social proof

What is “Social Proof” and How Does it Impact Conversion Rates in E-commerce?



Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet. It’s also one that so many small businesses completely miss. So, what is social proof, and how does it impact conversion rates in eCommerce? Those are the questions that we’re going to address.

What Exactly is Social Proof?

What Exactly is Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful influence on human behavior and shapes buying decisions. Essentially, social proof suggests that buyers will follow others who have made a similar decision and had a positive experience. In other words, when several buyers try out a new product and love it, then the next buyer shapes their decision around that positive outcome.

The reverse is also true. If enough people have a negative outcome, then a buyer would probably not buy the product because it’s seen as a bad decision.

Social proof is seen in a lot of ways in today’s highly connected digital world:

  • User reviews and testimonials.
  • Celebrity endorsements.
  • Social Media Influence (Shares and Likes)
  • Expert recommendations

Understanding the concept of social proof is essential for businesses looking for sustained growth. However, just be careful not to become too dependent on it because one wrong move could lead to the opposite effect.

The social proof relies on three core principles:

  • Uncertainty: Buyers who are in a situation they aren’t familiar with come into the decision with a lot of doubt. They use social proof to guide them to the proper situation.
  • Familiarity: These buyers follow social proof from individuals who they relate to. It’s the whole concept of “great minds think alike.” If a person similar to them has a positive experience, then they believe they will have the same experience.
  • Expertise: Buyers who find themselves uncertain about a purchase turn to experts in the area. They believe that a person experienced in that industry will help them make informed decisions.

A lot of marketing strategies incorporate all three principles into their campaigns.

There’s a Direct Connection Between Positive Reviews and Increased Sales

There’s a Direct Connection Between Positive Reviews and Increased Sales

In today’s highly connected digital world, businesses absolutely need to leverage social proof. The connection between positive product reviews and increased sales is quite clear. Understanding this connection is crucial for businesses looking to leverage customer feedback to increase their sales and grow.

It Builds Trust and Credibility

Positive reviews show potential customers that a product or service is trustworthy. When consumers see positive feedback from other satisfied customers, they are more likely to trust the brand and feel confident when making a purchase.

Influences Purchase Decisions

Research indicates that the majority of buyers look at online reviews before making a purchase. Positive reviews convince undecided consumers to hit the buy button. Furthermore, these positive reviews also increase the perceived value of the product or service.

Enhancing Brand Reputation

Reviews give your brand a positive brand reputation. Businesses with a track record of satisfied customers are more likely to attract new customers. Positive reviews also help mitigate the impact of occasional negative feedback. In fact, negative feedback gives you a balanced perspective of your product performance and shows you areas where you can improve.

Improving Search Engine Visibility

Improving Search Engine Visibility

Social proof gives your products and services a significant search engine boost. Search engines often prioritize businesses that have products with lots of reviews, so new customers are more likely to discover these products. Search engine visibility is great because it serves as a free automatic lead generator. 

Social Proof is Today’s “Word of Mouth” Advertising

Ever heard how amazing word-of-mouth advertising is for local businesses? Well, social proof is today’s word-of-mouth advertising, but on a global scale! Reviews have a ripple effect and get people talking about your products and services. We see new companies go viral all of the time!

Combining Customer Reviews and Proof of Recent Purchases for Improved Conversions

Combining Customer Reviews and Proof of Recent Purchases for Improved Conversions

We’ve discussed the importance of displaying customer reviews on your website. But are you also displaying “proof” of recent transactions/sales?  This can be a powerful combination to boost trust and boost conversion rates.  You can view a great example of a website that executes this strategy here

You will see that their reviews and star ratings are displayed prominently on the website, AND when you first visit the site, you will see small pop-ups that display recent transactions.  This strategy covers two very important aspects of social proof.

Social Proof Is Important To Target The Customers With A High Purchase Intent 

Social proof targets the customers who are in the middle phase of their customer journey. To explain further, it targets customers who are aware of the products and services available and are exploring them but have not made up their minds yet. 

At this stage, a customer has a lot of questions in their minds. They keep thinking whether the company is reliable or not. To assess the reliability of the company, customers look for badge warranties and customer reviews. 

Social proof allows potential customers to find out the experiences of previous buyers. Thus, they make buying decisions, and they end up procuring the product or service offered by a business.

Social Proof Is Important For Sending Personalized Emails To Clients

Social proof is important to send personalized mail to customers. A marketer today cannot think of an omnichannel marketing roadmap without social proof. 

The incorporation of user-generated content is further important to make the emails sent to clients more engaging. You can use the user-generated content or UGC in emails that promote your business and in transactional emails. 

When successfully done, social proof can help you in the following aspects:

  • Building community
  • Bolstering the loyalty of the customers
  • Significant decrease in the amount of shop abandonment
  • Boost conversion rates

How To Collect Social Proof? 

How To Collect Social Proof

You may not get social proof for your business unless you ask for it. First of all, you need to understand what type of content gets well with your customers. Also, if you have already built a community, you can ask them to share social proof.

Be specific and crisp in your content while reaching out to them. It will help your customers respond well and promptly. Here is a step-by-step guide explaining a standardized process for asking for social proof.

Ask For Customer Reviews Immediately After Purchase

Here, you have to take psychological aspects into consideration. We all are happy after purchasing a new thing. So, in a happy state of mind, we will be more motivated to share feedback about the product.

Further, to ensure more success in garnering customer reviews, you can announce discounts on the next purchase. This trick always works. 

Look For Visual User Generated Content

You can send emails to customers to share visual user-generated content. These days, you must have experienced many e-commerce platforms asking you to share a photo of your with their products. Visual user-generated content also makes the social proof more authentic.

To get more UGC in a visual format, you can design the entire process like a game. Announce a competition and mention the giveaways and discounts they can secure for them. 

Optimize Your Website To Feature Customer Reviews

You need to make the process for customer review and rating submission easier. Further, no customer will want to go through many steps to share their feedback. 

Keep a dedicated section on your website with easy navigation.

Create Case Studies 

If you have a community and have a steady customer base sharing positive reviews about your company, you can email them to share their experience in detail.

You can create a customer success story or case study out of it. This case study can be featured on your website or social media. 


The direct connection between social proof and increased sales has a direct impact on sales in eCommerce. This powerful phenomenon influences purchase decisions and enhances brands in just about every way.  Small businesses must tap into this power by developing follow-up systems that are designed to capture these reviews.

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Debamalya is a professional content writer from Kolkata, India. Constantly improving himself in this industry for more than three years, he has amassed immense knowledge regarding his niches of writing tech and gaming articles. He loves spending time with his cats, along with playing every new PC action game as soon as possible.

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