Shopify social proof as an influential asset

Shopify Social Proof – Powerful Asset to Build Trust

How can my Shopify store increase conversions of new visitors? This is one of the most common questions of Shopify merchants. Improving conversion rates requires lots of effort from marketing strategies and operational activities. To convert a cold visitor to a customer, you need to earn their trust first. Social proof, an influential marketing tool, will help your Shopify store leverage current customers to build trust with new visitors.

In fact, 85% of the customers trust local online reviews as much as personal suggestions significantly more than the content provided by the brand, according to a study of Bright local [1].

We can’t deny how powerful social proof is in persuading customers to buy products of a brand. It is crucial to effectively adopt this tool to your marketing strategy. Hence, this article will demonstrate what social proof is, its types, and ways to implement it.

What is social proof?

Social proof (also called informational social influence) is a term firstly introduced in the book “Influence’ by Robert Cialdini in 1984 [2]. The whole idea of this term is to describe our tendency to imitate the actions of others under the assumption that these behaviors are correct. This psychological phenomenon has three core principles:

  • Uncertainty: When facing unfamiliar things, we usually look for real experiences from others.
  • Similarity: If this is the choice of the majority, or a group who share similar needs, beliefs, or situations are taking these actions, then so should I. 
  • Expertise: Experts or wise people may make better decisions, therefore, we should follow them.

Corresponding to these principles, social proof has various forms. You’ll easily find these forms around you, even if this is the first time you’ve heard about social proof. They can be recommendations of your friends, product review of vloggers, or ratings of users, advice from experts…

An example of social proof is the review of apps. As a Shopify store owner, you go to the Shopify app store to browse a shipping calculator app. 

If you have four apps as the below screenshot, which choices should you pick? Is the Shipzee: Shipping Calculator without no reviews your first choice? Your answer would probably be no.

Choose Shopify apps based on social proof

Why does social proof work with Shopify stores?

Customers’ typical concerns when shopping online

Nowadays, online shopping has become more and more popular because it’s more convenient and easily accessible. However, buyers can be put at risk of being vulnerable due to misleading practices of online sellers such as fake product previews, deceptive advertisements. Since we can’t physically see, touch the online products or services, as a human being, we distinctively tend to look for experiences or feedback from previous buyers.

Social proof helps build trust in customers

New customers

By providing real confirmations from previous buyers, social proof can solve the above-mentioned concerns, then help to build trust with potential buyers. The following numbers can illustrate this:

  • Research by Convince & Convert shows that 83% of Americans faithfully follow word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family members before buying a product or service [3]. 
  • According to Nielsen, 70% of consumers will trust online opinions even from someone they don’t know [4].
  • Zendesk found that 90% of survey respondents, who have viewed online reviews, said that positive reviews impact their buying decisions [5].

Existing customers

Does it seem that social proof only impacts new customers? Actually not. 

When a satisfied customer sees good feedback from others, he tends to hold on to his positive belief about your brand. He will immediately remember your brand if he has demand. He may be willing to recommend it to his friends, relatives when they need it. 

Social proof contributes to raising sales and conversions

Let see how social proof affects sales and conversions by taking a look at these cold, hard numbers:

  • Across the Bazaarvoice client network, conversion rate increases 133% when mobile shoppers read content from customers like reviews [6].
  • A research by Luca from Harvard Business School on Yelp.com reported several interesting findings. He found that consumers enthusiastically respond when a rating contains more information. Regarding consumer reviews on the restaurant industry, another finding is a one-star increase in Yelp rating resulting in a 5-9% increase in revenue [7]. 
  • When business case studies were analyzed by Marketshare, researchers found a 10% increase in word-of-mouth (off and online) led to a sales increase lifting between 0.2 – 1.5% [8].

Types of social proof

Social proof can be generated online and offline. It appears in various forms so there are many ways to categorize these forms. Below, I have listed out the 4  typical types of social proof based on its creators. 

Let’s start with the most popular type – public praise also known as testimonials.

Public praise

Public praise or testimonial can be understood as approval of products or services shared publicly by customers. You can collect and display it widely on many online platforms such as store websites, social media, and open forums… It includes two main types: reviews (or ratings) and user-generated content. 

Reviews or rating 

In fact, Brightlocal found that 88% of people trust online reviews from other consumers as much as suggestions from their personal contacts [9]. Additionally, 35% of consumers said that better feedback motivates them to move quickly for the higher-priced option between similar products online [10].

For example, Blankie Tails does it well on their product pages and Facebook.

Social proof example - reviews
Store website: www.blankietails.com
Review on Facebook
Source: facebook.com/blankietails

User-generated content (UGC)

User-generated content can be defined as a form of customer posts that share in detail their experiences with your product or brand by their personal accounts. Normally, their content can be generated on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,… 

According to a data report of Stackla, consumers are 2.4x more likely to say user-generated content is authentic in comparison with brand-created content [11]. Additionally, 54% of people have consumed packaged goods after reading UGC showing them [12]. Since people trust UGC more, you can find this content then get permission from customers and share it on your own channels. Don’t forget to thank them for supporting your brand.

For example, Cupshe is a successful case study launching UGC campaign, which was shared on Shopify.com. This store has grown rapidly and scaled beyond $3 million in monthly sales by leveraging UGC throughout their offsite and onsite funnel. 

Cupshe inspired user-generated content on their Instagram account.

UGC on Instagram
Source: www.shopify.com/enterprise/user-generated-content-examples

UGC was also displayed on Cupshe product pages.

Social proof is shown on the Shopify product page
Store website: www.cupshe.com

UGC and professional photos mixed on Cupshe’s homepage.

Show social proof on the Shopify homepage
Store website: www.cupshe.com

This UGC campaign of Cupshe generated impressive results:

Source: www.shopify.com/enterprise/user-generated-content-examples

Popularity 

Popularity can be measured by quantifiable signs. Typical numbers that should consider are:

  • The number of likes, followers of your social media accounts.
  • The number of reacts, comments, views, and shares on social media posts.
  • The volume of viewers on live stream on Facebook or Instagram.

For example, Taylor Stitch can quickly generate great impressions with shoppers with a high number of likes, followers on their Facebook page. 

As a shopper, will you trust more on a Facebook page with nearly 60k likes as Taylor Stitch or another page with 500 likes?

Popularity example
Facebook: facebook.com/taylorstitchclothing

Endorsements from third-party 

An endorsement can be any type of public content from influencers or industry experts or industry bloggers or even trusted partners. 

According to the finding of a study on influencers, influencer marketing sees an average ROI of $6.50 for each dollar spent, Adweek.com shared [13]. You can find influencers on Famebit, Shoutcart, Influence.co. Note that they will affect your target audiences, your niche market. Additionally, their content should be friendly like a recommendation for friends, relatives instead of a pitch of sales. Otherwise, you can book articles in the press, which relate directly to your industry, such as Bailly does.

Endorsement example - press
Store website: bailly.co/pages/press

If you prioritize investing in other activities instead of hiring influences, you can add certifications, logos of trusted partners to your site. For example, HappyPoints shows the logo of Shopify partners in the footer.

Endorsement example - trusted partners

Proof of demand

Proof of demand is a less common form compared with the above-mentioned types of social proof in Shopify stores. It shows that you are not a single buyer of this product or service. The large volume of sales proves that the product or service is the choice of the majority. Therefore, encouraging shoppers to be a part of this.

Here are some types of numbers, which you can consider to show:

  • The number of orders.
  • Individual customers who recently purchased specific products.
  • The number of current web visitors.
  • The number of inventory.

You can learn the way Shopify shares their number through their story.

Proof of demand - Shopify story
Website: www.shopify.com/about

How to show social proof on your Shopify store website

It’s time to let current customers help you sell to potential customers. If you have already collected social proofs, there are 3 valuable places for you to spotlight them.

On homepage

Even though the homepage may not be the first page to visit, most shoppers will land on it once during their buying journey. Therefore, you should show customers reviews about products or services in general or any other types of social proof on the homepage.

On the homepage, you will not have much space to showcase customer reviews. Therefore, it’s recommended to present social proof as a slideshow (also called a carousel) above the footer or below the product section. Here is an example of this from Minaal.

Slideshow testimonial on homepage
Store website: minaal.com

On product page

Social proof is a must-have element on product pages because of its mentioned impact above. You should highlight it on your product pages so that shoppers can quickly notice and read feedback from previous buyers. These testimonials should include product images or videos to make it more realistic and appealing. 

For example, let’s see how Minaal presents social proof on its product page. 

Social proof on product page
Store website: minaal.com

On the right, it includes product detailed information while the left one shows customer review as the proof of what has been stated about the products. When you land on this page, the review section is hidden to keep the page neat. All customer reviews of this product will be shown when you click on the plus button. 

review on product page
Store website: minaal.com

Moreover, you can add trust badges to your product pages. A trust badge, also called a trust mark, is a badge using to convince visitors that your Shopify store is reliable. 

For example, Adored Vintage guarantees safe checkout by many trusted partners such as Shopify secure, McAfee secure, PayPal. A guaranteed badge is put below the “Add to cart” button on the product page. It helps visitors feel assured to make a purchase.

Social proof - example of Shopify store: Adored vintage
Store website: https://www.adoredvintage.com/products/

In the footer

It’s clear that what is displayed in the footer will be seen on all pages. Therefore, you should showcase social proof in the footer of the Shopify store. The most common form to show is an endorsement such as trusted partners, social media accounts. 

For example, Minaal presents its gateway payments.

Shopify social proof - presents gateway payments
Store website: minaal.com

Otherwise, you can show proof of demand in the footer as HappyPoints does.

Example of social proof in footer - HappyPoints

You also add a plug of your social media accounts to show the number of followers, likes. It will look like this.

Add plug of social media account to show popularity
Source: developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/page-plugin

How to add social proof to your Shopify store website?

Now, you have on hand a powerful tool to build trust and increase sales. Here is time to add it to your Shopify store. There are two main ways. You should consider your needs to choose the most profitable one.

Use Shopify Apps

Installing a Shopify app is the easiest way to add social proof. There are lots of product review apps in the Shopify app store. However, to choose the right app, make sure that you research them well. I would recommend the top 3 popular apps, which have a high rating, positive reviews from Shopify users. 

Product review

Shopify app - product review

This is a free app released by Shopify. It allows you to add the customer feature to your products. The following are its typical features:

  • Theme-friendly design: Automatically matches with most Shopify themes.
  • Easy customization: Easily edit text, colors, and layout options without coding.
  • Manage reviews: With bulk actions, you can quickly and easily publish, hide, filter your customer reviews.
  • CSV import and Export:  Conveniently import and export customer reviews as a spreadsheet.
  • SEO-friendly review scores: The review scores can add to the product search results of Google.

However, this app just provides basic features as mentioned. If you want more features such as allowing customers to add product images, you’ll need to upgrade your plan.

Loox Product Reviews & Photos

Shopify app - loox

Loox Product Reviews & Photos is a fully-featured product review app that enables merchants to automatically collect customer reviews with photos. Here are its typical features:

  • Supporting to collect customer reviews through emails.
  • Being customizable Product Review Display such as galleries in list/grid layout, product review carousels, photo reviews popups, and review sidebars.
  • Being compatible with Shopify themes, mobile-friendly and responsive.
  • Implementing promotion campaigns to engage with customers. 
  • Integrating reviews with social media & Google Shopping.

To use this app, you will pay at least $9.99/month and additional charges may apply. To access all features, it’ll charge you $99.99/month. This price may properly work with medium and large stores, which already have lots of customers and want to leverage current customers to reach more potential ones. 

Ali Reviews ‑ Product Reviews

Shopify app - Ali reviews

Ali Reviews ‑ Product Reviews is a product reviews app with many advanced features. Here are its typical features:

  • Supporting to collect product reviews through email.
  • Showcasing all reviews in eye-catching ways such as review box (grid, list, carousel), review popup (horizontal/vertical).
  • No coding is required.
  • Being compatible with Shopify themes, mobile-friendly and responsive.
  • Migrate reviews from other review apps such as Loox, Yotpo, Stamped, Judge.me

The price plan of this app is similar to Loox. This app is available to use from $9.90/month. Additional charges may apply. To use full features, it’ll charge $99.90/month.

Note that apps with lots of advanced features and focusing on the user interface (UI) can affect your site’s performance such as speed. You should balance between site speed and using app features because no one expects a low-loading site. Otherwise, you can come up with the second way, outsourcing this task to fully customized your store.

Outsource

It has never been easy for a store owner to handle both their online stores’ operations while running up technological jobs. Therefore, the IT outsourcing services become larger and larger corresponding to the scale-up of the eCommerce market. 

But wait, why should Shopify merchants hire Shopify partners to do IT services? Let’s list out common benefits of this: 

  • Stand out your store: Showing your uniqueness instead of being the same other when using ready-made products such as apps.  
  • Ensure professional quality of outcomes: Shopify experts will provide a high-quality outcome.
  • Effective cost: You will just pay once for using forever. 
  • Efficient performance: Rather than coding product reviews for your Shopify store, you should spend your valuable time spreading out your social proof through online platforms.

Additionally, here are some tips when outsourcing your Shopify tasks:

  • Make sure you discuss your project and requirements with them.
  • Ensure to inform them regarding your goals and growth strategies.
  • Let them know how you want your store to be customized and deadlines.

As a Shopify certified partner, HappyPoints can assist you in handling Shopify tasks and projects. If you need to implement your social proof strategy for your business, we are happy to assist you with the following Shopify tasks:

  • Display testimonials in a slideshow or carousel layout on homepage

Final thought

Now you know the persuasive power of social proof with Shopify stores. Why not use it to help you to build your brand trustworthiness and grow your consumer base? Remember that your homepage, product page, and footer are the most natural places to include social evidence. Don’t forget to apply the slideshow effect to enhance displaying on the homepage.

Need further recommendations and consultancy, don’t hesitate to contact us!

References

[1] https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/

[2] https://www.influenceatwork.com/

[3] https://www.convinceandconvert.com/word-of-mouth/statistics-about-word-of-mouth/

[4] https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2012/trust-in-advertising–paid-owned-and-earned/?_ga=2.138020144.1281371954.1624267504-1974910908.1624267504

[5] https://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-and-lifetime-customer-value/

[6] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/08/23/using-social-proof-to-build-brand-loyalty-youre-missing-the-mark/?sh=43c50bed4ee6

[7] https://resources.bazaarvoice.com/rs/bazaarvoice/images/Bazaarvoice_MobileWhitePaper.pdf

[8] https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=41233

[9] https://searchengineland.com/88-consumers-trust-online-reviews-much-personal-recommendations-195803

[10] https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey-2014/

[11] https://www.salsify.com/download/2018-consumer-research-report

[12] https://stackla.com/resources/webinars/the-state-of-content-in-the-digital-age-survey-results/

[13] https://stackla.com/resources/reports/bridging-the-gap-consumer-marketing-perspectives-on-content-in-the-digital-age/

[14] https://www.adweek.com/digital/study-influencer-marketing-pays-6-50-for-every-dollar-spent/