to like it from their Facebook profile. Other social media plugins allow consumers to share your e-commerce store with their friends on social media.
You can find social media plugins for most e-commerce-focused content management systems (CMSs), including BigCommerce, Shopify and WordPress. After installing and configuring them, they’ll foster more social proof for your e-commerce store. Consumers will see that your e-commerce store has been liked and shared on social media by others. As a result, consumers will assume that your e-commerce store is popular.
You can also develop your own social media plugins using tools offered by social media networks. For Facebook plugins, visit developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins. For Twitter plugins, go to publish.twitter.com and select “Twitter Buttons.” It requires a bit more work, but you’ll have more customization options when developing your own social media plugins.
Partner With Influencers
You can partner with influencers to create social proof for your e-commerce store. When choosing products, consumers often consider the opinions of influencers. Influencers consist of celebrities, authority figures and other well-known people who influence consumers’ purchases.
For more social proof, find an influencer in your e-commerce store’s niche. You can then contact the influencer to inquire about a partnership. For a fee, the influencer may endorse your e-commerce store on social media as well as other channels.
Here are some tips on how to find relevant influencers:
• Perform searches on social media using your e-commerce store’s brand name as a hashtag.
• Perform searches on Google and Bing for relevant influencers.
• Contact popular bloggers to inquire about a partnership.
• Use Upfluence. Available at upfluence.com, it connects influencers with businesses and brands in need of an endorsement.
Keep in mind that influencers must disclose any paid partnerships they have with your e-commerce store to their followers. If you pay an influencer to endorse your e-commerce store, he or she must disclose this paid affiliation in the message.
Consumers have a hive mentality that directly influences their purchasing decisions. If they believe your e-commerce store is popular, they’ll feel more driven to buy its products. It’s a phenomenon known as social proof. By using social proof in the form of product reviews, testimonials and social media plugins, you can increase your e-commerce store’s conversions.