Most online shoppers will do some research before making a purchase, such as reading online reviews. Having an online presence can give a business an advantage when it comes to e-commerce sales. The use of social proof online can boost your marketing effectiveness, and as a result, jumpstart your sales.
The Importance of Online Business Reviews
Before making an online purchase, most consumers will look on search engines such as Google or Bing. Search engines value original content and customer reviews help to increase your business’s rank in the search engine algorithms. Almost two-thirds of online shoppers believe that reviews are an essential part of the purchasing decision. When they want to know where to order dinner, they are far more likely to go to Google or Yelp than to another source like friends or family.
Online business reviews make your brand visible to consumers. If a customer has a choice between two similar products in scope and price, and one product has no online reviews and the other has ten reviews, the customer will most likely choose the one that has been reviewed by other customers. The brand that has credibility by other consumers will almost always out-rank the one that does not, which leads to higher sales.
And the data proves it. A study by Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase on Yelp.com leads to an increase of 5% to 9% in sales in the short term. Online reviews impact the bottom line because brands that have positive reviews have more sales.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under assumption that those actions are the right behavior. In his book, Influence the Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini states: “Social Proof—People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic.” Social proof is also a factor when it comes to purchasing behavior.
Social Proof Increases Sales
Social proof indicates that consumers are more willing to purchase an item if other consumers are purchasing it. Seriously Silly Socks has been able to increase the average order value on their website by more than 50% because of over 3000 five-star reviews that are on the site’s various product pages. The company’s owner, Andrew Gill said, “We encourage reviews by emailing customers after purchase and offering a discount coupon in return for a completed review.” Online business reviews create the trust that influences others to make a purchase.
How to Leverage Online Business Reviews as Social Proof
In order to impact the bottom line, there are several ways to improve sales conversions with online business reviews:
- Add Positive Feedback to Your Website. Get a great review on social media? Add that to your website, where customers are actually ordering.
- Add Positive Feedback to Printed Marketing Material. Marketing material that will be going out to potential business partners or customers should also include positive reviews. This will earn trust in your brand.
- Include Testimonials. A commonly used form of social proof, the customer testimonial is similar to a recommendation. According to Nielson, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% will trust one from someone they do not know. The testimonial should include reasons why a customer should buy the product or service. This is why Amazon, the largest online retailer, includes testimonials for every product they sell.
- Consider Case Studies. Although a more formal example of social proof, case studies are powerful because they back a company’s claims with data or evidence. They provide high authority social proof. Shopify, a popular e-commerce website, displays customer success stories as case studies.
- Add Customer Count. If your business has an established customer base, your numbers are social proof. The number of customers or users you have shows others that you offer value to your customers.
- Include Logos. Displaying the logos of a company’s partners or customers on their website lends implied endorsement. When Voices.com added a row of customer logos to their homepage and conversion rates skyrocketed more than 400%.
Business can benefit greatly from the addition of online business reviews. Not only do they validate a company’s credentials but can also increase the bottom line. Centinal drives those important online reviews to the right social media platforms to build your business.