In the world of social media, social networking and instant access to information, people have become more talkative than ever.

So it comes as no surprise that when making a decision online, consumers look to the readily accessible experiences of others and have done so since the dawn of the internet.

With 70% of people trusting consumer opinions posted online, it is essential that any ecommerce business keeps up with the demand for social proof, allowing other consumers to read and hear about other people’s experiences with a given product or service.

To get the best conversion rates and beat the competition, your business must prove to potential buyers that people like your product.

Here’s how to bring consumers and companies together.

Step one: transparency

One thing that hasn’t changed over time is the power of word-of-mouth. When looking for a product or service online, consumers look for brands that they can trust.

Responding to your consumer reviews, questions and feedback shows that you are a transparent organisation that truly values their thoughts, experiences and feedback of your customers.

The knowledge that, reviews of your services are 100% genuine can be the difference between an abandoned basket and a click of the ‘complete order’ button.

In fact, A/B testing proved that simply displaying positive online reviews at the checkout stage on your site can increase sales by up to 58%.

Step two: communication

What better way to tell how your company is doing than to hear it straight from your customers? And what better way to offer proof of your customer service than replying to reviews?

95% of unhappy customers will return if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently. So all reviews, both the good and the bad, open up possibilities to build credibility, popularity and reputation, giving you the upper hand over your competition.

Step three: sharing

Social media has become almost as natural as breathing to the average consumer, and what better social proof is there than sharing consumer reviews via Facebook?

Reviews will appear on your business page, and your customers can share their reviews with all their friends, building up your reputation for you.

92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and the average Facebook user has almost 200 friends – so you’ve basically struck gold.

Step four: growth

Social media is an invaluable channel for growth in ecommerce: 96% of top retailers consider customer ratings and reviews an effective way to drive conversions.

Customer reviews can create a 74% increase in product conversion, according to PeopleClaim. So whether it takes the form of a star-rating, a widget, or Facebook sharing, social proof is a big deal, and it’s key to increasing sales and growing your business.