With 70% of people said to trust consumer opinions posted online, ecommerce sites are wise to use social proof to increase buyer confidence. 

Social proof (online, that is) takes many forms. Reviews are perhaps the most obvious example, but this can be conveyed in other ways. 

Here are some examples of sites using social proof to convince customers to take the plunge... 

Basecamp

The Basecamp homepage is a case study in how to use social proof. It seeks to sell the tool by showing how many people have used it, giving number for number of users and projects. 

It also backs this up with some example case studies of projects that used Basecamp. 

KISSmetrics

Analytics tool KISSmetrics references some of its existing users. This essentially says to potential customers: these companies are successful, they use KISSmetrics. 

The use of logos is clever too, as users are more likely to quickly scan and recognise companies like this. 

Econsultancy

We do this too on our pricing page, with quotes from industry figures showing how useful their subscriptions have been for them. 

eBay

This site is full of it. We have the floating '15 users have viewed this item..' banners, as well as the seller ratings and numbers. 

Alwaysriding.com

Some good examples here, such as the size feedback, though these are down the page where they are less visible. This may dilute the effect. 

Modcloth

This is excellent. By asking customers to go the extra mile (a side benefit of building a great community around the brand) Modcloth has some excellent social proof with image of customers wearing their purchases. 

The rest of the page is great too, with extra detail and summary information from review scores. 

Pipedrive

Social proof with uses the visitor's location. Here Pipedrive tells me how many of my countrymen are happy with its CRM tools. For US users it provides this information on a state by state basis. 

Groupon

Groupon uses a mixture of urgency and social proof here. 

Special K

Kellogs in Stockholm offered free boxes of cereal to anyone who snapped a picture and tagged it with #nyaspecialk. 

Hyundai

Hyundai's 'ask an owner' feature is another good example, allowing potential buyers to ask existing owners questions about their cars. 

AirBnB

AirBnB provides some great user experience lessons which other travel sites could learn from, and also uses social proof well. 

Booking.com

This site provides a masterclass in persuasion and social proof

Here's just one example from the homepage. We have: 

  • The number of people viewing this destination. 
  • Average review scores. 
  • Last booking made recently. 
  • Number viewing that hotel. 

AO.com

Another site which uses social proof in various forms. On the product page alone, we have testimonials from customers, number of Facebook likes, and customer reviews. 

Norman Records

This site shows us how many have loved the record, encouraging you to become the 15th...

LEGO ideas

Ideas are only accepted once they've reached a critical mass, and the numbers of supporters, comments and shares all encourage more. 

Threadless

Plenty here, with comments and average scores for designs. 

FreePeople

Nice use of social proof on users' profiles, showing the number of followers and 'hearts'. 

I'vereadthat.com

This is a new site, currently invite-only, but social proof is the key here. 

Have you seen some great examples of social proof? Please share your examples below. 

Graham Charlton

Published 11 November, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (4)

Will Gadsby

Will Gadsby, Marketing Manager at Gadsby

Some nice examples there Graham, all of these seem to have implemented this side of things well - I always think social proof 'bolted on' to an existing design can look terrible.
We were cautious before implementing a review system with our site being B2B, because clients/customers use our products in such a wide range of different ways and markets.
The system has now been up and running for a few months, and we're actually finding that buyers in a business context still seem to be heavily influenced by social proof, despite our reservations. The other huge benefit is very valuable feedback for our sales team and the product development side of the business too.
I wrote a blog post about the benefits to us when the system went live, perhaps worth a quick look: https://www.gadsby.co.uk/6/blog/post/51/what-really-convinces-us-to-buy-online

about 3 years ago

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Roman Prokopchuk

All of these are great methods. I personally like using social proof and pushing urgency. Works well combines. I personally like Air BnB and Ebay from the examples mentioned.

about 3 years ago

Ido Ariel

Ido Ariel, Founder at Barilliance

A new social proof product by Barilliance, enables e-commerce sites to present real-time notifications of shoppers’ activity on their site. Dynamic notification like “x people are shopping now” or “last purchase of this product was from Chicago x minutes ago” are based on real data collected in real time. The new product Live! is currently in a beta stage. http://www.barilliance.com/live-notifications/

about 3 years ago

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Avinash Shenoi

InstaClique is another product that takes social proof to the next level. In addition to showing real time relevant statistics to boost trust and urgency, it actually connects customers with their friends who are also customers, and also allows them to get an opinion from the product detail page.

about 3 years ago

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