The role of ‘social proof’ in shopping experiences

The role of ‘social proof’ in shopping experiences

Knowing that other people (like you) have made the same decision you’re about to make and have had a good outcome is very persuasive. It’s the concept of ‘social proof’ – coined in Cialdini’s book “Influence: The psychology of persuasion’. It’s something we often see online – but how does this manifest in in-store experiences?

Enter Amazon’s new store which opened in Soho recently.  We wrote about this store recently – the concept is that only products rated 4-stars or higher are featured – allowing consumers to trust in the curated assortment of products. Add to ihat the ability for consumers to physically see the products in-store – something we know that customers look for – and you have a winning combination.

Jason Goldberg highlighted the impact of the store on retail in a recent Forbes article where he pointed to how Social Proof was being used in the store – and how it’s a powerful tool for the purchase process. “This model is upending competitors’ ideas about assortment, social proof in-store, and new discovery experiences.” he writes.

While social proof in the form of ratings and reviews has become one of the most important factors in driving online purchase behaviors (above and beyond branding!), it’s almost always devoid in in-store experiences. So this new format introduced by Amazon is changing that. Furthermore, they have added the element of live, up to date updates, by replacing traditional paper fact tags, with electronic shelf labels reflecting reviews and ratings in real-time.

This store format is not a novelty, but will be around for a while, and gives retailers ideas on how to integrate social proof into their in-store experience.