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Add Social Proof on your dealer site

PT Barnum once said “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd”

Although online car buyers may be browsing from the comfort of their living room, they can still be heavily influenced by social proof. The concept of social proof isn’t new. It’s been used for decades.

Restaurants like to put patrons in the front window seat so that people passing by believe the restaurant is full and “must be good”. After all, who wants to eat at an empty restaurant?

In 1938, Sylvan Goldman invented the shopping cart. However, people were at first reluctant to use it. To solve this, he hired people to simply push carts around the store. This gave people the opportunity to see other people use it and assume it must be beneficial. Social proof.

Moving into the online world, social proof is even more important. Given that your car buyer is probably acting on his or her own, you need to supplement their experience with social proof.

Different studies consistently show conversion improvement of between 18% to 63% simply by adding well placed testimonials!


The most common and effective way to generate social proof is through the use of customer testimonials. It generates immediate credibility and is easy to do. If you already have a process in place to get testimonials you need to ensure you get these onto your homepage of your dealer site.

Amazon know the power of social proof. The reviews of a product are shown right below the product name…in otherwords, the most important piece of information after the name. Even more than the price:

It’s not like Google struggle to get users, but they too know the power of social proof:

Notice the large testimonial which appears before you even get into exploring all the product features.

Don’t have testimonials?

Incentivizing customers to provide testimonials is a great way of getting these added to your website. You can use electronic vouchers such as those provided by ( These allow you to give a $25 voucher to be used at thousands of restaurants (at a much lower cost to you) in exchange for a testimonial. Fulfillment of these vouchers is electronic so you don’t have to worry about mailing them.

Caution: Testimonials must be real!

The Federal Trade Commission has been clamping down on website claims and outlandish testimonials or endorsements. Make sure your testimonials are from real people and that they “reflect the honest opinion, findings, beliefs, or experience of the endorser”. Regardless of what the FTC say, this is just common ethical business practices. The FTC go on to say “Advertisers are subject to liability for false or unsubstantial statements made through endorsements, or for failing to disclose material connections between themselves and their endorsers”,

Social Urgency

Another social proof tactic used by some online retailers is to create urgency by letting you know how many other people are looking at the same product. This works best when you have a limited quantity available of a product. For example, you’ve probably seen this on travel sites when you look at a hotel room for a particular date, you’ll see a message along the lines of “Hurry…only 2 rooms left at this price and 14 people booked this room in the last 48 hours”.

For an autodealer perspective, this doesn’t work too well on new cars given there is no inherent scarcity in the product, but can work great on second hand inventory….”5 people viewed this car in the last 2 hours”…that drives urgency.


Imagine how your dealer site would be with an 18%-63% conversion improvement! Adding testimonials is about as “no brainer” as it can get in the world of online commerce. If you haven’t done so already, start an active process of collecting testimonials from your customers and keep your website updated. You’ll be glad you did!

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