How to build trust with social proof?

Trust is one of the key factors that pushing online shoppers to purchase a product or service from your online store. When they landed in your store, shoppers are often looking for some signals to make sure your website is a trustable place to buy their required products. But, the question is how to establish trust with online shoppers?

Trust is built by pushing some steps at the same, ranging from making a good first impression, showing off high-quality product photos, making the site flow and descriptions easy and understandable, to being consistent with a brand’s communication and its values.

Another important step for building trust is social proof. Social proof is the notion that people follow the actions of others. For example, when a user has no idea what is the best behavior to accomplish a certain task, they will look to what other people are doing to conform to their actions. In the word of eCommerce that means what others purchasing (for example from customer reviews) impacts what we purchase.

Data shows that most people (70%) will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know. Such a recommendation typically comes in the form of social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), ratings, reviews, and visual user-generated content (UGC). That is the rationale behind the huge increase in online conversions when mobile shoppers see positive reviews before buying. Or when 54% of people have purchased a consumer packaged good after seeing visual UGC showing it.

Boost your social proof

An online merchant boosts their social proof in a variety of forms. A few of them are as below:

1. Customer reviews and ratings: The giant online review platforms such as Amazon, TripAdvisor, and Yelp have already proved the importance of reviews in customers’ buying decisions. In turn, today’s shoppers seldom make online purchases without referencing the ratings and user reviews of others. For an eCommerce store, it is also necessary to showcase those reviews across its own site as well. So, a potential buyer can quickly find out other shopper’s experiences on a particular item and make a decision.

2. Celebrities and influencers: As people who have built their reputations and followings on social media platforms, they come with a built-in audience of enthusiastic fans to help grow awareness for your brand. The common way that they endorse your products is to share a post encouraging their social audiences to purchase your brand’s products or services. However, the important action here is to choose an influence or celebrity that is relevant to your niche, so people take their advice more seriously.

3. Expert proof: It’s pretty intuitive the experts can validate product quality and bring proof to potential users. By featuring content from trusted experts in your industry, you can bolster your credibility and provide the extra validation consumers need to move from ‘maybe I need it’ to ‘gotta have it.’

4. User-generated content (UGC): UGC is any form of content (e.g., posts, stories photos, videos, reviews, etc) created by consumers across various online and social media platforms. Unlike the content and ads created by the merchants, people have much more trust in what their peers created and that makes the UGC more authentic and influential content to consumers.

5. Testimonials: Testimonials are a longer form of endorsements (e.g., ads, photo reviews, UGC, etc.) that can be very persuasive particularly for pricier or intangible purchases like software. Happy customers are usually willing to spend time and create a testimonial for their favorite brand. So don’t be shy about asking for testimonials. Once collected, place these valuable pieces of social proof in prominent places on your website.

6. Social shares: Similar to social connections, it can go a long way towards proving your site’s popularity to display social share counts on social share buttons across each of your web pages. But beware: lower social share count can have the opposite effect, reducing trust in your brand.

7. Referral: It is a form of recommendation that an online shopper refers a product/service, that they have already purchased, to their friends and family. Referral oftentimes is coming with a reward from the store for both referee and referrer. Such a recommendation, which is coming from a trusted friend plus with a potential reward, has of course its own impact on converting new customers.

Implement social proof

The next question is how to implement the above forms of social proof in your eCommerce Shopify store? Well, there are a couple of ways that you can pursue. The first one is to do it by yourself. You got the idea and you can manually set up things to build the social proof. However, if you don’t have time or sufficient knowledge on how to do things, you probably need to outsource the process. One way is to ask marketing agencies to get the job done, but it usually increases your cost significantly. A cost-effective way is to utilize the power of the rich pool of apps in the Shopify app store. While some apps may still be pricy, especially for small businesses, they are affordable apps that can automate the process of one or more forms of social proof for your eCommerce store.

Scuti Shopify app is a comprehensive, affordable app for collecting and showcasing reviews on your product pages, asking customers for referrals on social media, and encouraging customers to create UGC and share them on their choice of social media. It’s an easy, risk-free app and, unlike other apps, its free plan gives you access to all features for building trust and social proof at your store.


We know that trust is one of the key principles for conversion. For building trust with shoppers, a series of actions needs to be taken, where showcasing social proof is an important step. As a merchant owner, you should always think about effective ways on boosting credibility with social proof. That can be from collecting reviews and testimonials or asking influencers to promote your online stores.

If you know more effective approaches for building trust using social proof, please share with us.