July 6, 2018

13 Ways to Empower Ecommerce Stores with Social Proof Shopify Apps

Social proof is one of the most powerful instruments of audience impact. We may not notice them but our consciousness is sensitive to social reference points and tags.

Each of us is Homo-Social. Shoppers join the longest line in a store with interest, the audience eagerly applauses in tune with theatre auditorium, customers buy products with ease after a suggestion of a thought leader. Do you remember laugh track in TV series? This is also a social proof element.

What is Social Proof?

People are intended to believe friends and relatives rather than ads. That's why online stores integrate social proof tactics.

Social proof is a physiological phenomenon when people make decisions according to the opinions and actions of others.

When we see a long queue in a shopping mall, the salespoint attracts our attention. It's caused by "social approval" created by the throng.

  • 90.2% of U.S. Internet users check reviews before making a purchase, according to "The eMarketer Ecommerce Insights Report," conducted in February 2018 by Bizrate Insights.
  • Over 50% of U.S. Internet users polled in June 2017 said they used ratings and online reviews "always" or "often" to inform purchasing decisions, the study conducted by the Better Business Bureau and Nielsen found.
  • More than 8 in 10 U.S. Internet users surveyed in October 2017 said they generally trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, the survey from BrightLocal revealed.

Social proof generates trust. Building credibility is important for new dropshipping stores to increase conversion rate, as people don't buy in stores they don't know and no one knows.

No doubt social proof increases traffic, conversion, and sales.

This principle is often used in ads, marketing, business copywriting, PR, SMM. There are several dozens of social proof elements but I mention only 13 of them related to dropshipping.

How to Gain Social Proof for a New Shopify Store?

A big challenge online stores have is creating the atmosphere of a popular place many people know and visit. The following elements help dropshipping stores demonstrate social proof:
1 - Current viewers
You may show how many people are viewing the product right now. It's a digital way of creating a queue your store visitors may see. On the one hand, it builds curiosity. If we get back to the example with a long line, we'll be interested to learn why so many people gathered together, right? On the other hand, it pushes a potential consumer to buy. When there are rush and craze in the store, we're more inclined to buy.

The examples of how this may be implemented in your store:
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
Shopify app to use: Install Social Proof & Urgency by Fera (from $0/month), as this app shows how many people are viewing the product not only on product pages but on product collections too:
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
2 - Recent buyers
I looked through 60 results found on Shopify app store by inputting "social proof" search term and found 3 variants how recent buyers may be shown to store visitors:
1 - Sale pop-ups

I bet you've seen many dropshipping stores with sale pop-ups. Probably the reason is that there are many social proof Shopify apps with this feature (I found 15 of them) and many of them are free. However, I don't remember some top Shopify store with this feature. If you disagree, please comment down below.

In some cases pop-ups in general have a negative impact on mobile friendliness, while many consumers use smartphones for shopping. Remember to check that on mobile.

Shopify app to use: Countdown Cart by Beeketing is free, Fomo costs $29.00 – $199.00 per month.
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
2 - Map with recent purchases

I suppose this variant is pretty specific and may be this is the reason why it's not popular. If you like the idea of having a map with recent shoppers, Shopify app to use is Simple Map (the cost is Free – $9.99 / month).
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
3 - Text messages

Text messages look the most seamless, if we compare them with maps and pop-ups.

Shopify app to use: Install Social Proof & Urgency by Fera (from $0/month) or Sales Booster ($14.95/month).
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
No purchase had been made yet?
What if your store is absolutely new and no any purchase had been made yet? You may create a discount code with 100% discount and buy products yourselves. Before you do it pay attention to the information the app displays about recent buyers. In most cases a name and location are visible.
3 - Recent add to carts
You may also show to real-time visitors of product pages that other people add this very product to their carts. If other people consider the item is worth to be bought, there is something about this product.
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
Social proof Shopify apps allow you to select a period within which recent add to carts and purchases are made:
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
Shopify app to use: Install Social Proof & Urgency by Fera (from $0/month).
4 - Reviews
It's one of the most significant marketing methods. Show what others think about your products, your services, and the brand. In a perfect world, you should put online customers' quotes with images, names, locations, and links to their social accounts.

Nowadays recommendations are no less valuable than in the days when they were the only social proof. Whenever you get appreciation by email or a positive feedback in online chat, ask for a permission to post it on the web. While review scores add a sort of numeric value to your products, recommendations sway brand history.

Surely, you haven't seen any big ecommerce store without reviews. Don't be afraid of negative reviews. They add trust to your store as it's not possible always to satisfy completely each and every consumer. It is what we should strain after.
How to Cultivate Reviews?
1. Send an email for reviews in about 2 weeks after the purchase is made, as delivery takes 12-14 days if you use ePacket. It doesn't matter which email service you use. All of them should provide trigger automated emails. If you contact a week after delivery, customers may already forget about the item.

2. Offer an exchange of a review for a discount code for the next purchase. It will help to motivate consumers, in addition, you increase chances for repeat purchases. In this case, you may also automate a triggered email, as you will have a good matter for contacting your customers again to remind about a discount code.

Need to know how to create discount codes? Go to "Discounts" > "Create discount" and generate a code here. In my example you may see "25OffImage", for instance, you give a 25% discount. Then set conditions:
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping

3. Ask for photo reviews. First, this will be a visual proof that your products are sold, they look good and people like them that's why they share images. You will be able to add these images to product pages. Second, these images will be lifestyle images. Such product images are more preferable on landing pages, as buyers are able to imagine yourselves wearing or using products. Third, you may post them on your Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Lifestyle image / Image with white background:
See how photo reviews may look on your dropshipping store:
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
Shopify apps to use: Try Product Reviews Addon (from $0/month) or Loox Reviews (from $9.99/month).
4. Ask to leave text reviews right on the website, if you don't like the idea of photo reviews. Make the reviews to be published only after your approval or unpublish customer reviews when needed.

Shopify app to use: Install Product Reviews app made by Shopify. It's free.
5. Make the block with reviews visible. The best location of reviews is right between product description and upsell and cross-sell add-ons, for instance, "frequently bought together", "complete the look", depending on what you have. Or, you may add reviews at the bottom of the product pages and give an anchor link in the description part.
5 - Review Scores and Star Ratings
Review scores and star ratings are another social proof element. Mentioned above review apps provide this feature by default.
6 - Social Sharing
  • Share buttons ease a possibility to share for those who wish to impress others with their purchases.
  • Social reviews. Photo review apps usually have this feature.
  • The social count shows the number of followers your brand accounts have on social media platforms:
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
Source: Pix app
7 - Mark Top Sellers
Create a collection with "Best sellers", "Top sellers", or "What's hot" and add it to the menu. In addition, you may add a product label as it's a default feature depending on the theme you have. A product badge may look like this:
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
8 - Wishlist
Buyers pay attention to a number of shoppers who added a product to their favorites. There are apps on Shopify App Store that show how many people marked the products as "favorite". I don't give a link to the app as this is an additional social proof element but not a basic one. If you have a new store and you're limited in budget, a wishlist feature are not a must-have at the beginning to start and make sales.
9 - Number of Users or Units Sold
Show how many people use your products or how many units of the exact products were sold. The total number of "happy" consumer or units sold are usually mentioned in the "About us" page.
10 - Approbation of Celebrities and Stars
Your offering should be approved by a certain influential person who is known by the target audience and has "heavy" weight as an expert. As you know influencers are celebrities for their following. Add shoutouts on product pages with the links to the influencers' Instagram accounts where a visitor may see a significant number of following and engagement to the post with your products.

A sticking point is that in most cases influencers delete sponsored posts in 24 hours. If you "repost" shoutouts on your Instagram account, you may add links to these reposts. In this case, lifestyle pictures should be used for shoutouts.
Note: I mention specifically Instagram influencers are Instagram shoutouts are popular among dropshipping store owners.
11 - Cases
This element works even better than reviews but it's harder to make. A case tells what tasks a consumer had, how he/she performed those tasks and what he/she reached in the end. This storytelling fits sport and beauty niches best.
12 - Certificates
Certificates should work for products for medical purpose or any beauty stuff which is put on the skin, for instance.
13 - Partners and Customers
Partners and known customers are mentioned on "About us" pages. Partners may be added to product pages in case of cross-promotion during holidays or big sale seasons.
5 Popular Social Proof Mistakes
These mistakes reduce to zero your efforts regarding implementing social proof elements:

  1. Lie. Fake reviews, numbers or facts. It's up to you to decide and assess risks.
  2. Discreetness. Social proof should be noticeable, otherwise, there is no sense.
  3. Too much. Overmuch may cause doubt and disserve design.
  4. 100% "sweet" reviews may also cause doubt.
  5. Single social proof. There are various social proof options, only one is not enough.
As our topic is social proof I may not ignore urgency as these two features create a necessary atmosphere of trust and fear of missing profit. All the element in your store should create the atmosphere of (1) a busy shop with many people inside purchasing or inclined to purchase soon. And the real-time customers should feel (2) they gonna miss their chance.

Trust plus urgency increases conversion, encourages to buy, gives you sales. Urgency is a big topic, I won't tell much about it in this article but slightly touch upon it.

Popular urgency elements of online stores are Limited stock and Product timer:
A Shopify app that combines social proof and urgency is Social Proof & Urgency by Fera. It shows limited stock on product pages and product collections too.
Moreover, the app has Cart timer which means a buyer continues to feel fear of missing profit while being "in-between state" when he/she is no longer just a store visitor but he/she hasn't become a consumer yet. Micro-conversion (adding to cart) is made. This feature pushes a shopper to seal the deals.
Social Proof Shopify Apps - Dropwow Dropshipping
The Best Basic Social Proof Shopify Apps
Let's conclude the topic and list basic social proof and urgency elements a new dropshipping store should implement and mention Shopify apps to install:

  1. Current viewers, Recent buyers, Recent add to carts, Limited stock, Product timer, Cart timer – Social Proof & Urgency by Fera (from $0/month)
  2. Photo reviews – Loox Reviews (from $9.99/month).
  3. Best-sellers' collection – No (default Shopify feature)
  4. Best-sellers' label – No (default Shopify feature)
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Gulnur Ismailova
Content Creator at Dropwow