IMB_ConsumerReportsAd One of the most visible effects of the social media revolution is the relative power that is now in the hands of an individual consumer when it comes to spreading a positive or negative experience with your brand to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people. Shoppers have a voice and it is now far stronger than the occasional review on Amazon or comment on a blog post. As the new holiday shopping season descends in the US, at least one organization is starting the season with an open call to consumers to make their voices heard.

Today Consumer Reports placed a full page ad in the USA Today asking holiday shoppers to "bite back" against retail practices that they hate. In an announcement about the campaign, the Consumer Reports team shared the following stats from a survey run on the Consumerist (a popular blog that is now part of the "Consumer Reports family") about what consumers dislike the MOST:

  • 72% Stores that never open all of the checkout lanes
  • 68% Fake "sales". If something is always 20% off, it's not on sale
  • 67% Coupons that exclude almost everything in the store
  • 52% Pushing store credit cards at the register

As we head into this holiday season, watching out for your shoppers biting back isn't just a lesson for those of us who work in retail sales. Consumer opinion will continue to drive purchase, and this will take the form of everything from idle tweets to wall posts on a fan page. Listening to conversations about your brand, products and industry and participating in the conversation is consistent advice from those who "get" social media. This holiday season for many brands, it may be even more than good advice … it may be a necessary survival tactic.