Effects of product reviews on purchase intention : online shopping from a presence perspective.
Date of Issue2012
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Business-to-consumer (B2C) online retailing is becoming more and more popular among Chinese consumers. With the rise of online fraud, there is an increasing need for consumers to reduce the potential risks with online purchase. Research shows that consumer product reviews (CPRs), as a form of electronic word-of-mouth, can help reduce the risks of online shopping and even influence shoppers’ purchase decisions. However, apart from providing extra information about products, CPRs may have social impact on potential shoppers since they may elicit the presence of the existing customers. Hence, this study aims to examine the possible influence of CPRs on B2C retail websites on potential shoppers’ purchase intention from a presence perspective. In particular, this study assumes the presence of online customers who post reviews may be affected by their degree of anonymity. Additionally, this study attempts to see if the intended effects would differ between search and experience products. This study adopts the experiment method. A mock website of a Chinese B2C online store which consisted of the two types of products with different versions of product review and a short questionnaire were developed and used in the experimental study with 210 university student participants. The results showed that provision of product reviews on B2C shopping websites can improve potential consumers’ purchase intention for experience products. Moreover, potential consumers’ online purchase intention is positively correlated with the perceived presence of existing customers, and adopting the feature of product reviews on B2C retail website can enhance the perceived presence of existing customers among potential consumers. For experience products, the degree of reviewer anonymity in product reviews negatively affects the perceived presence of existing customers. The thesis concludes with practical and theoretical implications of the findings.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Promotional communication::Integrated marketing communications
Nanyang Technological University