Skip to content

Pudding Blog - Social Proof & Conversion Rate Optimization

What is social proof and how it affects your business

2 min read

What is social proof?

Social proof is evidence that others are doing something, which in turn can affect your own actions - on a psychological level.

As described on Wikipedia, the term “social proof” was originally coined by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. It describes a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation.

How social proof affects people

To better illustrate how social proof works in the modern world, it’s best to understand it with a real life example.

All of your friends started drinking a new carbonated water. It’s expensive, hard-to-find and imported. The likeliness for you to try this new product is much greater than it would have been if your friends weren’t drinking it and talking about it. At first you dismiss it as a silly new fad. But then you start seeing others drinking it at work, at the gym, and at the park. You. Must. Try. It.

You can start to think about how social proof may be used as a competitive advantage in marketing. If marketers can use this information in their store about other people using your product or service, it works to their advantage to get more sales.

In addition to increasing conversions or sales, social proof also increases trust from users. If all of these other people are using ‘product X’, it must be OK, and I feel more comfortable trusting ‘product X’ because so many others have.

A few types of social proof


Product reviews show others' experience with a product. Product reviews are heavily influential in a shopper’s decision making - around the board.


Testimonials are someone providing a positive review for a business, or a business's product. Testimonials have often been “curated” by a marketer or business owner. These can be presented as a company logo or a personal quote with someone’s photo. Also another highly effective form of social proof.

Sales data

Shoppers are influenced by a handful of data points from sales. Let’s take the carbonated water example from earlier and apply it to a scenario where you are shopping at the store. Below are some things that you could experience:

FOMO: The aisle is jam packed (you have fear of missing out) Everyone is grabbing the carbonated water. There is literally a traffic jam in the grocery store. You don’t want to miss out on this amazing opportunity.

Inventory remaining You pass by the shelf where the water is stocked. It is literally almost empty. Oh no, should you get some?

How many have already been sold You see people all over the grocery store with this water in their carts.

Social proof for ecommerce and shopify

Hopefully the illustration above helps you understand in a real world example how social proof can increase sales.

E-commerce is no different than the in-store example, except it’s digital. Imagine if you could use the same type of data in your ecommerce store to make inventory fly off the shelf…

Well, you can. With Pudding you can put these same type of factors and methods into practice in your ecommerce or Shopify store.