Throughout these times of rolling lockdowns, and while most of the world is in the throws of the second wave of Coronavirus, foot-traffic is harder than ever to depend on for retailers. Combine that with the largest consumer holiday of the year, and the future for retailers becomes much more uncertain. During the start of the pandemic, the smartest advice around was for all retailers to create an online presence to be able to shift part of their customer base to the e-commerce space (which would often even lead to an increase of sales).
Today, though, it’s not that simple. A majority of businesses have become wise to this and have since developed an online presence. That means that as an SMB, not only are you competing with all the larger corporations that usually have much larger budgets, but you’re now competing with all the other businesses who have since shifted online as well. Luckily, there is a way you can compete with both—social proof.
What is social proof and why now?
Social proof is based on a theory that states that when an individual is unsure of what the proper behavior is in any given situation, they will look to those around them to determine their response.
How does that concern you? As an e-commerce retailer, you need to understand how your consumers are reaching decisions whether to buy your product or not. These days, 82% of consumers will research a potential purchase they’re considering, and 45% will actively seek out reviews by other purchasers. That means that when a customer is considering to purchase your product versus a competitors product, it’s the “social proof” that exists online that will likely be the deciding factor.
As to the impending importance, we all know that Christmas time is usually the most profitable time of the year for retailers. In fact, just last year retail sales surpassed an astounding one trillion dollars. Although a large chunk of sales usually taking place in physical stores, this year will be incredibly different as a majority of shoppers turn online.
How to use social proof?
To have social proof that supports your brand, it’s essential to engage with your customers. As you might well know, unhappy customers are quick to leave negative replies and interact negatively with your brand online, but happy customers aren’t as likely to do so on their own accord. That’s why you have to devise a customer engagement strategy that will push your customers to interact positively with your brand online by leaving positive reviews, referring other buyers, and uploading other user-generated content like tutorials, unboxing videos, product pictures, etc., onto social media.
This is a way to level the playing field against larger corporations that might have a much larger marketing budget spend than your typical SMB. Turning your customers into your competitive edge is a low-cost method with a quick and efficient ROI for SMBs (read how one SMB used social proof to boost sales by 300%).
Come out on top
Figuring out the best way to succeed as an e-commerce website these days isn’t a simple task. With competition coming from both large corporations with bigger marketing budgets and other SMBs vying for the customer’s attention, clever copy and stock photos will no longer cut it. As we come closer to Christmas and the holiday season, it’s important that your brand understands how to come out on top and stand out amongst other online retailers. By leveraging your customers and generating social proof you can do just that, and give your brand the boost of online reliability that it needs.
Start collecting authentic user-generated content from your customer easily with Innercircle’s all-in-one platform: