One of the most prominent conversion tactics is social proof. Coined in 1984 by psychologist Robert Cialdini, social proof is the theory that most people follow the crowd when unsure of what to do. It’s why savvy marketers target influencers, early adopters, or trusted experts — people apt to share positive outcomes with their peers or audiences.
According to Statista, about 81% of online shoppers say customer reviews impact tangible, non-food purchase decisions. But testimonials and other user-generated content impact decisions, too.
Today’s stores should leverage as much proof as possible to remain competitive.
Social Proof Tactics
Social proof helps merchants tackle multiple conversion goals. It can guide shoppers to specific products, help them choose the color or size, and prompt them to finalize the checkout. It can also nudge them to share their purchase details with others and return later to post ratings and reviews. Social proof can trigger FOMO — fear of missing out — and boost pre-orders and waitlist signups.
The value of social proof goes beyond immediate purchases. For example, instead of explaining the benefits of your email newsletter, simply say, “Join 50,000 Beauty Tips Subscribers.”
Social proof can include endorsements from celebrities, experts, and everyday customers.
Certifications and badges. A company’s accomplishments and participation efforts instill trust. Examples include awards, memberships, and certification badges. Place the most prestigious ones in the footer of each page and the rest on a designated page. Convey your support of causes, too.
Media coverage. Covered by the local news? Tell everyone. The same goes for online magazines and social media shout-outs. Use logos in the site footer to link to articles directly or, alternatively, maintain a list on a separate page.
“Spotted on” showcases. If a prominent personality talks about or posts a picture using your products, call attention. It’s a high-impact (free) endorsement.
Real-time notifications. Sometimes shoppers need to know they’re not alone. On-site notification apps can display the current visitor count and recent activity, such as purchases and reviews. Most of these tools run off a code snippet and allow you to customize the text and data to display.
Quantity sold; people waiting. Just as a low stock alert can trigger FOMO, a “sold more than” count can encourage trust-based purchases. For pre-order or waitlist items, display the number of people waiting.
Subscriber, follower, and share counts. Display the numbers of your subscribers and followers as well as social shares of product pages. Use a tool that suppresses counts below a certain number — low volume can hurt, not help.
Social media mentions. Show off who is talking about your products based on hashtags or keywords. Use a tool that monitors the mentions across multiple social platforms. Some tools can be configured to display calls-to-action on posts related to specific products. Real-time feeds are fresher, but moderation ensures nothing shady or vulgar slips through
Focus on products and experiences. Most stores curate testimonials and display the best on the home page. But place them on product pages, too. And include reviews of trending or premium products on the home page and search results. Test different placements and content to see what works.