How to use social proof to drive more sales for your Shopify store
  • By: Ricky Hayes October 22, 2020

How To Use Social Proof To Drive More Sales For Your Shopify Store

The world of online shopping is chock-full of options, crowded and competitive. For shoppers, a search for a single product pops up hundreds of options being sold by different stores. Moreover, competitive prices and attractive discounts leave customers confused and suspicious. Studies reveal one factor that plays a crucial role in consumer choice is trust. 

That’s where social proof comes in. 

In fact, social proof is said to improve a store’s conversion rate by a whopping 15%. It works on the principle of social conformity – that people trust people, not brands. No matter how good your ad campaigns and offers are. 

Put simply, when we see that others have purchased something we’re interested in, it clears our doubts, builds trust, gives us confidence and impacts our purchase decision. When you see a friend use a product and be happy with it, don’t you become more inclined to make the purchase too? 

Your shoppers are no different. 

But when you’re just starting out a new store on Shopify or have way too many products to promote, or a lot of competition, how do you build trust? Where do you use social proof? 

Different Ways To Use Social Proof To Help You Sell More

1. Display Product Reviews and Ratings on Each Product Page

What do you do when you’re planning to purchase electronics online? You head over to the search engine to read its reviews from customers like you.  

According to an E-consultancy survey, “88% of consumers depend on reviews when making a purchase, and 60% are more likely to purchase from a site that shares customer reviews.”

Ecommerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart, among others, have popularized review-sharing on each product page. Smaller stores, too, use this technique to boost sales. Studies reveal that shoppers trust reviews 12 times more than product descriptions, making this form of social proof critical for conversions. 

You can add Photo Reviews & Testimonials to your store by using smart Shopify apps as live pods have:  

Reviews & Testimonials

Here are the benefits of sharing reviews and ratings on each product page:

  • It helps shoppers know more about the product or service
  • It boosts trust in your brand, product or service
  • It helps reduce shoppers’ purchase anxiety
  • It gives confidence to shoppers
  • It leads customers to make purchase decisions
  • It reduces their research cycle by eradicating the need to search for reviews 

Pro tip: Share reviews that focus on unique value propositions and benefits of the products higher than the others. 

2. Show Real-Time Sales Notifications

Imagine you’re in a market looking for a restaurant to have lunch. You find a couple of options – one Chinese and one continental. Going by the number of people in both the restaurants, you notice the Chinese place is more preferred, while the Continental place hardly has any customers. You choose to go with the crowd, to the Chinese restaurant. The same holds true when one’s shopping online.

Real-time sales notifications on your Shopify store have a similar effect on your shoppers. When shoppers see that other people are actively looking at a product or have recently bought it, it makes them feel more confident about your brand and its products.

But more importantly, it lets them see the product’s demand in real-time. Here’s how a sales notification looks like – notice bottom left: 

Sales notification

Here are some of the benefits of using sales notifications as social proof: 

  • It can make other customers feel confident
  • It makes shoppers curious about the products others are viewing 
  • It creates a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on visitors 
  • It helps convince shoppers to take action and increases sales

Pro tip: Different Shopify stores use different ways of sharing real-time notifications. Some websites have pop-ups with customer names, photos, and locations of buyers for authenticity, while others simply display the number of times a product has been bought. 

3. Display Ratings and Reviews In The Product Recommendations You Display 

“People who viewed this product bought”, “You might also like”, “Related products”– adding product recommendations is an effective persuasion technique to get shoppers to discover more products. But what’s more effective is adding ratings and reviews with these recommendations. 

It is an excellent way to give easy access to shoppers to popular products and let them know what other buyers think of it.

98% of online store visitors do not buy on their first visit. They tend to drop off after visiting one product page. Showing product recommendations along with ratings can help you hold these shoppers back and nudge them towards conversion.

Popular products

You can set this up easily with a Shopify product recommendations app like WISER. It integrates with popular reviews and rating apps, to enable you to display social proof alongside recommendations. 

Here are some benefits of using this format of social proof: 

  • Reduces bounce rate 
  • Increases product discoverability like ASOS does it
  • Reduces the sales cycle by offering reviews on-site 
  • Boost on-site engagement and conversions 

Pro tip: Choose products with high ratings to display as product recommendations. You can show your best-selling/ trending products on all product pages. 

4. Feature User-Generated Content On Your Store 

Another effective social proof technique is to share user-generated content on your store. Different brands do it in different ways – some display selfies of customers wearing their purchases to inspire new shoppers. Some allow customers’ to share post-purchase experiences and videos, and some simply create a curated feed out of all the content created by customers. It’s all authentic content that vouches for your products! 

And you can display this content in different ways: 

  • On the product page
  • On a separate dedicated page 

Here’s an example of how Koovs, a fashion brand displays all the user-generated content shared on Instagram, on their store: 

Koovs fashion

Here’s why this format of social proof is beneficial for your store: 

  • Creates authentic connections with customers
  • Gives proof of quality to shoppers
  • Cost-effective marketing strategy
  • Motivates customers to share more purchases
  • Brands can widen their reach to new customers when shoppers share content on their 

social accounts

  • It makes shoppers feel good about the purchase they are about to make

5. Showcase Your Best Selling Products  

Amazon, AliExpress and all those industry-leading brands display their top-selling products right on the homepage. Why?

Because doing so let’s them immediately hook a new visitor’s attention by showing them what’s selling the most on the store. When a new visitor sees a range of products being searched for or bought from you a lot, they tend to explore them as well – whether or not they came looking for those products. That’s the power of this simple yet powerful way of using social proof! 

Here’s how Andy & Evan’s does it using their product recommendations app, WISER:  

Top selling products

Here are some benefits of using this format of social proof: 

  • It tailors the customer journey to conversion 
  • It helps customers discover more products 
  • It helps build trust and bring products to the limelight 
  • It reduces bounce rate and increases on-site engagement 

Pro tip: Display best sellers across all pages – your homepage for first time visitors who are exploring what you offer and your product pages for those who came searching for something specific. 

Do you really need to display social proof? 

Let’s face the hard truth. Your shoppers are just a click away from jumping over to your competitor sites and new visitors won’t trust you easily.

According to data, 55% of online shoppers leave websites within the first 15 seconds of their visit—every second matter. To capture your shoppers’ attention, you don’t just need a good deal, but also need to immediately show that your deals are worth the investment and you won’t let them down. 

That’s where social proof comes in. 

And it’s not a new tactic. Conversion rate optimization experts have always recommended adding social proof on your site. The way we display elements of trust have simply evolved over the years to make them more engaging. 

So if you’re still lagging behind on sales, it’s time to give this tactic a shot. 

Author bio: 
Vanhishikha Bhargava is the Head of Content and Partnerships at Expert Village Media, a team of Shopify Experts that build solutions that enable stores to turn their visitors into customers. She can also be found actively sharing strategies for eCommerce brands to grow on Shopify. You can connect with her for discussing content marketing strategies here

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