Why Social Proof is Important for Ecommerce Brands in 2021 and Beyond

It’s never been easier for entrepreneurs to begin working in ecommerce. That’s great news for small businesses, but customers can struggle in the marketplace. How do they know which stores to trust?
That’s where social proof marketing comes in.

What is social proof?

Simply, social proof is what everybody else is doing. You are more likely to use a product your friends have recommended, or buy from a store that others also frequent. Established ecommerce stores benefit from snowballing sales as a result. But lack of proof can be a barrier to smaller stores looking for their first sales.

Social proof theory is built around three core principles:

  • Uncertainty — we rely on others to learn about things we don’t know
  • Similarity — we copy the behavior of people like us
  • Expertise — we seek guidance from people with more knowledge

Addressing these pain points can help online stores grow trust and generate sales.

The importance of social proof for ecommerce

Social proof shows that other people trust your brand. Customer reviews, expert testimonials, celebrity endorsements, and social media likes are all powerful types of social proof.

Additional social proof examples include:

  • Referral links from friends
  • Unboxing videos
  • Evidence of purchases made by others
  • Third-party verification (like BuySafe trust badges!)

There are many plugins and apps available to increase the social proof of your ecommerce storefront. And however different these services may seem, they all address the three core principles of uncertainty, similarity, and expertise.

How to build a trusted brand with social proof

To maximize social proof for your online store, it’s critical to address all three principles. This reassures buyers and convinces them to purchase.

Here are some common consumer questions, and the core principle driving them:

Uncertainty Similarity Expertise
  • Is this transaction safe?
  • Is my information protected?
  • Are the products as good as they look?
  • Will the product fit?
  • Who is buying this?
  • What are others using this product for?
  • Will this product look good on me?
  • Is it cool to shop here?
  • Does this product work?
  • How do I use it?
  • Is this store trustworthy?
  • Is it good quality?

Brainstorm the questions consumers ask about your products to find the social proof that will work best for you. Encourage buyers to like and share your products on social media. This lets new customers see the kind of people who already shop at your store. Prompt customers to leave reviews so visitors hear what real users think of your products. And display web counters or sales figures on your product pages to show that your goods are in demand.

MUST READ: 3 Quick Ways to Get More Product Reviews on Your Ecommerce Website

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