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Social proof is undeniably a powerful tool to convince your prospects to buy from you when it comes to E-commerce. If you still doubt it, think about the latest time you decide to buy as a consumer.

If you wanted to buy a laptop that your friend just bought, for instance, would you ask him where he obtained his laptop and go there, or would you go to a random store? Or, if you were looking for a place to eat in a new city, would you choose one with a number of bad reviews? Well, I believe we all have the same answer here.

This is exactly the impact that social proof has on our purchase behavior. So, what is social proof? Why will your E-commerce store fail without social proof?

You’ll find all of the answers to these questions in this guide. Let’s dive right into it!

What is social proof?

Social proof is defined as the social and psychological phenomenon that our behavior is impacted by the actions, attitudes, and beliefs of people surrounding us (online and in-person). 

The “proof” element in social proof is the notion that if other people are doing or buying something, it must be right. It’s not wrong to say that no matter which platform you choose to sell online, you’re going to have a hard time getting sales without social proof.

How strong social proof affects us profoundly depends on the number of people who are using or promoting something. The more people, the stronger the impact. Social proof can influence people to make decisions and take actions differently from they would if they relied merely on their own judgment.

Social proof can be in the form of customer reviews, testimonials, success stories, or just a bit of copywriting finesse. By showing a specific number of products sold, or proof that you’ve made some customers satisfied, you will impress them a lot. As a matter of fact, a lot of apps in the market can help you deal with this perfectly, such as Proofo – Social Proof, an awesome app for Shopify merchants.  

5 reasons why your E-commerce store will fail without social proof

Your E-commerce store is already running.

You’re expecting your prospects will come and buy from you.

But wait, customers don’t trust you, can’t trust you, and won’t trust you unless you have social proof.

And if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy anything.

And if they won’t buy, you are out of business!

Sounds pretty hopeless, huh? Well, we don’t want to freak you out, but it’s the truth: You need social proof in your E-commerce store if you want to survive

And below are 5 reasons to explain why.

Declining organic search for brands on social media and increasing costs for paid ads

Most brands choose social media platforms as a popular destination to approach their prospects and customers. However, according to Adam Mosseri, Head of Facebook’s News Feed team, this social media giant is planning to make itself more “user-friendly.” 

The plan involves changing their algorithm, which significantly affected how users see content from businesses and how many brands have to pay for ads. This change focuses on showing less public content, including videos and other posts from businesses or publishers. 

Ouch.

This bad news makes it harder for businesses to break through the clutter and get their messages in front of their consumers and prospects. Instead, they must find ways to create highly-engaging content and interact with their customers in a personalized approach to get their organic in front of the right eyes.

In addition, Facebook ad costs have risen dramatically as a result of the new algorithm change. In fact, the price per ad rose by about 29%, compared to the average 5% yearly price increase in 2016.

How social proof can help:

Brands will realize that there are many ways to showcase their products and services outside of social media and paid ads. For instance, activating user-generated campaigns through their customers and highlighting buyers through social proof on their website will bring a higher ROI than retargeting ads through social media. 

Declining consumer trust in media

After the 2016 election cycle and numerous reports of fake news spread via social media, it comes as no surprise that people have lost their trust in the media. Nevertheless, it is surprising that they’ve lost trust in all major institutions, including government, business, media, and NGOs.

Well, you heard that right! Business, too. 

Besides, many studies show that people don’t believe the information environment will improve over the next decade. This shows the skepticism and dim look on the fight against fake news, false advertising, and fraud narratives. 

How social proof can help:

Consumers know that false advertising is increasing, so they might be warier of marketing messages. Brands, therefore, need to verify and add credibility to their messages and marketing efforts, and social proof is an excellent way to do it!

Increasing search for user-generated content (UGC) 

As stated before, it’s reasonable to look for advice from a friend before making a large purchase. But what if you want to be more certain? You’d likely search for someone who does. 

That’s when customer reviews become so useful. User-generated reviews are becoming a critical factor in how people perceive your business. 

How social proof can help:

Technically, reviews are a common form of social proof that many websites leverage to increase sales. Your consumers are posting social proof reviews, so why not play a role in the narrative? But keep in mind that, even though a consumer writes it, you need to be proactive in responding to each review and engaging with your customers. 

Rising ad blockers

Let’s face it: As a consumer, most of us are looking for an online user experience that doesn’t involve advertisements. As a result, we’ll choose to download and use ad blockers.

Unluckily, this makes the situation more challenging for businesses to share their message with their target audience. Ad blockers affect the display of PPC and display ads across Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and other advertising networks, and consequently, your advertising campaigns mean nothing. 

How social proof can help:

It’s essential for brands to find non-intrusive ways to approach and convince their prospects to become customers. Relying on social proof can help businesses convert consumers in a powerful and non-invasive way. 

Soaring influencer marketing

Influencer marketing continues to be a viable tactic that is getting only more popular. Influencer marketing is effective because celebrities are often considered “tastemakers” with their own extensive networks and influence power.  

It is proved that roughly 1 in every 2 people relies on influencer recommendations when deciding on products. So, obviously, influencers have control over your consumers. A lot of control!

How social proof can help:

Influencers are one type of “celebrity social proof.” When people see others they look up to and admire using any product and service, they might be compelled to buy.

The bottom line

With decreasing social media organic reach, increasing ad prices, declining trust in media, and rising ad blockers, brands need to be savvier and more convincing than ever. And social proof can help your business deal with that.

Low-quality products can’t raise their voice simply based on their crowd appeal. So, it’s necessary to maintain both quality and social proof to stay successful.  

Allena Dominus

Started the career as a Product Manager, I now reveal the ins and outs of the digital world, online privacy, IoTs, and the trends shaping the technology industry and much more.

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