Credibility of reviews is unaffected when reviewers are rewarded

New research* published today by social media agency, immediate future, demonstrates a desire from consumers to be more involved in the review of products and services provided by online retailers.

Over 60 per cent of the 2,000 online shoppers who took part in the research, said they would be more likely to shop at a site that rewarded them for writing reviews or recommending products to friends.

The credibility of consumer reviews or recommendations that are incentivised by the retailer are largely unaffected. 32 per cent of consumers think better of a brand or product that has been recommended – this falls to just 30 per cent when the reviewer has been rewarded.

But the social shopping research shows rewards are not just about money. Only 11 per cent just want transactional rewards. Over 82 per cent want both transactional and experiential rewards such as access to new products before other people, private shopping days or getting involved in product development.

Adam Lewis, director at immediate future, says: “The social shopper is not just a buyer: they are also an expert, critique, influencer and potential advocate. There is an untapped consumer appetite to be advocates for a product or service – rewarding them for the time and effort in doing so is not seen as a negative. Rewards are not just about money. Retailers need to be looking at other ways to build relationships and make social shopping feel special.”

And with 53 per cent reviewing a product or service online in the last month, it is clear that online influencers and the sharing of consumer opinion is becoming part of a new route to purchase; we’re now experiencing the rise of social shopping.

When asked about actions taken after making purchases online, 37 per cent said they had reviewed or talked about their last purchase online. This was a mere 1 per cent less than those who had discussed it face to face offline (38 per cent).

Adam Lewis added: “Social shopping is about sharing experiences with your network online as much as you are offline network. This reinforces the need for retailers to be involved in the conversation.”

Other key findings from the report include:
• 46 per cent of online shoppers do not have a clear idea what they want to purchase when they go online
• A high demand for customer service by customer (50 per cent) and private shopping days (60 per cent)
• Consumer comments and reviews on forums are used in product research (11 per cent) slightly more than professional reviews in newspapers (9 per cent)

The findings are being presented by immediate future at the Internet Retailing Conference on 12th October. However, you can find the full report by visiting or contacting Adam Lewis at immediate future on 0845 408 2031 /

*Research conducted by ODC Services (on behalf of immediate future), surveying a nationally representative online audience of 2,000 people, to find out how consumers are changing their behaviour online and how social media is transforming the retail landscape




Notes for Editors

About immediate future
immediate future is an independent communications company that specialises in social media and digital PR for brands alongside business and corporate public relations for the digital marketing industry.

Specialists in online PR and social media relations the company helps brands manage the online conversation and build a positive reputation. Campaigns are enhanced with influential blog relations; SEO PR increases search engines visibility; and online press coverage generates advocacy.

immediate future has created award-winning campaigns for companies, including:
Sony Europe, BBC, Diageo Global, BT, ASOS, Mirror Group, Cancer Research, NSPCC, EMI, AVG, Ferrero and GoView (PSP and Sky joint venture)

First SEO PR in the UK
First use of blog comms for Sanex, a Sara Lee brand
First to run an Online PR training course with E-consultancy

Online Reputation Awards 2010: Winner Best Use of Online PR/Blogger Relations
European Business Awards 2009: Ruban d’Honneur recipient for Marketing Strategy of The Year
MediaGuardian Innovation Awards 2009: Finalist for PR Campaign
The Drum Marketing Awards 2009: Finalist for Best PR Strategy
Marketing Society Golden Jubilee Awards 2009: Finalist for Digitally Led Marketing

For more information please visit