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Do online reviews still matter post-purchase?

Liu, Hongfei; Jayawardhena, Chanaka; Osburg, Victoria-Sophie; Mohiuddin Babu, Mujahid

Authors

Hongfei Liu

Chanaka Jayawardhena

Victoria-Sophie Osburg

Mujahid Mohiuddin Babu



Abstract

Purpose – The influence of eWOM information, such as online reviews, on consumers’ decision making is well documented, but it is unclear if online reviews still matter in post-purchase evaluation and behaviours. We therefore examine the extent to which online reviews (aggregate rating and individual reviews) influence consumers’ evaluation and post-purchase behaviour by considering the valence congruence of online reviews and consumption experience.

Design/methodology/approach – Following social comparison theory and relevant literature, we conduct an online experiment (pre-test: n = 180; main study: n = 347). We rely on a 2 (consumption experience valence) × 2 (aggregated rating valence) × 2 (individual review valence) between-subjects design.

Findings – Congruence/incongruence between the valences of consumption experience, aggregated rating and individual reviews affects consumers’ post-purchase evaluation at the emotional, brand and media levels, and review-writing behaviour. In comparison to aggregated rating, individual reviews are more important in the post-purchase stage. Similarly, consumers have a higher eWOM-writing intention when there is congruence between the valences of consumption experience, aggregated rating and individual reviews.

Practical implications – We demonstrate the importance of service providers continually monitoring their business profiles on review sites to ensure consistency of review information, as these influence consumers’ post-purchase evaluation and behaviours. For this reason, we illustrate the utility of why media owners of review sites should support the monitoring process to facilitate the engagement of both businesses and customers.

Originality/value – We break new ground by empirically testing the impact of online review information post-purchase seen through the theoretical lens of social comparison. Our approach is novel in breaking down and testing the dimensions of post-purchase evaluation and behavioural intentions in understanding the social comparison elicited by online reviews in the post-purchase phase.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Internet Research
Electronic ISSN 1066-2243
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Liu, H., Jayawardhena, C., Osburg, V., & Mohiuddin Babu, M. (in press). Do online reviews still matter post-purchase?. Internet Research, https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2018-0331
DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2018-0331
Keywords Electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM); Online reviews; Post-purchase evaluation; Social comparison; Polarisation effects
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