The global wellness industry is on a roll. There’s been an explosion in new wellness brands, categories and retailers, as well as traditional CPG players catching up. (And at the time of writing this blog [March 2020], they can make an important contribution to promoting physical and mental health during a time when we are at home and the normal pattern of our lives is put on hold).
Wellness is already a $4.5 trillion market, represents 5.3 per cent of global economic output, and is expected to post a CAGR of close to 6 per cent between 2019 and 2023. In the US the corporate wellness market is likely to reach $15.5bn by 2024. Driving this growth are the influencers: social media celebrities who, as brand ambassadors or independent advocates, discover, develop, promote, endorse and sell health and fitness products and services to their millions of followers.
Influencer marketing understands that human beings are social creatures. We shape our behavior according to what other people say or do. Successful wellness brands use that to create a sense of community, make their followers/customers feel part of a bigger tribe, a crowd of like-minded people sharing in something more than a commercial transaction. It’s not so much the fear of missing out (#FOMO), as the fun of fitting in (#FOFI) that is the big attraction.
Social proof messaging replicates the influencer effect, offering evidence based on the wisdom of the crowd, that other buyers are involved with the brand, are purchasing or interested in the products and satisfied that a product meets their values and delivers its promise.
There are four opportunities to put social proof to work across the online customer journey:
- For high quality engagement with customers. For the millennial generation, wellness is a way of life; as digital natives, they expect a high-quality digital interaction. Giving these consumers real time, personal messages at every step about what other people have bought or said about a product mirrors the influencer model and makes them feel part of the brand community. In a market where the end result – the look, the physique, the ‘glow’ - is very visual, reviews are ultra-important. And social proof messages don’t disrupt the shopping experience in any way. Indeed, they can enhance the digital shopping experience by signposting consumers to the items that are right for them, while they reinforce the brand identity and presence on the page.
- For sharing information and directing attention. There’s no sales associate online but social proof messages can substitute, pointing out how many of this item remain in stock, for example, or how fast a particular protein powder, vitamin or pair of yoga leggings is selling. In every category, there’s a load of choice. Social proof messaging can help make sense of the abundance, pointing out best sellers and highlighting trends. Social proof is especially powerful for drawing attention to new products and reassuring the customer by showing that other people have bought and enjoyed this meditation programme or that kombucha shot.
- For building trust. When shoppers might be buying something unfamiliar, or from a new brand, it’s reassuring to see that other people have made the same decision (‘Great choice – 14 people have bought this today’). Retailers who use Bazaarvoice or similar can also display messages that aggregate the opinions of other shoppers, such as ‘126 customers gave this product five stars’, which further creates confidence about the transaction. Social proof messaging can increase online conversion uplift by as much as 12 per cent.
- For maintaining brand connection and community. By following the brand identity and customizing the tone of voice, social proof messages (‘RN, 22 others are looking at this’) underpin the sense of community. Messages can now include emojis, which younger consumers respond to positively. All of that adds to the fun of fitting in with their particular crowd or tribe.
Finally, health and wellness customers aren’t going to appreciate a hard sell. Social proof allows the retailer to connect with their tribe members without pressure. Carefully crafted and timed messages help to nudge shoppers towards a decision – importantly, the right decision – and drive quality demand.
Taggstar is here to support retailers at this extraordinary time. Speak to us today to support your customers to make better buying decisions.