How To Use Social Proof As A Selling Tool


Have you ever bought a product online you never thought you’d buy? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. According to data, over 77% of consumers who listen to word-of-mouth advertising are likely to buy after reading a recommendation from a trusted source. This is due to a social phenomenon called social proof.

Take a look at these numbers:

  • 85% of customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 92% of customers trust recommendations online even from people they don’t know.
  • 49% of customers say that they need to see positive reviews first before working with the company.
  • Every 1-star improvement in a Yelp rating leads to 5-9% increase in revenue.

According to Robert Cialdini’s marketing book Influence, humans are social beings. We are more likely to value and trust something after we see somebody else value and trust it first. Today, social proof is even more important in the digital age. The question is, how do we leverage it to boost our selling efforts?

Types of Social Proof For Ecommerce

Types of social proof for eCommerce

Product-Specific Reviews and Ratings – some examples include star ratings, thumbs up/down and text summaries. This answers the question: what do customers think of this product?

Testimonials – reading about other people’s experience regarding a product or service doesn’t always come with authority but it does weigh heavily on the customer’s mind. According to studies, customer testimonials are very powerful content with an effectiveness rating of 89%.

Photos & Videos – according to a survey, 73% of customers are more likely to purchase after watching a video of your product or service. Another study discovered that testimonials with photos were also more likely to perform better.

Celebrity Endorsement – a celebrity endorsement usually translates to instant trust and authority by association. We feel we know celebrities so seeing them chug down a sports drink make them relatable.

Social Posts – Why is Kim Kardashian’s social post valued at over 6 digits? This is mainly due to their massive following online. But the value of the post is not just due to the celebrity endorsement. Brands like Pantene and Coke associate themselves with key influencers and they encourage likes, shares and subtle branding effects that is due to the popularity of their products on pop culture.

Why Does Social Posts Matter In Ecommerce?

Social Posts on eCommerce

One of the reasons is because our social lives are deeply entangled with our digital experience. You will be surprised to find out how social the ecommerce world is. Nowadays social media and quick button research allows us to consult with others before purchasing a product.

This does not mean to say that people are more social when they’re buying something. Social proof just means that we hold products to a higher standard and we want to ensure that the product we want to buy holds the wisdom of the crowd.

It’s very hard to replace physical marketing schemes like “try me”. However, the digital age came up with an alternative by simulating the “try me” experience with the experience of somebody who has tried it in person. This is why social proof is important.

If you look at ecommerce sites nowadays there are a lot of evidence of social proof all around. In websites like Amazon and Ebay, there are tons of reviews you can read so that you can experience the product before buying it.

Email newsletters are also good places for embedding social proof. Since customers are already interested in a product you can email them to tell them and remind them of the product they have in their wishlist.

Perhaps the best place for social proof is social media. This is a very sharable platform and people are more likely to tell their friends their experience after their purchase.

Even if you’re confident about the quality of your product of your service, it does not matter until you can convince people to buy them. In the end the ability to show customers the quality of your product is by answering the question: can you prove it?

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