social proof ecommerce

Are you in the ecommerce business? Are you utilizing social proof to its full potential?

With these actionable social proof in ecommerce tips you can increase conversions and ecommerce sales.

Social Proof Makes Consumers Trust Your Brand

Since you are here, you probably know that social proof is a psychological phenomenon that makes people act like other people do.

In new or unfamiliar situations, we see first what others are doing before deciding what we should do.

We are likely to follow the actions and listen to the opinions of people that we trust.

Translated to ecommerce language: if prospective customers see that other customers are happy and speaking about your great products, they will instantly trust you more and are more likely to make a purchase!

Who people trust in which scenario can of course differ. Generally speaking, there are six sources for social proof:

  1. Family and friends
  2. Experts
  3. Celebrities
  4. Previous customers and users
  5. Wisdom of the crowds
  6. Certification
types of social proof

The more you are able to target these types of social proof, you have good chances at creating strong trust for your business.

Let me give some practical tips on how to do that.

Different Ways to Utilize Social Proof in Ecommerce

Social proof comes in many different shapes and sizes. 

Let’s go through some great social proof examples that you could modify for your own ecommerce site.

Sneak Social Proof Into Your Copy

Here’s one thing that you can do right now: use social proof copy on your website!

Not sure what that means?

I’ll hit you with the classic “9 out of 10 dentists recommend this toothpaste!”

Other examples of social proof in copy are e.g.

“See what over 1000 happy customers are talking about!”

“Join the community and share your thoughts with hundreds of users!”

You see what’s in common for all these above statements?

That’s right: they imply that there are several people involved in some kind of action. 

It convinces your website visitors that you have satisfied customers and a community behind your brand = wisdom of the crowds!

Numbers are especially impressive, at least when you have impressive enough numbers to present.

social proof numbers that matter

Sometimes social proof can act against you. If you state on your website that you have 2 followers on social media… Yeah, not a good idea! 

It might work for some adventurous consumers, but not the best tactic for impressing crowds.

social proof in copy

You should also sneak in visual social proof, like badges, business clients’ logos, overall star ratings, and other cool images and videos.

Create A Referral Program

You have surely come across ecommerce companies that have had some sort of referral program in place.

Customers can recommend the business for their friends and family, and get prizes in exchange for getting to make them the first purchase.

For example, food delivery company Wolt uses this tactic to get more customers:

Granted that this tactic does not purely use social proof, but it nevertheless leverages the social proof from friends and family.

User-Generated Content on Social Media

A strong online or social network presence is important for today’s ecommerce brands. On top of branded content, user generated content is key!

user generated social proof

Loyal customers are a brand’s greatest asset. Brand loyalty means more than just repurchases – it means you get customers who are also your biggest promoters! 

If you get your customers to share their experiences with your products and post them online, you are getting golden social proof content 🏆

You have surely noticed that some larger online shops already employ this strategy. They promote user generated images on their websites and online stores. 

This way the company gets free content, and the customer gets visibility, which is exciting for many.

ASOS is one of the brands who has employed this strategy:

Create a hashtag that helps you find and collect all user generated content on social media (in case of ASOS, #AsSeenOnMe). Use different hashtags to separate different campaigns.

This strategy really works

  • 60% of consumers find new products on Instagram
  • 66% purchased from a new brand when they saw a social media post made by another consumer
  • 79% of online shoppers say that user generated content is highly impactful for their purchase decisions (compared to branded content (12%) and influencer content (9%))
  • 80% would purchase more likely if the new brand showcased content made by real customers on the website
user generated content in ecommerce

Endorsements from Celebrities

Consumers are crazy about celebrities and want to buy what they endorse. If you get a celebrity endorsement for your products, you might get loads of new customers!

The downside: getting a celebrity endorsement costs time and money. Probably more than you are able and willing to give.

If you are a small ecommerce company, you probably have no chance to buy celebrity endorsements. You just have to hope that someday someone will find your products on their own and speak about them.

By the way, this has happened: 

Look at Kim Kardashian, who learned about a Finnish beverage during her trip to Finland and mentioned it on her Instagram account, causing a media frenzy in the country.

Since then, the beverage has been spotted in the Kardashians’ TV show.

It’s a crazy world, where one Instagram story from a celebrity can lead to countless press mentions and great visibility worldwide.

You might get lucky, too! And if you do, don’t forget to take full advantage of the situation 😉

Partner with Influencers

Many bigger online stores do influencer marketing. 

The influencers make social media posts which are also shared on the company’s websites and social media channels.

Here’s an example from Zalando, who have whole influencer pages on their online store. The idea is to showcase different styles that the customers could get inspired by.

The pictures are of course polished in the way that Instagram pictures are… But it’s still different from straight-up advertisements. At least we (consumers) think so.

Remember that unlike individual consumers, influencers are making a living out of their pictures, so it of course comes with a price! Paid social media sponsorships are the standard.

For small ecommerce companies, influencer marketing is probably not the first tactic to use. But if you have enough resources, it’s worth a shot!

Be careful at choosing the right people to work with. Not everyone is an ideal partner for such collaboration.

🚫 It is not realistic to expect Kardashian-level influencers to work with your new small ecommerce store.

🙅 On the other hand, an unknown name is not worth your time and money. I have seen self-proclaimed influencers on Instagram who have less likes and followers than my lame personal account.

✅ You want to collaborate with someone whose audience parallels your target audience and ideal customer profiles.

This form of social proof can be difficult to navigate in a way that satisfies all parties involved. But if you succeed, it’s a great addition to your marketing strategy!

influencer endorsement

Expert Social Proof

Expert social proof and celebrity social proof can’t always be separated, as industry experts are powerful influencers in their own field.

If you get an endorsement from a professional in the relevant field, you establish authority in the field.

Experts can be quite strict about their public image. They won’t do just anything in exchange for money or other compensation.

If your product or service is simply so good that an expert views it as worthy of mention, you are winning!

When asking for endorsements from experts, consider who are those people who know something about your field and are seen as authorities.

expert endorsement

FOMO Pop-ups

FOMO (fear of missing out) is a powerful psychological phenomenon that affects people, or at least 7 out of 10 millennials.

When we see that other people are doing something and enjoying it, we want that as well! We feel like we are missing out on something great if we don’t follow the pack.

Convince your site visitors that they should buy from you by using FOMO pop ups!

Examples of FOMO popups are e.g. site visitor count, real-time visitor activities, and social media followers.

An ecommerce site can also leverage 

  • Out-of-stock pop ups (sign up for a notification when they are available again)
  • Pop ups featuring the most popular products
  • Pop ups notifying a visitor when a product is about to run out.

Those will create urgency and fear of missing out on awesome products!

We just can’t help but act on the urge to make a purchase.

fomo pop up

Showcase Positive Reviews and Customer Testimonials

What if there was a very simple way to reliably show that lots of people really like your brand and products?

Reviews and testimonials to the rescue! They are crazy effective.

They are a type of word of mouth marketing, just in a digital form!

Consumers read online reviews and testimonials before making purchasing decisions:

  • 92% of shoppers read online reviews and testimonials when considering a purchase.
  • 95% of people say that reviews — whether negative or positive — influence their buying decisions.
  • 88% of online shoppers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from a friend.
  • Additionally, 89% of marketers say that customer testimonials are the most effective form of content marketing.
importance of testimonials hard data

Written reviews are great, but image and video are of course always a super good addition! It brings your customer reviews to a new level.

You surely have customer reviews somewhere on the internet. But how to get them to your own website?

Well, we have a solution for you. Trustmary software lets you import existing reviews from multiple sources, and showcase them on your own website with elegant widgets!

On top of that, you can easily collect real customer reviews, testimonials and video testimonials from your happy customers.

display testimonials with widgets

Such an easy way to get authentic social proof!

There is of course the possibility of getting negative reviews. Navigate those situations with the help of these examples on how to respond to negative reviews.

Interactive Content

Interactive content and gamification are big things at the moment.

Applying them to an ecommerce website requires a little bit of creativity. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Create a quiz that shows what kind of products the shopper should look at (add social proof by showcasing how many other people have gotten the same result)
  • Let the site visitor chat with a chatbot that gives tips on hottest products
  • Add reaction buttons to your products and let the visitors decide if the product is worthy of a heart or a thumbs up!

Leverage Social Commerce and Social Shopping

People want to start shopping directly on the social media platforms that they use daily.

Additionally, we want to make online purchases the same way we do it in real life: go shopping together with our friends and discuss the products.

User generated content has a great impact on social shopping, so pay attention to your existing customers and how to make them talk about your products.

Also, mind the platforms that you use in marketing. Instagram and Facebook are cool, but have you gotten into TikTok yet?

Pro tip: do it.

social shopping in ecommerce

Create A Shining Social Proof Ecommerce Strategy

Those were some great examples of social proof in ecommerce companies.

But how to really get started with leveraging social proof?

Here are the steps you must take.

1. Define Your Target Audience

Yes, we must always come back to this question, because it is essential!

Your target audience and ideal customer profile defines the starting point for the social proof strategy.

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Where do your potential customers spend time?
  • Who do they look up to?
  • What kind of content speaks to them?

Those questions help you determine which channels or social media platforms you should use, and what kind of content could be effective.

2. Collect Social Proof

How could you possibly showcase social proof if you have no material to use?

When you have a new business, you must start small. Don’t forget that social proof can also act against you if you highlight how little following you have.

Ask for reviews and testimonials from your first customers, and remember to improve your products and services according to customer feedback.

Once you get those first impressions, you will start getting more and more of them. It’s a snowball effect!

get testimonials

After you have gathered some name and reputation, you can start using those social proof tactics that require more data and customers.

3. Supercharge Your Online Store with Social Proof

Even one tactic is good, but the more the better.

Use social proof tactics on different parts of your website and during different touchpoints in the customer journey:

  • Add testimonials to your homepage
  • Shoot pop ups in the category pages
  • Display product reviews on the product pages
  • Use pop ups again if consumers are about to leave the site
  • Feature user generated content in email newsletters
  • Write effective copy for your CTAs

4. Follow Your Success

After you have implemented social proof tactics, you want to follow how they affect your conversions and sales.

This can be done e.g. with A/B and multivariate testing.

a/b testing on ecommerce website

Once you find the most effective tactics, be prepared for boosted sales! 🚀

5. Find the Right Tools

You have your hands full with lots of tasks. 

It can feel overwhelming that you should worry about reviews, pop ups, and all that jazz.

Luckily, there are plenty of solutions available that can help you to leverage social proof.

For example, Trustmary is a great software tool for gathering and showcasing testimonials (automatically), importing existing reviews from external sites, and creating social proof pop ups for your website.

6. Seize The Moment!

Sometimes you just can’t plan everything out to the finest details.

Maybe you get lucky and someone famous gives unsolicited positive feedback, or one of your customers goes viral with their social media content.

If something like that happens, be ready to leverage it in all possible ways!

7. Stay Up to Date

Digital marketing and ecommerce is changing rapidly. What we know today can be totally different tomorrow.

Never stop learning about new tactics and ways to use social proof!

Conclusion

In the article, we saw different types of social proof that you can use in ecommerce marketing.

What we learned is that online customers really appreciate content made by existing customers, aka user generated content.

Other great ways to use social proof are creating pop ups, writing engaging copy, and getting expert and celebrity endorsements.

Creating a social proof ecommerce strategy requires you to define your ideal customer, trying out different social proof tactics, and seeing what works best.

With this advice, you will surely create an immediate connection with your potential customers and get more sales!

Final tip:

Boost your conversions and supercharge your website with social proof by using Trustmary: a tool for getting testimonials and testimonial videos from your customers.

Further Reading

Here’s some more tips on how you can get the most out of your ecommerce website:

FAQ

What is social proof ecommerce?

Social proof is a powerful way to increase conversions and sales for your ecommerce business. It can mean e.g. user generated content on social media, customer reviews and testimonials, and influencer marketing techniques.

How to use social proof on ecommerce website?

Some ways to use social proof on your ecommerce website are

  • Displaying customer testimonials
  • Adding FOMO pop ups
  • Highlighting customer’s images
  • Using important numbers that showcase that you have many people on your side
  • Getting endorsements from experts

How to boost ecommerce sales?

One of the easiest ways to increase your ecommerce sales is to add customer reviews to your website. Written reviews and video reviews are user generated content and social proof. You can collect glowing reviews and display them on your website with Trustmary.