Title: 'You should buy this one!' The influence of online recommendations on product attitudes and choice confidence

Authors: Judy Harris, Pranjal Gupta

Addresses: Towson University, USA. ' Unversity of Tampa, USA

Abstract: We use a laboratory experiment to examine the effects of electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) in the form of online customer-to-customer recommendations on attitudes about the recommended product and confidence in the choice decision. Specifically, we manipulate the number of consumer recommendations and measure motivation to process information in a realistic online shopping environment. Consistent with predictions of dual information processing theories, we find that the amount of eWOM has a significant impact on buyer confidence in product choice. In addition, we find that for buyers less motivated to process information, the effect of eWOM on their choice confidence is mediated by their attitude towards the recommended product, suggesting that the amount of eWOM functions as a purchase cue. Our findings have theoretical implications regarding the processes underlying eWOM effectiveness and practical implications for online retailers and policy-makers.

Keywords: electronic word-of-mouth; eWom; motivation; information processing; involvement; peripheral processing; heuristic processing; electronic marketing; customer recommendations; online recommendations; product attitudes; choice confidence; customer-to-customer recommendations; online shopping; electronic retailing; etailing; online retailing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2008.019816

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2008 Vol.2 No.2, pp.176 - 189

Published online: 04 Aug 2008 *

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