Email Marketing Supports Social Proof

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

One of my favorite books is Influence, by Robert Cialdini.  The book was given to me by my friend, Alan Dick one of the leaders at Vintage Tub and Bath.
In the book Cialdini writes about several psychological factors that are hidden inside each of us that influence our behavior.  Among the list of psychological factors that Cialdini writes about are Reciprocity, Commitment, Liking, Authority, Scarcity and Social Proof.
Many of these principles can be applied to email marketing, however, today I want to point out how email marketing is helping one merchant drive demand by using the principle of social proof.  Social Proof is the concept of “safety by numbers” - we’re more likely to do something or purchase something if we see (or read about) others around us doing, buying or wearing, etc. similar things.  Such has been the success of’s very popular product reviews and the powerful user experience as a result of having a plethora of them.
Amazon was one of the first on-line merchants to understand and apply the linkage between social proof and conversion rate.  Over the past years, smaller merchants have too looked to increase the number of product reviews on their sites to positively affect conversion rate.  One of the most effective tactics to garner product reviews is the post-shipping review email.  Best practice is to deploy said email roughly 14 days (your mileage may vary based on product type) post shipping and only ask for reviews of products that have actually shipped.  Be mindful of the customer experience of a review solicitation for a product still on back order.
We recently helped a merchant, EC Kraus, an on-line purveyor of wine and beer making supplies, solicit more product reviews by using a post-shipping email campaign.  The triggered emails are sent 14 days after the product have shipped and look like this:

The results have been stellar.  In the months after the post shipping email campaign was deployed, EC Kraus saw an increase in reviews by 4.4X.  To put it another way, before this automated campaign was deployed it look on average 312 orders before one product review was written.  After the campaign was launched it only took 29 orders on average for a product review to be generated by EC Kraus customers.  And here is an unexpected benefit - that email campaign gets a 12.6% purchase conversion rate!  Now that’s customer success!
Special “Thanks!” go out to our friends at Groove Commerce who helped deploy our Magento Connect extension for EC Kraus and kept this project on track.
In my next post I’ll detail how we are using the user generated product reviews inside shopping cart abandonment emails.  EC Kraus already had a very successful shopping cart abandonment campaign prior to us merchandising the top rated review right next to the items they abandoned in their shopping cart.  We’re still gathering data, however, the early results look fantastic.  Be sure to follow our Tumblr so you get updated when the results are posted.