Everyone is influenced by others. It’s a psychological and commercial fact that customers follow the crowd when they see others take an interest in a product or service. That’s what we call social proof.
Social proof shows that we are more likely to purchase an item if people we trust – customers like us – have also considered or bought it.
It’s why we’re more likely to join a queue for a crammed restaurant, than to cross over the street to the place that’s full of empty tables (unless, of course, loads of our friends have told us in strict confidence that its a ‘hidden gem’).
It can be difficult to spot a queue in an online shop. In a world where consumers are always connected via social media, the same behaviour occupies a new space: they’re working harder to find the virtual queue, to understand what other people are buying, and listening out for trusted reviews. Social proof helps the consumer cut through the noise and gives them transparent interaction with other consumers in this new space.
This is the principle that Taggstar’s software is built upon, and why social proof is one of the most effective marketing tools to engage and convert customers.
Consumers are researching, being influenced and purchasing across more offline, online and social media channels than ever before. This is why the most successful retailers can make themselves agile by investing in multi-channel experiences to win the consumer’s attention.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Super Saturday 2019 will be some of the biggest days of the retail year, and more products from fashion to fridges are being bought on social and digital shopping channels than ever before. With customers being bombarded by choice and deals, social proof can be the crucial difference between churn and conversion. Taggstar understands the modern consumer and by building their profile, we know how to optimise the online journey to deliver your best peak season results ever.
Who is the new consumer?
1. A Digital Native
The new consumer, like the rest of us, lives and breathes digital.
Digital natives aren’t just Gen X-ers either, Big Commerce’s Omni-Channel Retail Report found that 25% of Baby Boomers have shopped on Facebook.
According to a 2019 Forrester report, 58% of US retail sales will be influenced by digital technologies, with Salesforce claiming that as many as 87% of consumers now begin their shopping journey with digital.
Digital routes vary from mobile search, ads, online marketplaces to, of course, social media channels like Instagram Checkout which helps retailers to increase conversions and sales volume through a seamless, one-click purchase experience without having to leave the app.
Retailers want to encourage the consumer towards the checkout with a drip feedback of reasons to buy, regardless of the channel they’re using. Because while research is an important part of the process, the longer it takes, the more likely the customer is to churn.
By having social proof messages highlighting trending items or products that are low in stock at these early points on the consumer’s purchase journey like the product list page (PLP), as well as more detail on the product details page (PDP), retailers can reduce research time and support quicker decision-making. Don’t forget: many people browsing using a mobile will have a digital wallet, and could be taken from browse to basket in just a few taps, if social proof nudges are used effectively.
Remember ‘Chelfies’? That’s changing room selfies, btw (by the way). ICYMI (in case you missed it), it’s the practice of uploading a selfie from the changing room so that your followers can feedback on your outfit before you buy.
Chelfies are a perfect example of modern consumer behaviour: the most important influences on shoppers today are fellow shoppers. Paired with the seemingly infinite growth of social media, the best retailers are deepening their focus on growing their social media presence and optimising it for consumers.
Deloitte says that ‘social is the new shop window’ – it’s not wrong, but it has so much more potential than just a window. These channels are especially important because they provide consumers with authentic reviews, product Q&A and consumer photos in the product discovery and research phase. This reduces research time and improves the shopping experience.
By showing who else has bought, viewed or added an item to basket, you can help the consumer gauge the opinions of their peers, while reinforcing why they should buy. Social proof messaging gives brands a bridge to surface this trusted opinion on email, shopping vouchers, dynamic out-of-home advertising, in-store and online. Early exposure to trusted user-generated content (UGC) like social proof on social media channels, can make the difference between a pass or a purchase.
All of the above paints an image of the modern consumer as more empowered than ever before: and that means that they will expect a certain level of service to catch their eye and convert them from browser to buyer.
The best brands are now offering what Capgemini calls hyper-personalisation: “adapting your customer relationship in real-time, in terms of the offers provided and the overall customer experience.”
Infosys found that 59% of those who have a personalised experience say it has a notable impact on their purchasing. Successful retailers are offering personalised deals, vouchers, product recommendations based on previous purchases and browsing behaviour.
Taggstar has added a personalised message category to update an individual shopper on what has happened to a product since they last looked. We convey product views, add-to-bag volumes and sales as a real-time personalised message such as: “Since your last visit 2 days ago, 22 others bought this.” These give the modern consumer an authentic and convincing reason to buy, without relying on pressure selling tactics.
This gives shoppers a more detailed, personal and up-to-date story. We’re the only social proof provider to do this. We know that when the consumer is reassured that they are in good company, they feel more confident in their purchase. A personalised offer allows a retailer to extend a handshake to a consumer and close a deal.
Social proof has never been more compelling.
Above everything else, today’s customers want honesty and there’s nothing more transparent than real-time data and feedback from real people. These lessons hold true throughout the retail year, but for events like Black Friday that have huge potential for sales, they can deliver truly astonishing results.
This Black Friday will see more customers shopping online than ever before. Are you ready for them?
Read our new Peak Season eBook and contact us today to talk about adding social proof to your website:
– UK eBook
– US eBook