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Social shoppers could spark life into the UK high street

Thursday November 26th 2015

New research has found that customers can contribute 125 additional revenue to small shops every time they recommend them on social media.

Conducted by Econsultancy, the independent study for American Express found that the average spend in a small shop is £6.58 but if a shopper goes on to share positive comments or images on social media, this has the potential to generate £125 additional revenue for that shopkeeper from new customers.

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Three quarters of people surveyed said they would be likely to shop small to support local businesses this Christmas, but only 46% said they would recommend them to friends and family online. In contrast, 80% would recommend small shops verbally by word-of-mouth.

Heather Laverne, vice president American Express UK, said: "A few kind words cost nothing and their effect is magnified when loyal shoppers recommend local shops to friends and followers online. Our research shows that shoppers are already great at celebrating their favourite restaurants by checking in and posting pictures of their food.

"However all independent shops could really benefit from the same type of personal endorsement for fantastic products and service. The bigger your social circle, the bigger your potential impact on your local community."

The study also found that the benefits could be long-lasting, with eight out of 10 shoppers saying that when a friend’s recommendation helps them uncover a store they love, they are likely to revisit frequently – once or twice a month or more.

Kirstie Allsopp, American Express Shop Small Ambassador, said: “I’ve always known that social media is powerful, but this research from American Express clearly shows what a positive impact it can have on small shops and the local community. So this Christmas, don’t just buy your gifts in small shops, share photos of those shoes, that cupcake or your new haircut. It could make a real difference to your local high street.”

The research also found that hair salons, barbers, cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and food shops enjoy the biggest boost from ‘social sharing’. In addition 20% of people who shop at small shops follow the social media accounts of the small independent businesses they love.