We've touched upon the importance of building brand identity and maintaining brand continuity in business, but there's another vital marketing concept we haven't spoken about: Social Proof.
Social proof surrounds the concept that people will tend to copy the actions or opinions of other people they trust. We know that building a strong rapport with customers is crucial to securing a sale. Buyers will only stick around if they feel like your brand shares similar values, their needs have been met and they've had a positive buying experience.
So, let's delve deeper into what social proof really is, how you can use it as an effective marketing tool and how Interparcel can strengthen your brand image through reliable courier services.
What does social proof mean?
Social proof is a psychological and social theory coined by Robert Cialdini in 1984. Essentially, it's the idea that people will conform to other people's actions in an ambiguous situation because they assume others have more knowledge about it.
For example, imagine you're on holiday in an unfamiliar city looking for a nice place to have dinner. You walk past two restaurants; one is packed with customers and the other is relatively empty. Which one would you pick?
The busier one of course! If you can see existing customers already there enjoying their food, you would automatically trust that place over the other one.
Why is social proof important for eCommerce businesses?
In the eCommerce world, social proof is the idea that other people, in this case, existing customers, have more knowledge of something than a potential buyer. So, when consumers can't compare products in person or visit a physical store, social proof plays an even more significant role.
Examples of online social proof include customer testimonials, positive product reviews and friend/family referrals. Let's look into these examples a bit further…
Examples of social proof to strengthen trust and encourage sales
Social media presence and engagement
A company with thousands of followers compared to another with a hundred will automatically appear more trustworthy, resulting in more followers and a higher engagement rate. Social media profiles are free to set up and enable instant communication with your customer base, so don't neglect it!
We are active across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to answer any direct message enquiries and share our latest insights. If you haven't already, like or follow us!
Never underestimate the influence of positive (or negative) reviews!
A recent study found that 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations* and a consumer will typically read 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision.* Therefore, if you solely trade online, you must allow your customers to share their feedback and respond to them accordingly.
As a business, you must actively engage with positive and negative reviews to strengthen your brand image. Popular third-party platforms like TrustPilot, Google Reviews, and Yell host company reviews to help consumers buy with confidence and gain insights about companies. We encourage reviews on TrustPilot and will respond to any queries promptly.
Offering speedy and flexible delivery options is also a big factor in building a reputable brand image. Sending your parcels with Interparcel opens up a world of discounted Economy, Express, Next Day, Same Day and Timed courier services. You can give your consumers a choice of shipping options to provide an excellent customer experience.
Influencer or Expert Testimonials
User testimonials from other businesses or celebrities about your company is another way of boosting your reputation. However, the endorsement needs to be relevant to your brand. Otherwise, it can come across as ingenuine. Typically, testimonials can come through a social media post, blog or a lengthier case study.
Our Scallywags Pet Shop & Grooming Parlour case study demonstrates how drastically their shipping experience improved after using Interparcel. As a brick-and-mortar store and growing eCommerce business, Scallywags Pet Shop sell a range of pet products, so relying on affordable and convenient shipping is a must. These types of case studies are great way of proving the benefits your company has to offer.
Trust badges or seals are a useful way to prove certification when a buyer is checking out. Trust badges are usually connected to payment gateways like PayPal or Apple Pay. When you book a parcel delivery with us, you can pay with PayPal, Amazon Payments, PrePay or credit/debit card.
Trust badges are also commonplace on social media in the form of blue ticks. Verification badges/ticks validates your authority and gives you greater control over your online presence. You can apply for a verification badge across various social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Word of mouth
One of the most meaningful types of social proof is verbal recommendations from people you trust, such as friends or family. 83% of consumers say these recommendations make them more likely to purchase a product or service.* You can even incentivise friend/family referrals by offering an exclusive referral discount code if a customer recommends their product to a friend.
If a reputable publication posts a positive report about your company, this earned content is a valuable way of building brand awareness. Positive backlinks to your website could boost domain authority and search rankings and improve your brand reputation. For instance, the Interparcel website is linked to The Gatwick Diamond Business website, strengthening our reputation within the local area.
Lastly, another way to show your eCommerce business is trustworthy is through displaying real-time purchasing statistics, to appeal to the notion of FoMO (Fear of Missing Out). This idea is if you can see lots of people currently buying a product, you'll want to copy them. Typical messages include:
- ' X amount sold in the last hour'
- 'Promo offer ends on X date'
- 'X number of customers currently viewing this product.'
- 'This product is in x number of baskets'
How can Interparcel help your business
As we've discussed above, social proof is about building trust and showing authority in your industry. It's not tricking customers into thinking your brand is trustworthy, it's proving it is trustworthy!
Of course, an important element of building trust and brand reputation is through your shipping methods. Luckily, our range of low-cost and reliable delivery services can open up your consumer base, help grow your business and encourage positive feedback. Our helpful account features and shipping tools streamline parcel delivery, allowing you to focus on other ways to build consumer trust.
With an Interparcel account, you have access to some great features:
- Free to use: creating an account with us is free, including all our fantastic shipping tools and features
- Speedy sending: whether you send one parcel a week or a thousand parcels a month, our Shipping Manager is a quick and easy way of sending packages within the UK and abroad.
- eCommerce integrations: connect to multiple shopping platforms and web builders through our Shipping Manager.
- Access to a range of reputable couriers: we work with the best delivery firms in the business to give our customers discounted shipping rates
- Reduces risk of errors: our in-built address validation and correction minimises the risk of address errors meaning fewer mistakes or missed deliveries
- Simplifies the shipping process: having all your eCommerce orders in one place makes them easier to validate and dispatch
- Unlimited no-cost label printing options: print your 6x4 shipping labels and A4 documentation directly to your printer.
To see how much you could save on shipping, get a quote for your parcel delivery today!
*Source: 20 Examples of Social Proof in Action in 2021 (Accessed: 22/09/2022)