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As a new e-commerce store owner, you know how hard it is to gain people's trust when they've never heard of your brand before.
Without any reviews or sales history, potential customers doubt the quality of your products and services.
Even worse, getting those crucial first few sales can feel impossible when no one wants to take a chance on your unknown store. It's frustrating! You want to appear as an established, credible business right from the start. That's why we created this blog post.
We'll explain how you can strategically leverage social proof like customer photos, testimonials, and social media to build trust and credibility for your new e-commerce store.
With the right social proof strategy, you can gain new customers trust and drive sales to your store
What is social proof?
Social proof refers to when you look to others' actions to guide your own behavior.
As humans, we're wired to follow the crowd because it makes us feel safer and more certain. When you see others buying a product, using a service, or engaging with a brand, you assume it must be trustworthy.
There are many types of social proof, such as:
- Positive reviews
- Customer testimonials
- User-generated content
- Celebrity endorsements
- Influencer marketing
Sharing real customer experiences and opinions builds trust and boosts conversion rates. It is a powerful tool for you as it provides a sense of security and credibility, easing any concerns or doubts that potential customers may have.
Why is social proof necessary for new e-commerce stores?
Social proof is essential for any e-commerce store, but it becomes non-negotiable when you're a new e-commerce business. Because you're yet to build a brand and have a loyal customer base.
Leveraging social proof can help you gain that initial trust among potential customers so they're assured enough to purchase.
- Customer reviews- Customer reviews, testimonials and case studies build trust and credibility for your store. Customers who have used your product can verify it, which builds trust with potential buyers, even if they haven't tried it.
- Reduces perceived risk- Online shopping can make you worry about wasting money or time because of uncertainties. Reassuring customers through social proof involves showing them that others are satisfied with their purchases. Crowds make people feel safer, making them more likely to shop at a new store.
- Increases conversion rates- When shopping online, people are more likely to buy products that have at least five reviews. The best number of reviews is between 20 and 50. This leads to higher conversion rates. So, including a few credible reviews can boost conversions. Social proof offers tangible visual evidence that sways visitors to become customers.
- Powerful visual element- Customer photos, videos, social media content and logos provide visual social proof that visitors recognize. Seeing real people and brands interacting with your store is more believable and memorable. Visual social proof catches the eye and communicates credibility.
Types of social proof for your new e-commerce store
There are different forms of social proof depending upon your needs but for new e-commerce stores, here are three important ones that can help your customers during buying decisions.
1. Customer reviews
Nothing is more effective than your past customers saying, “We loved the product.” People will always try their luck on something for the first time when they see many purchasing it. Why? That’s what customer reviews are all about; they validate your choice because other people bought and loved it. And you can use social proof marketing widgets to do the same. Fomo has more than 108+ integrations for your e-commerce store, making it easier for you to display customer reviews without a lot of technical hassle.
2. Referral programs
Let’s assume you want to purchase a new mattress, and one of your friends recommends a store that you wanted to try but didn’t because you’re not familiar with it. But after the recommendation from your friend, you would be more inclined to try it.
Hence, referral programs are one of the ways to establish social proof among your audience and incentivize your past customers to recommend your products.
Heights is known for its brain care products, and it has only one product, yet this single product established its brand due to word of mouth and referral programs.
3. Influencer marketing
How many times have you tried to look for a product after seeing it on an influencer’s social media feed? If you’re like us, probably a lot. Now, that’s not directly influencer marketing, but it still influences you enough to check out the product. As a new e-commerce brand, you can’t invest much in a campaign right now, but you can partner up with nano and micro-influencers in exchange for the free product. This will give you additional reach among your target audience and also will help you increase e-commerce sales.
In March 2023, Jameson Irish Whiskey hit it on YouTube big by teaming up with the hilarious Regina Hall for St. Patrick’s Day. The Girls Trip star helped the brand encourage fans to celebrate the holiday in true Jameson style - with a little cheeky fun.
Through a series of videos directed by Lauren Palmigiano, Hall showed fans how to enjoy the festivities while still keeping up appearances at work.
Establish trust and credibility with social proof with these strategies
1. Gather product reviews from satisfied customers
Reach out to your customers after a reasonable time frame, such as two weeks after their purchase. This timing allows them to experience the product thoroughly and form an opinion about it. A personalized email or message is a great way to ask for their feedback and rating.
When requesting feedback, it is crucial to encourage customers to provide honest online reviews, even negative ones. This shows that you value their opinions and are committed to improving your products. Negative reviews help identify areas for improvement and demonstrate transparency, building trust with potential customers.
For example, Vaaree, an online e-commerce store for home products, sends a personalized email while requesting feedback. It highlights the number of days it has been since the purchase and the importance of the customer’s feedback—making it easy for the customer to relate with the brand.
Once you gather positive reviews, display them prominently on product and landing pages with star ratings on your e-commerce website. This social proof convinces potential customers to purchase by creating trust and reliability.
You can use social proof marketing tools like Fomo to display reviews on your e-commerce website without any hassle.
2. Leverage user-generated content to your advantage
Potential customers heavily rely on User Generated Content (UGC) to make purchase decisions.
Customer reviews, testimonials, photos, videos and social media posts, act as social proof, building credibility and trust for the brand.
But as a new e-commerce brand, it can’t be easy to leverage this tactic, as you’re just getting started with sales. But here’s our advice on how to approach it:
- Introduce branded hashtags- Encourage customers to share experiences and thoughts through email campaigns or branded hashtags, allowing customers to tag the brand on social media. Forever 21 does this best. As you can see from its bio, the branded hashtag #F21xMe has more than 900,000 posts—resulting in UGC content they can use.
- Incentivize user-generated content- Getting featured on a brand’s page is itself a huge incentive, but giving them rewards will encourage them to share it diligently. Rewards can range from discount coupons, free delivery and sample products to holiday coupons.
FentyBeauty did a giveaway for the Fenty Parfum perfume line, encouraging participants to use a TikTok sound to create a video to win the product for free.
3. Share real customers on social media platforms
Sharing real customer stories on social media establishes trust and credibility for your e-commerce store. Potential customers are more likely to purchase when they see positive reviews from people with satisfactory experiences with your products or services.
These stories act as social proof, assuring prospects your store is trustworthy.
To gather compelling stories, reach out to satisfied customers and encourage them to share their experiences.
Choose diverse perspectives highlighting the benefits customers have received from your products or services. This diversity resonates with different target customers, increasing the effectiveness of your social proof.
Using social media to share customer stories ensures maximum exposure. These platforms allow for easy sharing and engagement, enabling loyal customers to attract prospects.
Featuring real stories on your social media accounts also strengthens audience connection and inspires loyalty.
Take this video from Ravelcare as an example, they’ve featured one of their customer testimonial videos with a caption on their Instagram feed.
It has more than 3k views and has enough positive engagement.
4. Leverage industry experts and celebrity endorsements
By partnering with industry experts, you showcase their knowledge to validate your product quality and value.
When experts recommend your brand, people are more likely to view you as a trusted authority, significantly impacting purchasing decisions and conversion rates.
Similarly, celebrity endorsements generate aspiration and desirability for your products. A celebrity endorsement inclines their loyal followers to trust and purchase from you.
Using industry experts and celebrities as social proof allows you to establish trust among your audience as a new store.
It reassures customers your products are high quality and valuable, driving loyalty and satisfaction. Prominently showcase endorsements on your website, social media, and product pages as you build your customer base.
Cava Athleisure, an Indian athleisure clothing brand, showcases celebrity and expert endorsements every now and then on its feed.
5. Display social proof pop-ups to showcase real-time website engagement
Do you remember seeing a pop-up like this on any e-commerce online store you last visited?
That’s a social proof pop-up you saw. It creates a sense of urgency by showing live notifications of recent purchases.
This highlights the popularity of your website and encourages prospective customers to buy. Displaying real purchasing customers instills confidence in visitors to follow suit.
Incorporate different social proof pop-ups in your e-commerce store.
For example, show recent purchases to signal that others are buying your products. This indicates visitors are not alone in purchasing, creating urgency to join the trend.
Another pop-up displays the number of current live visitors on your site. Showcasing people browsing or viewing a product creates a sense of popularity and builds trust in your brand.
This further motivates users to explore and purchase.
In summary, using real-time engagement pop-ups builds trust and loyalty and boosts conversion rates for e-commerce businesses.
Highlighting popularity through recent purchases and live visitor counts creates urgency and encourages visitors to become customers.
Fomo not only supports such pop-ups, but you can also send push notifications to your customers and encourage them to re-engage with your store.
And Fomo makes analytics tracking a breeze with the dashboard.
Showcase live engagement on your website with Fomo
While establishing trust takes concerted effort as a new e-commerce store, this process becomes more routine as you gain customers.
Social proof pop-ups ease the customer journey by immediately displaying your credibility.
Beyond pop-ups, continue building trust through consistent quality products, responsive customer service, and secure checkout.
Seek authentic user-generated content like reviews and testimonials to showcase. Transparency about business practices and protections assures visitors.