Social proof put simply, is the way consumers use evidence from other sources to determine whether or not to make a purchase. In these days of social media and constant online interaction, there are numerous outside influences that will help buyers choose any one item from amongst the rest of the competition.
To describe the social proof effect, think about the high street. When you walk past the average Apple store with its outsized windows and minimalist decor, the impact comes from seeing so many apparently satisfied customers all helping themselves to the Mac experience. This is a persuasive sight, that subtly invites bypassers in off the street to see what all the buzz is about, or at least to take a second look next time they’re surfing online. And just as any physical crowd or queue has an impact, so it’s worth trying to replicate this with your online store. Create a stir in discussion forums and in those places where your target audiences hang out and you’ll be surprised at the difference this makes to sales.
Add a friendly photo when you quote a positive review. It’s the perfect way to bring a happy customer’s words directly into the world of potential purchasers. Ask permission by contacting your reviewer. It shouldn’t be a problem.
When you use social media buttons, be careful. Some stats show that actually removing Twitter and Facebook buttons increase conversions by more than 10%. Of course, this won’t be the case across the board, but it’s certainly a thought when you’re testing your eCommerce site design.
Having only positive reviews isn’t necessarily best. Sometimes your credibility is increased when you show that you’re not afraid to include lower star ratings, allowing customers to hear about the ‘warts and all’ of your product. Then they’re more likely to believe what’s so fantastic about it too.
To get technical about social proof, it’s worth thinking about these three aspects: prior experiences (what the consumer thought or believed before they got to this point), marketing information (the success of the campaign you’ve used to inform the public), other people’s opinions (external reviews etc). The point is that prior experiences count for a lot, but they can be overcome with marketing or by hearing the opinions of others. The art is deciding how to cultivate these factors for your particular Magento business.