E-consultancy is offering a free copy of a research report to those who take part in our social commerce research survey.

The research is being sponsored by Bazaarvoice, a provider of hosted social commerce applications.

More than 700 respondents have so far taken part in the survey which is particularly relevant for online retailers.

There are questions about online customer service, user-generated content and, in particular, customer ratings and reviews.

Put simply, social commerce is about customers having the means to interact with one another in order to make better buying decisions.

Brett Hurt, the founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice, was one of the headline presenters yesterday at E-consultancy’s What’s New in Online Marketing Event in London, attended by more than 200 leading internet marketers.

He spoke about how retailers can use consumer ratings as an effective means of driving sales and improving conversions, for example by enabling site visitors to search by top-rated products.

Surprisingly, the average star rating across his company’s clients is 4.3 out of 5 which demonstrates that retailers do not necessarily have to fear a large swathe of negative reviews if they embrace user-generated feedback.

The survey closes on Friday 6 July (2007).