Smart online marketers and businesses are increasing the use of social proof to engage customers and increase sales conversions. It takes a lot of effort to get a visitor to your website; you must do everything possible to convert them into customers once they arrive. When used correctly social proof can be an excellent way to encourage buying and increase sales.
What Do We Mean By Social Proof Mean?
People are often driven to conform to group standards even when they think they are acting independently. It is human nature. The Asch conformity experiments¹ are one example of people intentionally giving wrong answers, even when they knew the correct answer because all of their peers were giving the wrong answers. Humans naturally have the desire to conform and be like other people.
Knowing this, marketers can utilize this psychology to their advantage in the form of social proof. Social proof refers to encouraging people to purchase products or services because they see that other people or groups have purchased or like the product or service. Use your website to create human connections with products and services that trigger buying behaviors.
It may sound complicated, but it is actually very simple.
The Power of Social Proof
Nielsen research² shows that 92% of people will trust recommendations from their peers. The research also shows that 70% of people will trust a recommendation that comes from someone they do not even know. People are influenced by what other people think and say. These recommendations can be powerful selling tools.
However, less than 40% of people trust ads or other forms of paid social proof. Genuine social proof is much stronger than paid ads. In other words, to encourage buying through social proof you have to show potential customers that real people are already on board with your product or service. This social proof creates trust between your brand and your potential customer.
Simply adding testimonials or reviews to your store can have a dramatic positive impact. In fact, basic testimonials to your site increases conversions on a sales page by 34%³. Also, a whopping 90% of people say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
There is a reason for these staggering numbers that is summed up well by marketing legend Dan Kennedy. He has said that what other people say about your business, product, or service is at least a thousand times more convincing than what you say, even if you are two thousand times more eloquent.
People want to know what other people think about your business. This is the power of social proof.
So how can you apply this strategy to your Shopify store? Here are four ways to encourage buying with social proof.
Adding testimonials from regular people who have purchased your product is a great form of social proof. According to research completed by Visual Website Optimizer, adding customer testimonials on a product page increases sales by almost 34%.
Quantitative testimonials are also superior to qualitative, meaning using numbers and data whenever possible. For example, “I lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks with XYZ weight loss shakes,” is much more convincing than “XYZ weight loss shakes make me feel great.”
Pictures also make testimonials more credible, but a video is the best of all. Video helps to reach the 65% of your customers who are visual learners. Shoppers who view video testimonials are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers. A video testimonial with a satisfied customer talking about how your product or service benefited them can skyrocket your sales.
Ratings and Reviews
Ratings and reviews is also a powerful form of social proof. Remember, 90% of people say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. There are entire websites, like Yelp, which are devoted to ratings and reviews. People want to know the experiences that other people have had with products and services before buying themselves.
A recent study conducted by the Harvard Business School demonstrated that when a businesses' Yelp review is increased by just one star, sales see an increase of 5% to 9%4. As you can see, when the reviews and ratings are at a high level, people are more likely to buy.
The Ecomisoft app Lately is an excellent way to easily incorporate positive product reviews into your Shopify store. Like most Ecomisoft apps, Lately is fully customizable. It displays both recent sales and product reviews by pulling data directly from real and test sales. This allows customers to see the opinions and reviews of other buyers, giving them more information to make their buying decision.
Remember, if you do not provide reviews on your website many people will leave to try and find online reviews elsewhere, and these people may never return. With shopping cart abandonment rates between 67% and 80%, you need to do everything you can to keep potential customers on your website.
Social Media Activity
Over the past few years social media has truly changed the online landscape. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are excellent ways to incorporate social proof into your website. They can be similar to testimonials but have the advantage of coming from a source independent of your actual website, which makes them more credible in the eyes of your visitors.
You can set up links that provide unfiltered feeds to social media posts or you can pick the posts, tweets, and pictures that you prefer to feature. You also can include your social media counts on your website including likes, followers, and subscriber list size. Any numbers that seem impressive will provide social proof that makes you look better in the eyes of your customers.
For example, which sounds better?:
– Join my email list to get valuable content.
– Join 120,000 of your peers on my email list already getting valuable content.
The choice is pretty clear, and that example shows you how important social proof tactics can be to increasing your business.
When you show that you have been featured in places that your audience respects, the halo effect makes you more respected as well. A feature could be many different things including:
- An article you wrote
- An article written about you
- A press release
- A quote
- A reference about your company
- A product review
- An interview, such as on a podcast
- A link back to one of your articles
- A feature in any printed material
- A sponsorship placement at live events
- A mention in a video, podcast, webinar, or other broadcast
Having big names and their logos featured on your site improves your credibility with visitors. However, you first need to be actually featured by these big names. Therefore, the best way to implement this strategy is to look for big named sources relevant to your market that you can be featured in. Reach out to them and pitch them an article or a quote idea. See if they will review or feature your product. Press releases work wonders for this. Any way that you can get yourself mentioned on a relevant site will allow you to place their logo on your website and benefit from their credibility.
As you can see, social proof can be a powerful tool to increase sales at your Shopify store. Ecomisoft has a great solution for reviews and recent sales but you should also explore the other methods provided above to maximize the impact of your strategy. Social proof can be an excellent way to increase the perception of your store and turn more visitors into buyers. Remember, people are influenced by what other people are saying and doing. It is human nature. When you show visitors that other people are happily buying from you, they will be more likely to make a purchase from you as well.
In 2002, Matt dropped out of college, started his own real estate business, and 14 years later is still successfully self-employed.Matt is a husband, father of three, serial entrepreneur, and lover of comedy, craft beer, and The Ohio State Buckeyes.
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- 4 Ways to Encourage Online Buying With Social Proof - September 3, 2016