SOCIAL PROOF AND WHY IS IT CRUCIAL FOR ECOMMERCE?
People are more likely to purchase a product that others are already purchasing.
By Ann Eshaw
Social proof is crucial for any e-commerce business. The way people search for, research, and buy products has drastically changed over the last few decades. Nowadays, 83% of all e-commerce consumers buy faster if there are customer reviews. That’s a major part of your target audience you could be missing if you lack social proof in the form of reviews. But social proof goes beyond merely having reviews. There are different types you can leverage for your e-commerce store. And where you place social proof is also crucial for boosting conversions. Let’s have a look.
SOCIAL PROOF AND E-COMMERCE BUSINESSES
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that explains that people take cues from others if they’re not sure how to act. For the e-commerce world, this means that people look for evidence that a product is indeed worth investing in since they can’t physically touch or try it out first. So what are the different types of social proof for your online store?
SOCIAL PROOF #1: PRODUCT REVIEWS
Imagine you’re shopping for a new couch. You found a couple of couches you absolutely love based on the material and the look. You’re shopping online, so you can’t sit on them and try them out. Instead, you go check the reviews. One couch has over 100 reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars. Another couch has less than 35 reviews and a 1.7-star rating. And the third couch has no reviews at all. Which one do you buy? We’re going to guess you’re going with the first couch that has plenty of reviews from over 100 satisfied customers. That’s the power of social proof in the form of product reviews.
A problem you might encounter is that you have an incredible product and plenty of satisfied customers, but barely any reviews. That’s cause most people don’t feel like leaving a review unless they have something to complain about. Why is that? Most of the time, it’s because leaving a review takes time and people value their time. So, it’s essential you make the process of leaving a review as effortless as you can for your e-commerce business’ customers. More on that later. But first, the next type of social proof.
SOCIAL PROOF #2: STORE REVIEWS
In addition to product reviews, store reviews matter as well. Because consumers want to know if an online store is trustworthy. They’ll look for clues to identify if a website is safe to buy from, such as if there’s an address and/or phone number visible and if there’s any dispute mediation available.
Though these clues are easy to spot and one of the first things e-commerce consumers will notice, they’ll also look for reviews from other consumers stating it’s indeed safe to buy from this online store. They want to read the personal experiences of other consumers. So, to build social proof, it’s essential you also have this type of review. With Trustprofile, you can send an email right after a purchase is done and ask your customers to rate your customer service. An online store review can look something like this:
SOCIAL PROOF #3: VISUAL USER-GENERATED CONTENT (UGC)
Visual user-generated content (UGC) is images and videos created by your own customers. They’re usually posted on social media. UGC is extremely influential when it comes to boosting your sales. Professional product shots look nice, but UGC is authentic and more trustworthy. It’s real people using your product, and it contributes to the build-up of social proof. Though UGC is a type of social proof and helps you build trust in your e-commerce business, it’s also a tool to increase brand awareness. Think of all the customers that share a photo of themselves with your product and tag you on social media. That means more social media users get to know your brand. These are basically more leads, which means you’re in the process of increasing your e-commerce conversion rate.
SOCIAL PROOF #4: TRUST BADGES AND SEALS
Trust badges and trust seals are small graphics you place on your website that shows potential customers you’ve been verified as trustworthy by a third-party service, such as an e-commerce association. Want to learn more about this type of social proof? Read this article about the different types of trust signals that help you boost your e-commerce sales.
SOCIAL PROOF #5: SHOW YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
A simple edit to your product page can have a huge impact: show how many people have bought your product. This form of social proof plays on the idea that people usually like to join in with the crowd. The number of reviews gives them already an indication of how many people bought the product, but that’s not an accurate number considering most people don’t leave reviews. So let them know the real number that invested in your e-commerce store. Assuming it’s worth mentioning. A low number can have the opposite effect, so beware.
OTHER TYPES OF SOCIAL PROOF
The abovementioned four types of social proof are the most common ones and the easiest to obtain. And they’re affordable. There’s more, like celebrity and influencer endorsements and expert proof. But that’ll cost you more, and they don’t necessarily translate into more sales. We recommend sticking with the abovementioned five. For the first and second types of social proof – reviews – we mentioned it’s essential to make the process of leaving a review effortless for your e-commerce customers. Let’s discuss how to achieve that.
MAKE IT EASY TO LEAVE A REVIEW
If leaving a review is time-consuming and becomes a hassle, fewer customers will do it. Only the ones that have something to complain about will take the time. And you don’t want that to be the majority of your reviews. You want your most loyal and satisfied customers to provide social proof for your e-commerce store. When you only get reviews from those that have something to complain about, potential customers may get the wrong impression about your e-commerce business. Let’s look at an example.
You can leave reviews about Stickerland on TrustPilot. They don’t actively ask their users for reviews over there, so the total rating is 3,2 out of 5 stars. This shows that the ones who’ll take the time to leave a review will indeed be the ones who have something to complain about.
But on their own website, they do actively encourage their users to leave a review. Their total rating drastically changes to 9,1 out of 10 stars.
So how do you encourage your customers to leave a review for your e-commerce store? You use Trustprofile. All your customers automatically get an email to leave a review after they buy something from you, with Trustprofile. Information like the order number, customer name, and e-mail address will already be prefilled. This makes leaving a review no longer time-consuming. It allows you to collect reviews through a one-click system. Using Trustprofile is the easiest and fastest way to gain social proof for your online store. Let’s look at how it works.
SEND REVIEW INVITATIONS EFFORTLESSLY WITH TRUSTPROFILE
We want to make the process of sending and filling in a review as easy as possible. For your customers, filling in a review has never been this effortless. As we’ve mentioned before, information like the order number, customer name, and email address will already be prefilled. Below is an example of the email they’ll see. In the email, they’re asked to leave a review. All they need to fill in is the star rating and an optional sentence or two describing their experience buying from your online store. The effortless process to leave a review is what contributes to the creation of social proof.
HOW TO INSTALL TRUSTPROFILE ON YOUR E-COMMERCE WEBSITE
If you already have a Trustprofile account, log in and click on “Installation” in the menu on the left. From there, you can follow the three simple steps to install it on your website:
- Select your software (e.g., WordPress, PrestaShop, etc.) and follow the next steps to install the Trustprofile plugin/app.
- Integrate the widget in your online store’s style. This is a visual tool to immediately show potential customers your trustworthiness.
- Another visual tool to inform potential customers of your Trustprofile membership is our large collection of banners and logos you can use on your website.
OTHER WAYS TO ENHANCE SOCIAL PROOF WITH TRUSTPROFILE
For you, we’ve made sending reviews effortless as well, and we have a couple more perks that come with using Trustprofile:
INVITE YOUR CUSTOMERS AUTOMATICALLY
Our integrations allow you to invite your customers automatically for leaving a review. It’s up to you when these invitations get sent. The default is 7 days after you’ve shipped the order to make sure the product is delivered and they were able to try it out.
PREVENT FAKE REVIEWS
To guarantee genuine reviews, we have several controls in place that prevent fake reviews from being posted. For example, we use algorithms to detect suspicious activity, such as multiple reviews from the same IP address or accounts with no purchase history. We also manually review any flagged reviews to ensure they meet our authenticity standards.
INVESTIGATE UNJUSTIFIED REVIEWS
If you receive a review that’s unjustified, you can report it, and our moderators will investigate it promptly. We take false reviews very seriously and will take action against anyone who tries to manipulate your ratings. Our team will inspect the reported review to see if it violates our policies and if so, we’ll remove it from your profile.
ALL YOUR REVIEWS ON A SINGLE PROFILE
Finally, we will combine the rating of all your existing reviews from different platforms, so your customers get the total picture of how trustworthy your e-commerce business is. Let’s assume you’ve gotten reviews on Facebook, Google, and a couple of other platforms. We’ll combine all of these on Trustprofile so the total rating as well as all the reviews are visible in one place.