E-commerce niche is over-crowded and becoming even more competitive every single day. Thousands (if not millions) of people are already running online stores. As a result, it’s getting harder to benefit from paid and organic traffic: bids are rising, the first Google page of search results is turning into an epic battlefield.
You do your best to gain traffic for your e-commerce business and… website visitors just leave your online store without buying. Accordingly, you waste money, time, and efforts. It is a familiar picture for a vast majority of e-commerce businesses.
Although that is not easy, you should make the most of your website traffic, increase conversion rates, and stand out among the competition.
Social proof can become a game-changer for your e-commerce business.
In this article, we’ll walk through 9 ways of how social proof techniques can help your online shop win more customers in the blink of an eye.
Why should you care about social proof?
Long story short, social proof is demonstrating your potential customers that others trust your business and benefit from your products. Social proof shows that your products are valuable, your company is trustworthy, and other people have had a positive experience purchasing from you.
Nowadays prospective customers are looking for social proof on websites. They want to discover if other people with a similar background are satisfied with your services. 95 percent of customers check out testimonials when deciding whether to buy from a specific company. What’s more, almost 90 percent of people admit that social proof influences their purchasing decision.
As you can see, credibility leads to revenue. Social proof techniques have a tremendous impact on e-commerce revenue. And that makes sense. You can offer a superior product, but if nobody says it’s great, your product will seem less attractive and reliable to prospective customers. We all ignore items with zero reviews and stick to ones with a dozen 5-star reviews, even though these testimonials are left by people we’ve never met.
Here are a few ways your online store can benefit from using social proof:
- Social proof builds trust around your company.
- Social proof increases website traffic, sales and allows you to charge more.
- Social proof ensures a higher conversion rate.
Social proof elements 101
To make your online store more trusted, take the following steps. First, show how many customers you’ve served or products you’ve sold. Second, feature partners’ logotypes on your main website page. Then, it’s a great idea to showcase press mentions and industry awards.
Add text testimonials ASAP
When we buy something online, how do we choose where it’s safe to do? We all will search for testimonials left from people who have bought the same products. By seeing how satisfied existing customers are, we are inclined to make a purchase too. No one wants to be the very first person to buy something.
There are a few things to remember before using text testimonials. First, don’t use fake ones: too enthusiastic testimonials are unconvincing. Besides, your prospective customers are clever enough to identify fake reviews. Instead, make sure that testimonials featured on your online store are real, relevant, and have an author name and pic attached.
Second, make your testimonials look like a small, yet completed story. To do that, encourage your customers to describe their situation before and after using your products when asking for testimonials. Also, it is a good idea to gather testimonials from customers who are closest to your ideal buyer persona. Third, place testimonials where they will impact your conversion rate directly: next to a contact form, near a call-to-action button, on an ordering page or form, on your ‘About us’ page.
If you don’t have any testimonials yet, how to collect them quickly? Luckily, the social proof platforms like crowdy.ai can do it for you. Here’s how it works: once the customers make a purchase on your online store, you send them a simple link. Once they click on the link, share their impressions, and e-sign a contract (it’s optional), crowdy.ai will automatically process the data. Then all you need to do is to approve the testimonial, and it goes live on your online store as Notification Widget or On-page Badge.
What’s more, using crowdy.ai, you can change the look of your testimonials to match your website, using different colors, shapes, fonts, and animations. But if you don’t have the time, simply use one of the provided templates and get started right away.
One of the first ways you can increase responses is through better handling of your post-purchase message. Test out different variations of post-purchase copy to get as many reviews as possible.
Offering customers a small incentive like a discount for leaving testimonials will increase their response rate. Also, it’s a great idea to reach out to customers on social media if they tag your online store: they are more likely to leave a review.
Go further and use video testimonials
A solid video testimonial can be more persuasive than any content asset you have produced. It builds confidence in your online store, increases conversion rates and the number of purchased items.
The statistic claims that people are 64 percent more likely to buy after watching a video.
Why are video format and video testimonials so effective? They are much more engaging, easy-to-consume, eye-catching, and dynamic. And they show more information in less time. Videos sell, not being salesy, because a personal video testimonial is a perfect ice-breaker between your online store and a prospective customer.
What should an ideal video testimonial look like? First, video testimonials at 45-60 seconds are good for showcasing one of your products. Second, don’t create vague or too general video testimonials. Instead, it’s better to give specific information and facts bearing in mind prospects’ needs. Then, keep your video testimonials intimate and personal.
To tell the truth, collecting video testimonials is no easy matter. Probably the most convenient way to gather video testimonials is to choose a comprehensive tool like crowdy.ai.
It helps you make use of existing videos from Facebook, YouTube, etc. as well as allows you to record your own video testimonials in the same few easy steps described in the section above.
Show users’ website activity
A single number can be worth a thousand words: customers served, number of items remaining, etc. Different statistics convince website visitors that they can believe you. So what numbers can you showcase?
The first type of user website activity is featuring a number of website visitors. That lets prospective customers know that others are surfing your online store. Another type is showing off recent conversions. That means you can display opt-ins or sales to establish social proof and raise your conversion rates. Both types of users’ website activities are carried out by means of social proof & notification tools.
How does it work? When a website visitor lands on a specific page, social proof tools identify them and display a notification widget with recent user activity. You can set up various rules for displaying these notification widgets without coding. Also, the social proof platforms like crowdy.ai let you customize the look of widgets to match your online store design as well as embed CTAs for immediate conversions. Just a few clicks — and you’re on your way to more conversions.
It’s a great idea to let people know if a product is very popular with phrases like ‘Only X left in stock’. So, when stock is limited, indicate it next to the CTA. You can also feature out-of-stock products to show high buyer interest in your products.
Another powerful social proof tactic is Star Ratings available for social proof platform users. The Star Ratings feature automatically collects customer reviews and displays them on your online store. How does it work? When a customer makes a purchase, they receive a link to leave feedback. Then the social proof tool displays reviews on your online store as Notification Widget, On-page Badges, or Clickable Snippet as well as customize the color and shape to match your online store design. If you don’t have enough time, simply use one of the ready-made templates and get started using Star Ratings in seconds.
Also, you can add the structured data to your pages, which feature testimonials and star ratings. That will allow you to receive a rich snippet in Google search results and get more organic traffic and conversions.
The variability in ratings positively influences conversion rates. 5-star reviews look suspicious. The ideal rating is between 4.2 and 4.5 because it is more realistic.
Adopt viral referral marketing
Referrals are trustworthy and perform above traditional marketing tactics. People trust recommendations from their relatives and friends. When the prospective customer is referred, there is a higher chance of purchase because people trust that their folks. For your online store, this means acquiring a hot lead who has a sense of established trust in your company. As a result, referral marketing acts like social proof.
And that’s not all. Referral marketing builds a bold fan base around your online store and products. People who refer become brand advocates, whether or not they realize it, because they start feeling like they are a part of your team. As a result, they are more than willing to help. And you can ask them to leave a text or video testimonial about your business! It’s easier to get positive feedback from customers who feel emotionally invested in your company.
Considering the value of referral marketing, embed a simple way to recommend your business on your website or business emails. Referral marketing can be especially useful for small online stores. And voila! — you don’t have to sell yourself alone, your existing customers will do it for you.
Social proof achieved with the help of social media
The first step to take when it comes to building credibility around your online store with the help of social media, is to add share buttons on your product pages or blog posts. But remember that if you have only a few shares, don’t display their amount on these widgets.
Alternatively, in a case when you have gained a dedicated fan base of your products, place a counter to convenience new website visitors that your products are worthy to be shared.
Another social proof trick is called ‘social count’. In a nutshell, social count displays your followers on various social media channels. That may help your website visitors quickly learn how many people already like what you’re offering. The huge number of followers is bold proof of the quality of your products.
The best thing is that website visitors can become your social media followers with just one click on this widget. All it takes to add a social count widget to your website is to do a few clicks if you are using a dedicated social proof platform.
Use user-generated content
People will feel more confident in buying on your online store if they see that other customers are successfully using your products. Here comes the need to adopt user-generated content (UGC) in order to generate more sales. This is social proof at its best.
How can you do it? For instance, you can encourage your satisfied customers by offering them some incentives (free shipping, a discount coupon code for the next purchase, etc.) to film a short unpacking video or take a picture of your products. It’d be awesome if they also could describe their experience with your product in the description of their video or photo.
They can publish this content on their social accounts or sent it directly to you. You can even embed an upload button on your website. Then, feature customers’ Instagram or Facebook posts on product pages to inspire other ones to buy from you.
For instance, Joss&Main features its clients’ images where they show off purchased furniture:
Fostering relationships with your customers on social media takes much time and effort, especially if your online store is a multi-location business. To discover what people are saying about you and respond to them promptly, test out dedicated customer support outsourcing companies like LTVplus. Among other things, it will help you find user-generated content posted on social media in the blink of an eye.
Actionable steps to start using social proof while running an online store
Let’s imagine that you’ve already collected some social proof assets. What should you do first? How to discover which type of social proof is a game-changer for your online store? Let’s break the entire process into a few actionable steps.
- Make sure that you have collected high-quality social proof elements (persuasive testimonials, eye-catching user-generated pictures, etc.).
- Don’t stop gathering social proof once you have two text testimonials featured on your online store or product pages. To make the process of collecting social proof easier, adopt social proof platforms that will automate your efforts.
- Choose the right placement of social proof. Test out the social proof near the CTA, in an exit-intent popup, near the POS, product pages, and everywhere throughout the funnel.
And last but not least. The ability to measure results is crucial to achieving success. Measuring the effectiveness of your social proof, you’ll be able to improve it for maximum results. You can’t just launch some marketing activity and enjoy the profit.
Considering that, conduct A/B tests to see which social proof type works best for you. Testimonials, Conversions, Recent user activity, Star Ratings, Social Count – all these social proof techniques can be available within one marketing platform like crowdy.ai.
When prospective customers are uncertain if you’re trustworthy enough to buy from, you can face their uncertainties with the help of social proof. The above-mentioned methods of increasing conversion rates are a brilliant opportunity for every online store to boost revenue:
- Trust marks
- Text and video testimonials,
- Real-time user activity (the number of recent conversions and website or page visits),
- Star ratings
- Referral marketing
- Social count
- User-generated content
Which social proof tactics will be your go-to move? Have you tested any of them before? Share in comments!