New research shows power of consumer reviews and advocacy

New research* published today from social media agency, immediate future, has revealed that product reviews by consumers, (24 per cent) are catching up with search (33 per cent) and onsite product information (27 per cent) as the top three sources of information that people use prior to purchasing.

Online consumers also rate comments on a forum or message board above television advertisements, indicating a shift in sources of purchasing influence.

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 are now experiencing the rise of ‘social shopping‘.

The social shopping research also shows that positive buying experiences generate more online conversation. But that blogs, where 50 per cent of people are reviewing negatively and only 12 per cent positively, are the ones to watch. And nearly two thirds (60 per cent) are likely to talk about a product purchase positively on the review site where they bought it.

Consumers also want to be advocates for brands, and be rewarded for doing so. 30 per cent say that having access to ‘new products’ would incentivise future purchases and 20 per cent want to be recognised for talking about the brand or service they have received.

Adam Lewis, director at social media agency immediate future, says: “The social shopper is not just a buyer: they are also an expert, critique, influencer and potential advocate. The purchase process of the social shopper is heavily influenced by the opinions and experiences of other consumers – even if they are complete strangers. The challenge for retailers is to build online relationships with them based on service, trust and quality.”

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 discount incentives (75 per cent) and exclusive offers (72 per cent)
• Cash driven incentives were not the only motivator. 83 per cent of people opted for a combination of transactional and experiential recognition
• Only 11 per cent prefer transactional rewards

The findings are being presented by immediate future at Internet Retailing on 12th October. However, you can find the full report by visiting 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