Every ecommerce business is constantly driving to increase sales, and rightly so. With so much competition and endless new websites springing up, nobody can afford to sit back and simply enjoy the status quo. Just a 1% improvement in your store’s conversation rate is incredible, so how far would you go for almost 12%?

Responsive layouts. Search engine optimisation. eCommerce conversation rate optimisation. Social media marketing. Pay-per-click advertising. The list of techniques businesses are employing in the pursuit of more sales is endless and exhausting. Share buttons are great t, aren’t they? An ecommerce website with share buttons on every page is a no-brainer, right?

VWO in the Know

According to a case study by VWO, nothing could be further from the truth. If you are a devote advocate of social share buttons on ecommerce product pages, prepare yourself for a serious dose of regret.

VWO tested a theory on an ecommerce store based in Finland. What would happen to the website’s conversation rate if the social share buttons were removed? The results were surprising. The site’s conversion rate actually increased by 11.9%, which is a phenomenal gain for any business big or small.

What caused the dramatic change?

According to the case study, there are two main factors at play:

1. Social Proofing:

If you’ve not employed social proofing on your website yet, you’re missing a trick. It’s incredibly easy to utilise and gets results. This psychological phenomenon is also known as informational social influence. Effectively, people don’t want to look silly, so they follow the crowd. If everybody had a mullet, you’d probably have one too. And if everybody shaved off their mullets, you would too.

So how does this work for an ecommerce store? Some websites proudly display the number of members, social media followers or mailing list subscribers they have. Others include glowing testimonials. All of these tactics have the same approach – convincing visitors that you’re the popular choice, and they should shop with you too.

On Amazon, for example, products are rated and reviewed by real people. If a product has hundreds of 5-star ratings and great feedback, you’re probably going to click ‘Buy Now’ as opposed to opting for a similar product with zero reviews. And this is the problem with social share buttons on ecommerce product pages. Typically, they have low to zero shares, which puts doubt in the buyer’s mind. After all, if people can’t be bothered to click the Tweet button, it can’t be very good, can it? This is called negative social proofing.

Another Awesome Article: How to Increase Your E-commerce Store’s Average Order Value

2. One page. One goal.

The goal of every product page is to generate a transaction. The end. Any other possible actions that fail to support this goal are a distraction. Imagine if we asked you to check out our Twitter page now. A few clicks later and you’re checking out your notifications and replying to a message. The outcome? We’ve lost your attention.

3. Sharing is caring

If you own an ecommerce website, you’ll probably have added social share buttons. Well, we’re not going to tell you that’s completely wrong. Far from it. Social share buttons on blogs are incredibly helpful if you want visitors to share your content (and we’re pretty sure you want that, right?). So, before we continue, the first lesson here is: don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Try out some small A/B tests for yourself and put this theory to the test.

Can we Help?

At Bing Digital, our award-winning team of ecommerce experts specialise in helping businesses sell more. It’s really that simple. If you need help with optimising your online store to attract customers and generate more sales, take a look at our Magento Support Service and eCommerce UX Audit Service or give us a call on 020 8242 1954.

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