If you've ever read customer reviews, watched an influencer review, or paid attention to an industry expert, you've been impacted by social proof. It's one of the most effective marketing methods that allows customers to trust a business and find a product appealing.
If you're a Shopify business owner looking to boost conversions and sales, consider adopting a social proof strategy for your ecommerce store. Since 87% of buying decisions start with online research, you must ensure potential customers have direct access to reviews and recommendations. Without it, your Shopify store is less likely to make a mark.
In this article, we'll take a deep dive into social proof, including what it is, the main types of social proof, and why it appeals to potential customers.
Now that's a big question.
Social proof refers to a psychological phenomenon describing our reliance on the actions and opinions of others to inform our own decisions. It helps shoppers validate their choices, allowing them to believe a product is worth their time and money by listening to the opinions of others.
Informational social influence was a term first coined by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his work, the 'Six Principles of Persuasion,' published in 1984. While it used to mean that a person conforms due to a desire to be correct and looks to others to confirm their beliefs and show them the correct behavior, it has since evolved.
Social influence is now used in all forms of marketing to influence customer behavior. For instance, have you ever seen a new and exciting product and taken to social media to read reviews from happy customers or watch influencers use the product? Then you've been socially influenced.
So, how does social proof already influence potential customers?
According to recent statistics:
Social proof doesn't just involve influencer marketing. There are many examples of social proof marketers use to inspire their target audience to act. Here are the main types of social proof:
User social proof is when businesses use customer testimonials and reviews to inspire other potential customers to buy a certain product by displaying user-generated content. User social proof is an effective and often free form of online marketing, taking advantage of prior online reviews by showcasing them to site visitors.
Kind words from established clients are an effective way to increase conversions, as past customers are legitimizing your product. User social proof is a great example of how this marketing strategy can be easily applied to ecommerce businesses.
For more outreach, try building a presence on review sites relevant to your business, such as Trustpilot or Google Customer Reviews.
Some buyers trust experts over following the wisdom of the crowd, and this is known as expert social proof. By displaying reviews from brand ambassadors with legitimate expertise, you're more likely to appeal to a large group looking for the next big product.
Types of social proof by experts could include a product review from an expert on their social media page, hosting a reputable guest on your Twitter chat, or a promotion on the expert's Facebook page.
One way to implement expert social proof is to hire brand ambassadors, who are experts that showcase your product and provide more knowledge on your business to potential customers.
Celebrity social proof, or influencer marketing, involves paying a celebrity to advertise and review your product, usually on their social media platforms. This can be done through posts to their Facebook page, a one-off Instagram post, or through a Twitter shoutout. Recently, celebrities have been using TikTok to promote products, usually in the form of a video testimonial.
Unlike user social proof, celebrity social proof is not a free form of marketing, especially if your chosen celebrity has a large social media platform. If you run an online store, you might be asked to pay a flat fee for promotion or to give away free products in exchange for a social media post.
While customers will take notice if friends approve of your product, a third-party influence from their favorite celebrity and positive social proof is more likely to influence them to buy your product.
If a potential customer looks up to an influencer, a sponsored post may make them feel FOMO - the fear of missing out. To be more like their favorite influencer, they're more likely to purchase your product.
So, why are these examples of social proof so effective at drawing in prospective customers and garnering more sales?
The bandwagon effect refers to the psychology behind the social proof. The idea is that people are more likely to follow the wisdom of the crowd, resulting in more sales. So, if over 20,000 people have left positive ratings and detailed customer feedback on one of your products, a potential customer is far more likely to also purchase from your ecommerce store.
For this to work, display reviews from real customers or the number of products sold on your business landing pages as a way of showing customers that they're in safe hands when buying from you.
If you showcase social proof on your business landing page, you'll cement the brand's popularity with potential customers, allowing you to improve your conversion rate.
By displaying lots of product ratings with a positive review, or a celebrity endorsement on your landing pages, your ecommerce store will seem more trustworthy and will allow you to build trust within your customer base.
Trust is hugely important when running ecommerce sites, as customers are required to give away sensitive information (such as a credit card number) when shopping online. If your website doesn't have any reviews, press mentions, or a social media presence, potential buyers will be less likely to purchase from you.
This makes social proof important for online stores since customer testimonials from verified accounts, celebrity endorsements, and user-generated content have a direct impact on buying decisions.
Rather than following the wisdom of the crowd, some buyers trust authority from experts in the field, known as expert social proof.
Finally, social proof in online marketing can also be used to convey authority. For example, a buyer may find a testimonial from an expert in the field more convincing than a hundred reviews from ordinary people.
Displaying customer logos of big-name clients can be another way of demonstrating both social proof and authority. If many of the world's top companies are using a service, the logic goes, it is likely to be effective.
If you're ready to adopt a social proof strategy for your ecommerce business, then good for you! You're on track to boost your conversion rates and encourage more sales.
Here are some examples of social proof strategies you can easily implement into your marketing.
Adopt expert social proof by reaching out to industry bloggers with the offer of a guest post.
A guest post allows you to showcase your product through the words of an industry expert, allowing blog readers to get a full overview of the benefits of your product.
One of the easiest ways to implement social proof into your ecommerce business is to add positive customer feedback to your product pages.
When potential customers visit your page, they will be able to see an array of happy customers praising your product.
Shopify has tons of apps available to store owners, making it easier than ever to implement customer reviews into your site. We recommend Rivyo Product Reviews & QA. Rivyo allows you to add product reviews, testimonials, and ratings using its easy-to-use widget. Try now for a seven-day free trial.
Influencer marketing is evidence that social proof works. It is one of the most popular forms of marketing to date, with the industry reaching a worth of $16.4 Bn in 2022.
Research niche influencers within your industry and reach out for a potential collaboration. Be aware that you'll likely either need to pay your influencer or offer them free products in exchange for a review. Once you've come to an agreement, the expert influencer publicly associates themselves with your product, improving your legitimacy as an ecommerce site.
The more followers the influencer has, the larger outreach your ecommerce site will have. If your product is more niche, try asking the influencer to add a branded hashtag to improve your visibility.
If you have a good customer base but not many product reviews, you'll need to encourage new and returning customers to leave a rating after shopping with you.
One of the most effective ways to gain more reviews is to offer a unique discount code to those that leave reviews on your site, whether that be on your business page, Facebook page, or social media.
At Attrac, we offer our customers the ability to add multi-message embedded banners to Shopify product pages, which can be used to add featured customer reviews. Showcasing the popularity of your product with visible reviews is a fantastic and easy way to add user social proof to your Shopify store.
Make potential customers aware of your credibility by showcasing your recent sales through a “sales popup”. By implementing this into your Shopify store, visitors to your page will have an up-to-date view of what’s selling by the minute, improving your trustworthiness with new and returning customers.
Apps such as POP! Sales & Live Activity Pop and Social Proof & Sales Pop-Up offer free plans to get your store started with using a social proof strategy.
Social proof requires careful planning and a clear strategy. If you're not an expert marketer, this can feel overwhelming - especially if you're juggling multiple social proof projects at once.
We would recommend adopting project management software to streamline the social proof adoption process. For example, if you're juggling implementing both user and celebrity social proof, you can use a project management tool so you can regularly track your progress.
Nearly all of the most successful Shopify stores use some form of social proof as part of their marketing strategy. If you're looking for inspiration, here are the ways that three global stores: Cupshe, Colourpop, and Gymshark, use social proof.
Cupshe is one of the most successful Shopify stores to date, with millions of customers worldwide. Selling swimsuits, dresses, and clothing, Cupshe relies on customer reviews and a strong online presence to garner more sales.
Cupshe has implemented a user form of social proof with a dedicated customer reviews page from verified buyers, with a link back to the reviewed product.
Makeup giant Colourpop is a Shopify store with estimated web sales of $250M-$500M. Over the years, Colourpop has collaborated with many online influencers, including Isabelle Fuhrman, Jenn Im, Karrueche Tran, Zoella, Becky G, and Alexis Ren, to name a few.
Colourpop also uses branded hashtags such as #colourpop, #colourpopcosmetics, and #colourpopme.
Gymshark started in 2012 and sells stylish gym and loungewear. Their Shopify store has since evolved, with over 10 million customers in over 200 countries.
Gymshark's Athlete Program is part of a social proof strategy that involves paying professional athletes and avid gym goers to use and promote Gym Shark clothing. Currently, there are over 80 fitness influencers who have partnered with Gymshark and regularly promote their clothing to their large audiences.
If you're ready to implement social proof into your Shopify store marketing strategy, consider using Attrac. Our online store-building software is designed to add high-specification displays to your store for the purposes of engaging customers and driving conversions.
With Attrac, you can add high-value widgets with customer reviews to your store to showcase your products and influence potential buyers to act. Our software is also fully customizable, so your Shopify site will look professional and streamlined.
To encourage more customer reviews, use Attrac's embedded banners to advertise unique discount codes as an incentive and boost traffic by promoting regular offers using Attrac's banners and widgets.
By using the Attrac multi-message embedded banners to showcase customer reviews, you can easily add a social proof strategy to your store.
Find out more about the benefits of using the Attrac Announcement Bar Banner by reading our article 'Score more conversions with embedded banners.' If you want more information on Shopify advertising, read our latest blog post on 'Ecommerce Blogging: The Essentials Every Shopify Seller Needs to Know.'
For more Shopify marketing advice, keep up-to-date with our blog for more tips and tricks.
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With over 100 expert tips focused on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Average Order Value (AOV), this checklist will help you audit and optimize your Shopify store and take it to the next level!Get Your FREE Copy Now!