How to Optimize Your eCommerce Store for Social Proof

Win your visitors' trust and lead them to make a purchase. Here are six social proof tactics you should try.

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By Steve Tan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With so many entrepreneurs trying to earn a living from selling online, getting shoppers to choose your store over others has become something of a challenge. How do you get more people to trust your store? The answer is social proof.

Social proof centers on increasing people's confidence to make a purchase. If they're persuaded to buy, then you'll likely earn more and gain even more social proof assets from their reviews.

Another reason why you need social proof is because of people's need for validation. People have this need to feel that they're doing the right thing as they buy from you, and social proof helps them justify their buying decision and soothe any purchase anxiety they might have.

Wondering how to leverage social proof to drive more traffic and revenues to your site? Here are six great social proof tactics to use.

1. Show off positive reviews

Product reviews are the most obvious social proof assets that ecommerce stores can acquire. You can use the positive reviews to promote your store and the negative ones to find ways to improve your products and services.

It's not advisable to hide or delete negative reviews — doing so can make people doubt the authenticity of your Reviews section. Instead, what you can do is highlight the good ones by compiling them on a Reviews page or sharing them as social media posts, ad materials or customer review pop-ups.

As a seller, there are several things you can do to encourage buyers to share their feedback. You may send them automated e-mail reminders, reach out to them via social media or offer them rewards in exchange for an honest review.

Related: Every Business Needs Positive Online Reviews. Here's How to Find Them

2. Share customer testimonials

While reviews are generally short and are posted on a store's Reviews page or any third-party review sites (e.g., Google Business, Trustpilot and Yelp), testimonials are more in-depth and are posted on a customer's channel. These might include their Facebook page, Instagram feed, YouTube account and the like.

Testimonials can validate your brand as an entity that people can trust. Plus, they can help strengthen your word-of-mouth marketing.

When customers create beneficial content about your brand or your products, reach out to them and ask if you can share what they made. They're usually more than happy to let you use their work, so be sure to take the opportunity when it arises.

3. Get influencer and celebrity endorsements

Endorsements from influential people are probably the most sought-after social proof of all. However, don't simply tap any popular influencer or celebrity you can find. The people you choose to work with must fit your business's niche and be relevant to your target market. Otherwise, it will be difficult — if not impossible — to get valuable ROI.

Working with influencers usually comes at a huge cost. You may need to pay them for every post they create. Or, you may propose an affiliate marketing agreement and pay them commissions for every sale they drive.

Related: How Brands Can Use Affiliate Marketing to Increase Their Marketing ROI

4. Publish case studies

Case studies are a great way to show your customers that your products work or are as effective as your product page and ads describe them to be. Feature real-life stories of people who have actually used your products. Describe their pain point and then demonstrate how your product helped.

If you can prove to your clientele that what you're selling lives up to expectations, you will not only increase trust in your store but also boost sales.

5. Use numbers and labels

Showing how many customers or sales you've had is one way to reel in more potential buyers. Take for example McDonald's famous slogan: "over 99 billion served." If billions have already tried their food, it follows that their food must be good.

Today, many ecommerce stores use this same strategy by displaying numbers such as how many five-star ratings a product has or how many reviews they've collected. Numbers can be powerful, so use them to your advantage.

Aside from numbers, labels such as "Best Sellers" and "Hot Today" can also move people to buy a product. These labels imply that many people have already purchased the product, creating a level of curiosity that could lead them to do the same.

6. Display trust and certification badges

Have you ever seen a website that has a badge from an accrediting firm or association? That badge is a stamp of approval, and it helps establish the website's legitimacy.

For your ecommerce business, you can use badges to help establish the trustworthiness of your website. There are many types of badges you can add or aim to add to your store. The ones you can quickly add include "satisfaction guaranteed," "money-back guarantee," "free returns" and "secure checkout." You may also apply for third-party endorsements, such as an accreditation certificate by the Better Business Bureau or a badge from Google Customer Reviews.

If you want to increase your site's traffic and revenues, having social proof is an absolute must. Social proof assets can cement your reputation as a trusted seller. Plus, they give your customers the assurance they'll need before making a buying decision.

Start using these six social proof tactics today. In no time, you'll collect assets — reviews, testimonials, badges and more — that could entice people to choose you over your competitors.

Related: Customer Experience Will Determine the Success of Your Company

Steve Tan

CEO of LeapVista

A serial entrepreneur with over 14 years of ecommerce experience, Steve Tan has founded several startups. Tan is also the CEO of LeapVista, an education company that offers transformative mentoring and world-class ecommerce education.

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