Regardless of how it’s used on your site, social proof always has the same general objectives. You want your site visitors to trust your brand. You want them to feel confident that their order will be delivered without hassle. You want them to know they’re dealing with a reputable online store selling high-quality goods.
You also want your prospective customers to feel an emotional connection with your brand. You want to show them other happy customers – their peers – having a great time with your products because it makes them feel something. Emotional triggers are critical to a great conversion rate.
In this post, we’ll take a look at different ways online retailers win trust and generate feelings by showing social proof on their sites.
1. Show Credible Product Reviews
Seeing what verified customers have to say about a specific product is arguably the oldest form of social proof. This is a fantastic way to build trust, not only in your brand but also in a specific product that the site visitor is considering buying.
Lush Cosmetics doesn’t mess around when it comes to providing social proof on their product pages. Not only do they give you an instant overview of what the product’s average review score is by showing its star rating and the number of people who reviewed it, but they also dedicate a giant section of the product page’s real estate to the reviews themselves.
Halfway down the product page, right after giving visitors all the product info they need to generate interest, there’s an extremely detailed list of reviews. Each review is packed with info that generates credibility. Along with a sizable section of feedback, it proudly shows the customer’s name, their location, and when they bought the product.
What also helps generate trust is the fact that amongst all the glowing words of praise, there’s the odd 3-star review where a customer had a less-than-stellar experience. This helps Lush avoid the impression that they’re cherry-picking responses from their customers.
2. Integrate Social Media UGC into Your Website
By sending out requests for user-generated content or creating branded hashtags, you can easily get hold of imagery of your existing customers using your products in interesting ways and locations.
This is a fantastic way to show social proof that generates emotions with your site visitors, whether they’re new leads or existing customers.
From a technical and design perspective, there are many ways to do this. You can cherry-pick specific social media submissions and simply post them into a gallery on your site, like Campman does. Or you can simply integrate your entire Instagram feed into an element on one of your site pages, like Orizaba Original does.
Either way, what you’re giving your site visitors is a chance to project themselves into the lives of one of your existing customers. You’re allowing them to vicariously enjoy your awesome products, which will help generate feelings that are hugely important to triggering conversion.
3. Generate Scarcity by Showing Remaining Stock
This is an exceptionally powerful method if you’re selling a finite asset like accommodation or event tickets. The fewer you have left, the more you’re triggering a fear impulse with your site visitors.
The fear of missing out is one of the most effective drivers of impulse purchases, and it can be leveraged to deliver a massive boost to your conversion rates.
Have a look at the way Booking.com handles messaging on their accommodation pages. Once a certain threshold is reached, the site displays a text message indicating how many rooms are left at this particular location. The message is in red so that it stands out from the background and surrounding text.
Even though the visitor may have considered other options or would have liked to browse a little longer, seeing that they have a limited time to make a decision on this option is likely to trigger an instant transaction.
This message also plays a secondary role – buying credibility for that particular product. “There’s gotta be a reason there are only a few rooms left, right? This place has to be awesome!”
4. Announce Recent Sales and Real-Time Purchases
A fantastic way to buy trust in your store is to let a visitor know that a purchase has happened while they’ve been browsing. These unobtrusive pop-ups that slide into the corner of the browser screen go a long way towards showing a first-time shopper that yours is, indeed, an active store with real customers.
These pop-ups typically show the visitor who the customer was (if this was supplied during the purchase), where they’re from, and the item that they purchased. The visitor feels comfortable that they’re not the only person browsing and shopping. It creates a feeling of community and goodwill towards your brand.
David’s Clothing is a terrific example of a site that does this well. The pop-up is tastefully designed, and it stands out from the surrounding content without blocking too much of it.
Some Final Thoughts
All of the examples we looked at in this article are applicable to ecommerce websites, but only you would know whether they’re appropriate for your target audience.
When considering which social proof method you’re going to utilize on your site, think critically about your brand’s different buyer personas. If you were in their shoes, which of these techniques would resonate with you the most?
If you make decisions like these from your target audience’s perspective, the social proof methods you choose are far more likely to improve your conversion rate.