This is a continuation of our series to help you increase your Average Order Value. If you haven’t already, please click through the two previous posts to learn other tips on increasing your Average Order Value.

In part 3, we’ll focus on using social proof to encouraging customers to buy more by instilling confidence in their purchase decisions. Social proof can be reviews from other users, celebrity and expert endorsements, or recommendations from a friend.

Organizations normally use social proof to encourage an initial conversion. In fact, if you look at our homepage, you’ll see some of our successful customers. Our goal is to instill a sense of confidence about RJMetrics with site visitors who have never heard of us before, ultimately encouraging them to convert into a lead (Showing these success stories has been very effective for us!).

As a conversion tool, social proof should keep customers on a direct path to purchase. To increase average order value, social proof should encourage a customer to click through as many pages as possible on your site. The more reviews a customer can read, or opportunities they have to purchase higher priced items, the greater their average order value.

A quick note: for any type of social proof to be effective, you need to sell products that your customers want to recommend. If your customers don’t love your products, fix that first.

Increase your Average Order Value Tip 3: Social Proof

User Reviews

Bazaarvoice says that for the consumer packaged goods industry, visitors who read reviews have a 6% higher average order value than those who don’t. Following up with customers and asking them to review the products they’ve purchased creates an abundance of user generated marketing content that other customers will trust more than copy written by your marketing department.

If you aren’t quite confident enough to post anything your customers say about their purchases, another option for user reviews is to display the top selling products for each category. An implicit review, displaying the top selling products on your website reinforces their decision to purchase, as so many other customers have made the same choice.

Expert and Celebrity Endorsements

The online shopping site, PiperLime prominently features choices in every product category from two experts, a celebrity stylist and a model known for her cutting edge style. The endorsements are usually more expensive, luxury versions of each product, encouraging the customer to spend more. The very clear message is that customers don’t need to worry about making the right choice—they are guaranteed to be fashionable.

Recommendations From a Friend

Let’s say you plan a day of shopping at the mall with a friend. This experience is part commercial and part social. This is very different than running to the drugstore to pick up a tube of toothpaste. Bringing that same social experience online is the idea behind online social shopping. Instead of going to a site, quickly picking out a product, then leaving, social shopping online becomes a chance for friends to share opinions, give advice and let you know if something is an immediate must-buy.

When DecisionStep implemented ShopTogether on a german cosmetic brand website, the results were a 15% increase in sales and 50% increase in average order value. Customers could co-browse in real time with friends through live chat, and they could ask for shopping advice or share purchase decisions on social networks.

Social proof is a natural, organic way to encourage customers to buy more. And, as with all of the tips we’ve discussed, you have to track the impact. Measure how reviews, endorsements and opinions change customer behavior in your ecommerce reporting tool and make adjustments based on the results.

This is the third post in our series of increasing your average order value. If you would like to learn more about how to increase your average order value, download the whitepaper!