Social Proof Has Become Critical To Shopping Experiences
Social proof is the psychological cognitive bias popularized in Robert Cialdini’s seminal book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, first published in 1984. Cialdini defines social proof as “people want(ing) to know that people like them have made the same decision before they have, and had a good outcome.”
E-commerce comprised 10.2% of total retail sales worldwide in 2017, according to eMarketer. And in recent years social proof in the form of ratings and reviews has become one of the most important factors in driving online purchase behaviors. In many cases, reviews are now more important than the brand name in driving purchase decisions online. Traditional brick-and-mortar retail experiences are almost completely devoid of any form of social proof. Amazon has a larger database of product ratings and reviews than any of its competitors, and the company is now weaponizing that asset in a new brick-and-mortar store format.