Skip to main content

Product type and consumers’ perception of online consumer reviews

Abstract

Consumers hesitate to buy experience products online because it is hard to get enough information about experience products via the Internet. Online consumer reviews may change that, as they offer consumers indirect experiences about dominant attributes of experience products, transforming them into search products. When consumers are exposed to an online consumer review, it should be noted that there are different kinds of review sources. This study investigates the effects of review source and product type on consumers’ perception of a review. The result of the online experiment suggests that product type can moderate consumers’ perceived credibility of a review from different review sources, and the major findings are: (1) consumers are more influenced by a review for an experience product than for a search product when the review comes from consumer-developed review sites, and (2) a review from an online community is perceived to be the most credible for consumers seeking information about an experience product. The findings provide managerial implications for marketers as to how they can better manage online consumer reviews.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Alba, J., Lynch, J., Weitz, B., Janiszewski, C., Lutz, R., Sawyer, A., & Wood, S. (1997). Interactive home shopping: consumer, retailer, and manufacturer incentives to participate in electronic marketplaces. The Journal of Marketing, 61(3), 38–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Andreoli, V., & Worchel, S. (1978). Effects of media, communicator, and message position on attitude change. Public Opinion Quarterly, 42(1), 59–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bailey, A. A. (2005). Consumer awareness and use of product review websites. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 6(1), 68–81.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bakos, J. Y. (1997). Reducing buyer search costs: implications for electronic marketplaces. Management Science, 43(12), 1676–1692.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bei, L. T., Chen, E. Y. I., & Widdows, R. (2004). Consumers’ online information search behavior and the phenomenon of search vs. experience products. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 25(4), 449–467.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bickart, B., & Schindler, R. M. (2001). Internet forums as influential sources of consumer information. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 15(3), 31–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bone, P. F. (1995). Word-of-mouth effects on short-term and long-term product judgments. Journal of Business Research, 32(3), 213–223.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Brown, J., Broderick, A. J., & Lee, N. (2007). Word of mouth communication within online communities: conceptualizing the online social network. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(3), 2–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Chang, B. H., & Ki, E. J. (2005). Devising a practical model for predicting theatrical movie success: focusing on the experience good property. Journal of Media Economics, 18(4), 247–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Chatterjee, P. (2001). Online reviews: do consumers use them?. The Proceedings of ACR2001, 129–134.

  11. Chen, Y., & Xie, J. (2008). Online consumer review: word-of-mouth as a new element of marketing communication mix. Management Science, 54(3), 477–492.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Chen, P. Y., Wu, S. Y., & Yoon, J. (2004). The impact of online recommendations and consumer feedback on sales. International Conference on Information Systems 2004 Proceedings.

  13. Cheong, H. J., & Morrison, M. A. (2008). Consumers’ reliance on product information and recommendations found in UGC. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 8(2), 38–49.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Chevalier, J. A., & Mayzlin, D. (2006). The effect of word of mouth on sales: online book reviews. Journal of Marketing Research, 43(3), 345–354.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Choi, S. M., & Rifon, N. J. (2002). Antecedents and consequences of Web advertising credibility: a study of consumer response to banner ads. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 3(1), 12–24.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Choi, S. Y., Choi, B., & Lee, H. (2006). Categorizing commercial products for customer oriented online retailing. Computers and Industrial Engineering, 51(1), 90–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Corritore, C. L., Kracher, B., & Wiedenbeck, S. (2003). On-line trust: concepts, evolving themes, a model. International Journal of Human Computer Studies, 58(6), 737–758.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Davis, A., & Khazanchi, D. (2008). An empirical study of online word of mouth as a predictor for multi-product category e-commerce sales. Electronic Markets, 18(2), 130–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Deighton, J., & Kornfeld, L. (2009). Interactivity’s unanticipated consequences for marketers and marketing. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 23(1), 4–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dellarocas, C., & Narayan, R. (2006). A statistical measure of a population’s propensity to engage in post-purchase online word-of-mouth. Statistical Science, 21(2), 277–285.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Dellarocas, C., Zhang, X. M., & Awad, N. F. (2007). Exploring the value of online product reviews in forecasting sales: the case of motion pictures. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(4), 23–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. DeShields, O. W., Kara, A., & Kaynak, E. (1996). Source effects in purchase decisions: the impacts of physical attractiveness and accent of salesperson. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 13(1), 89–101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Duan, W., Gu, B., & Whinston, A. B. (2008). The dynamics of online word-of-mouth and product sales - an empirical investigation of the movie industry. Journal of Retailing, 84(2), 233–242.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Fogg, B. J., & Tseng, H. (1999). The elements of computer credibility (pp. 80–87). ACM: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Gallagher, K., Parsons, J., & Foster, K. D. (2001). A tale of two studies: replicating “Advertising effectiveness and content evaluation in print on the Web. Journal of Advertising Research, 41(4), 71–81.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Girard, T., Silverblatt, R., & Korgaonkar, P. (2006). Influence of product class on preference for shopping on the Internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 8(1).

  27. Godes, D., & Mayzlin, D. (2009). Firm-created word-of-mouth communication: evidence from a field test. Marketing Science, 28(4), 721–739.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Goel, L., & Prokopec, S. (2009). If you build it will they come? - an empirical investigation of consumer perceptions and strategy in virtual worlds. Electronic Commerce Research, 9(1–2), 115–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Harkins, S. G., & Petty, R. E. (1987). Information utility and the multiple source effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(2), 260–268.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Harmon, R. R., & Coney, K. A. (1982). The persuasive effects of source credibility in buy and lease situation. Journal of Marketing Research, 19(2), 255–260.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Horrigan, J. B. (2008). Online shopping. Pew Internet and American Life Project.

  32. Hu, N., Liu, L., & Zhang, J. J. (2008). Do online reviews affect product sales? the role of reviewer characteristics and temporal effects. Information Technology and Management, 9(3), 201–214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Huang, P., Lurie, N. H., & Mitra, S. (2009). Searching for experience on the web: an empirical examination of consumer behavior for search and experience goods. Journal of Marketing, 73(2), 55–69.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. John, H. (1999). Net Gain: expanding markets through virtual communities. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 13(1), 55–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2004). Wag the blog: how reliance on traditional media and the Internet influence credibility perception of weblogs among blog users. Journal of Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(3), 622–642.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Johnson, T. J., & Kaye, B. K. (2009). In blog we trust? deciphering credibility of components of the Internet among politically interested Internet users. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(1), 175–182.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Johnson, T. J., Kaye, B. K., Bichard, S. L., & Wong, W. J. (2008). Every blog has its day: politically-interested Internet users’ perceptions of blog credibility. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 100–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Kaiser, S., Muller-Seitz, G., Lopes, M. P., & Cunha, M. P. (2007). Weblog-technology as a trigger to elicit passion for knowledge. Organization, 14(3), 391–412.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Kelman, H. C. (1961). Processes of opinion change. Public Opinion Quarterly, 25(1), 57–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. King, M. F., & Balasubramanian, S. K. (1994). The effects of expertise, end goal, and product type on adoption of preference formation strategy. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 22(2), 146–159.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Klein, L. R. (1998). Evaluating the potential of interactive media through a new lens: search versus experience goods. Journal of Business Research, 41(3), 195–203.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Kozinets, R. V. (2002). The field behind the screen: using netnography for marketing research in online communities. Journal of Marketing Research, 39(1), 61–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Kumar, R., Novak, J., Raghavan, P., & Tomkins, A. (2004). Structure and evolution of blogspace. Communications of the ACM, 47(12), 35–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Kwak, H., Fox, R. J., & Zinkhan, G. M. (2002). What products can be successfully promoted and sold via the Internet? Journal of Advertising Research, 42(1), 23–38.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Lenhart, A., & Fox, S. (2006). Bloggers: a portrait of the Internet's new storytellers. Pew Internet & American Life Project.

  46. Levin, A. M., Levin, I. P., & Heath, C. E. (2003). Product category dependant consumer preferences for online and offline shopping experience features and their influence on multichannel retail alliances. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 4(3), 41–62.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Levin, A. M., Levin, I. P., & Weller, J. A. (2005). A multi-attribute analysis of preferences for online and offline shopping: differences across products, consumers, and shopping stages. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 6(4), 281–290.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Limayem, M., Khalifa, M., & Frini, A. (2000). What makes consumers buy from Internet? a longitudinal study of online shopping. IEEE Transaction on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 30(4), 421–432.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Lynch, J. G., Jr., & Ariely, D. (2000). Wine online: search costs affect competition on price, quality, and distribution. Marketing Science, 19(1), 83–103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Lynch, P. D., Kent, R. J., & Srinivasan, S. S. (2001). The global Internet shopper: evidence from shopping tasks in twelve countries. Journal of Advertising, 41(3), 15–23.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Mack, R. W., Blose, J. E., & Pan, B. (2008). Believe it or not: credibility of blogs in tourism. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 14(2), 133–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Marlow, C. (2002). Getting the scoop: social networks for news dissemination. Sunbelt International Social Networks Conference XXII.

  53. Marlow, C. (2004). Audience, structure and authority in the weblog community. International Communication Association Conference.

  54. Mayzlin, D. (2006). Promotional chat on the Internet. Marketing Science, 25(2), 155–163.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Mitra, K., Reiss, M. C., & Capella, L. M. (1999). An examination of perceived risk, information search and behavioral intentions in search, experience and credence services. Journal of Services Marketing, 13(3), 208–228.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Moor, A., & Efimova, L. (2004). An argumentation analysis of weblog conversations. Proceedings of 9th International Working Conference on the Language-Action Perspective on Communication Modeling.

  57. Nakayama, M., Sutcliffe, N., & Wan, Y. (2010). Has the web transformed experience goods into search goods? Electronic Markets, 20(3–4), 251–262.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Nardi, B. A., Schiano, D. J., Gumbrecht, M., & Swartz, L. (2004). Why we blog. Communications of the ACM, 47(12), 41–46.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Nelson, P. (1970). Information and consumer behavior. Journal of Political Economy, 78(2), 311–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Nelson, P. (1974). Advertising as information. Journal of Political Economy, 82(4), 729–754.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. O’reilly, T. (2007). What is Web 2.0: design and patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Communications and Strategies, 65(1), 17–37.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Olshavsky, R. W., & Granbois, D. H. (1979). Consumer decision making - fact of fiction? Journal of Consumer Research, 6(2), 93–100.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Park, C., & Lee, T. M. (2009). Information direction, website reputation and eWOM effect: a moderating role of product type. Journal of Business Research, 62(1), 61–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Park, D. H., Lee, J. M., & Han, I. G. (2007). The effects of on-line consumer reviews on consumer: the moderating role of involvement. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 11(4), 125–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Ratchford, B. T., Lee, M. S., & Talukdar, D. (2003). The impact of the Internet of information search for automobiles. Journal of Marketing Research, 40(2), 192–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Reinstein, D. A., & Snyder, C. M. (2005). The influence of expert reviews on consumer demand for experience goods: a case study of movie critics. The Journal of Industrial Economics, 53(1), 27–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community: homesteading on the electronic frontier. New York: Harper Perennial.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Rieh, S. Y. (2002). Judgment of information quality and cognitive authority in the Web. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 53(2), 145–161.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Rieh, S. Y., & Danielson, D. R. (2007). Credibility: a multidisciplinary framework. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 41, 307–364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Rowley, J. (1996). Retailing and shopping on the Internet. Internet Research, 6(1), 81–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Senecal, S., & Nantel, J. (2004). The influence of online product recommendations on consumers’ online choices. Journal of Retailing, 80(2), 159–169.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Sheffet, M. J. (1983). An experimental investigation of the documentation of advertising claims. Journal of Advertising, 12(1), 19–29.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Spaulding, T. J. (2010). How can virtual communities create value for business? Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 9(1), 38–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Sternthal, B., Dholakia, R., & Leavitt, C. (1978). The persuasive effects of source: tests of cognitive response. Journal of Consumer Research, 4(4), 252–260.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Wathen, C. N., & Burkell, J. (2002). Believe it or not: Factors influencing credibility on the Web. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53(2), 134–144.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Wei, L. (2009). Filter blogs vs. personal journals: understanding the knowledge production gap on the Internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(3), 532–558.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Wilson, E. J., & Sherrell, D. L. (1993). Source effect in communication and persuasion research: a meta-analysis of effect size. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 21(2), 101–112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  78. Xia, L., & Bechwati, N. N. (2008). Word of mouse: the role of cognitive personalization in online consumer reviews. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 9(1), 3–13.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Zhou, L., Dai, L., & Zhang, D. (2007). Online shopping acceptance model - a critical survey of consumer factors in online shopping. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, 8(1), 41–62.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Taesik Lee.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bae, S., Lee, T. Product type and consumers’ perception of online consumer reviews. Electron Markets 21, 255–266 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-011-0072-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • e-Business
  • Online consumer reviews
  • Product type
  • Source effect
  • Online community
  • Blog

JEL classification

  • M31 Marketing (see http://www.aeaweb.org/journal/jel_class_system.html)