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5 Social Proof Strategies and Examples for Ecommerce Businesses

In an increasingly digital world, it’s recorded that eighty percent of the world’s population now shops online. Consumers aren’t wandering malls or physical stores, they’re scrolling social media feeds, clicking on promotional emails or ads, and googling reviews before purchasing from their couches.

At some point in this journey, they’ll (hopefully) land on your website. How are you going to stand out? How are you going to pique curiosity and persuade casual browsers to click "add to cart" and check out? 

The answer is social proof.

Social proof comes in many forms, from customer reviews to celebrity and influencer endorsements. While the methods vary, the desired outcome is the same—to showcase positive validation from happy customers to then convince potential customers to buy what you’re selling.

Keep reading to learn about five social proof strategies for ecommerce businesses.

Customer quotes and reviews

Nothing is better than when customers tell your story for you.

Customer quotes and reviews are forms of written social proof that come directly from customers themselves. When positive words are paired with a date, a name, and maybe even a face, it makes them more valid and even tangible to potential customers.

Customer review example

Modern insurance carrier Lemonade puts the words of its loyal base of customers front and center on its site. Right below the fold on the homepage, Lemonade features a moving carousel of one customer quote after another, ready to grab a visitor’s attention while also reinforcing the fact that there are many people talking about the brand. The quotes are pulled in from Twitter, where customers went out of their way to tag Lemonade and give the company a rave review. As you can see below, Lemonade uses the authenticity of third-party Twitter to validate that, yes, these are real quotes from real customers.

Before and after photos

Pictures often speak louder than words when advertising a product that requires time to see results. Customers may be wary about guarantees or promises made by a brand, but providing before and after photos from real customers can be all the proof they need to take the plunge and buy. This works particularly well for health, wellness, fitness, and skincare products.

Before and after photos example

International skincare company Dermalogica does a top-notch job of showing great results instead of just making claims. Images like the one below show a real customer's actual results along with an authentic reaction. For any shopper who also experiences acne, these images will immediately impact their buying decision as they can personally relate to the "before" photos they see. Further, Dermalogica helps humanize having acne and bring comfort and a sense of solidarity to prospective customers.

User-generated content (UGC)

UGC offers an authentic perspective on your products directly from the mind or voice of your customer. UGC is any content created by actual people rather than brands.

This type of content can include: 

  • Photos and videos that are self-shot on a mobile phone
  • Live streaming
  • Blog posts written in first-person

UGC example

One form of UGC that has a big impact is user photos—accordingly 66% of ecommerce sites allow customers to add photos to their reviews. 

Tarte's product page includes a user-generated video of someone applying their product to show visitors how to use the product themselves. This video works in tandem with the numerous photos above the UGC, showing how the makeup looks depending on the skin tone of the individual.

Celebrity and influencer endorsements

We’ve come a long way since the Wheaties commercial with Michael Jordan enjoying a bowl of cereal—celebrity endorsements have evolved. Today, many brands turn to celebrities and influencers to publicly endorse products they use and love. When someone sees their idol use an item they may be more likely to take the product seriously, see its value, and purchase. 

Celebrity endorsement example

Home gym company Tonal has partnered with celebrity athletes Serena Williams, LeBron James, and Steph Curry to bring attention to their brand, showing that the best athletes in the world rely on Tonal to meet their fitness goals. 

Awards and certifications

Another great way to show social proof of your product or service is to showcase awards that you’ve won, along with any certifications that add credibility or confirm that your products are effective and in some instances, safe. 

Awards Example

Melé Skincare has won countless awards, and they aren’t afraid to shout it from the rooftops! When a customer sees not only numerous awards, but awards from magazines they know and probably consume, it creates a sense of confidence that can lead to a purchase.

Once you’ve built a library of social proof, it’s time to start testing! Not all of your visitors will respond to the same types of social proof, so it’s imperative that you run tests on your website to better understand which types of social proof resonate with your visitors. More than that, not all types of social proof will work for every brand—using a programmatic CRO tool will allow you to test tons of variations to see which types of testimonials will work best for your company.

If you’d like more information on how to optimize your business’ social proof, be sure to set up a time to chat with our team!