Show a product’s ‘likes’ to boost sales
People were 49% more likely to buy when browsing outside work hours. Revenue increased 7.5%.
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We know how powerful social proof is. For example, to boost sales you can highlight a product’s:
How many reviews it received
Customers from well-known companies
It’s extremely powerful.
And now scientists have investigated another potential way to boost your social proof:
The number of likes of your product.
P.S.: Want more reviews to further boost your social proof? Make sure you respond to every single review you receive. Hotels that did this received 12% more reviews, with an average 0.12 star higher rating.
Showing product likes increases sales in the evenings and weekends
Channels: Social proof | Reviews | Ecommerce | Social media
For: B2C. Can be tested for B2B
Research date: July 2023
On your website or product pages, show how many likes your product has received on social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) or on your own website.
Make sure to include some profile pictures of those who liked the product, and their names.
People will be much more likely to buy.
Showing a product’s likes, along with a few profile photos of people who liked it, on a website’s product page increases sales of that product.
In an experiment with a German Ecommerce store, researchers found that showing (vs not showing) likes next to a product:
Increased sales outside of regular work hours of the day by 49%
Increased total revenue by 7.48%
Generated €0.26 for each additional like received, about 0.14% of an average product price.
Revenue only increased outside of work hours, mainly evenings and weekends, because during work hours people are more focused on shopping efficiently, and are less affected by this social proof.
🧠 Why it works
When we’re unsure about a product, likes signal us that the quality must be good, for so many people to have liked it.
We also interpret likes as popularity, and we often go along with the most popular choice because we assume that others have information that we don’t.
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This research focused on a single website selling low-mid priced products (toys and games). The effect will vary for different websites, product categories, and price points.
The study only analyzed new customers. The effect on returning customers is unknown, but probably similar.
The study showed likes alongside some profile pictures and names of people who liked the product. Showing only the number of likes, without adding a face and name to the like wasn’t tested, so it’s unclear if the effect would hold.
The research used likes collected from a social media network and shown on the product page. Although not tested, likes recorded on an Ecommerce store’s own system would likely trigger the same response.
🏢 Companies using this
Showing how many social media likes a product has received isn’t common. Currently, large global Ecommerce brands don’t include this feature on their sites.
A number of Ecommerce add-ons or plug-ins offer this functionality. For example:
eCommerce software provider CS-Cart offers plug-ins to display how many likes a product receives, with options for users to sort the “Most Liked” products and go back and view items they’ve liked.
⚡ Steps to implement
On your product pages show how many people like a product.
To maximize the effect, include profile pictures and the names of a few customers who liked the product.
You can try different methods to collect product likes, for example:
Create dedicated posts, pages, or accounts for your products on social media - then count and collect these likes and report them on your product page
Use a custom or third-party system to collect likes, and profile pictures all within your website
Remember that in many jurisdictions you need some form of a person’s consent to show their profile pictures alongside your product.
🔍 Study type
Field experiment (analysis of 112,087 page visits over a 3-week period of a German Ecommerce retailer)
How do likes influence revenue? A randomized controlled field experiment. Journal of Business Research (July 2023)
Jörn Grahl. PHOENIX group
Oliver Hinz. Goethe University Frankfurt
Franz Rothlauf. Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Benjamin M. Abdel-Karim. Deutsche Bank
Cristina Mihale-Wilson. Goethe University Frankfurt
Remember: This is a new scientific discovery. In the future it will probably be better understood and could even be proven wrong (that’s how science works). It may also not be generalizable to your situation. If it’s a risky change, always test it on a small scale before rolling it out widely.
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