Title: The usefulness of online reviews in financial services

Authors: Monica D. Guillory; Ritu Lohtia; Naveen Donthu

Addresses: Management and Marketing Department, Winston-Salem State University, R.J. Reynolds Center Room 127C, 601 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27110, USA ' Department of Marketing, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, 35 Broad Street, Suite 1300, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, USA ' Department of Marketing, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, 35 Broad Street, Suite 1300, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, USA

Abstract: As consumers become savvier in their consumption process, they seek out sources of information that will help them in their decision-making. Online reviews have become an important part of this process. Shoppers will search the internet for product information, which includes expert or editorial reviews and user-generated content. In this scenario-based experimental study, we examine the effect of review source, user or expert, on their usefulness to consumer reviews, and the impact of valence and internet experience on that usefulness in the financial services industry. Our research demonstrates that there is no significant difference between the usefulness of user reviews and expert reviews alone. However, we also show that both internet experience and valance can have an influence. Our research demonstrates that although the fundamental theories developed in marketing apply to this medium, we need to continue to do research to understand how they specifically apply to social media.

Keywords: online reviews; expert reviews; consumer reviews; valence; internet experience; financial services; social media; consumer generated content; USA; United States; users; experts.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEMR.2016.075329

International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2016 Vol.7 No.1, pp.66 - 90

Available online: 14 Mar 2016

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