Effects of Perceived Similarity between Consumers and Product Reviewers on Consumer Behaviors

상품후기 작성자에 대해 상품후기 독자가 느끼는 유사성이 상품후기 독자에게 미치는 영향

  • 김지영 (삼성 SDS 전략파트너팀) ;
  • 서응교 (연세대학교 경영연구소) ;
  • 서길수 (연세대학교 경영대학 경영학과)
  • Published : 2008.09.30

Abstract

Prior to making choices among online products and services, consumers often search online product reviews written by other consumers. Online product reviews have great influences on consumer behavior because they are believed to be more reliable than information provided by sellers. However, ever-increasing lists of product reviews make it difficult for consumers to find the right information efficiently. A customized search mechanism is a method to provide personalized information which fits the user's requirements. This study examines effects of a customized search mechanism and perceived similarity between consumers and product reviewers on consumer behaviors. More specifically, we address the following research questions: (1) Can a customized search mechanism increase perceived similarity between product review authors and readers? (2) Are product reviews perceived as more credible when product reviews were written by the authors perceived similar to them? (3) Does credibility of product reviews have a positive impact on acceptance of product reviews? (4) Does acceptance of product reviews have an influence on purchase intention of the readers? To examine these research questions, a lab experiment with a between-subject factor (whether a customized search mechanism is provided or not) design was employed. In order to enhance mundane realism and increase generalizability of the findings, the experiment sites were built based on a real online store, cherrya.com (http://www.cherrya.com/). Sixty participants were drawn from a pool that consisted of undergraduate and graduate students in a large university. Participation was voluntary; all the participants received 5,000 won to encourage their motivation and involvement in the experiment tasks. In addition, 15 participants, who selected by a random draw, received 30,000 won to actually purchase the product that he or she decided to buy during the experiment. Of the 60 participants, 25 were male and 35 were female. In examining the homogeneity between the two groups, the results of t-tests revealed no significant difference in gender, age, academic years, online shopping experience, and Internet usage. To test our research model, we completed tests of the measurement models and the structural models using PLS Graph version 3.00. The analysis confirmed individual item reliability, internal consistency, and discriminant validity of measurements. The results show that participants feel more credible when product reviews were written by the authors perceived similar to them, credibility of product reviews have a positive impact on acceptance of product reviews, and acceptance of product reviews have an influence on purchase intention of the readers. However, a customized search mechanism did not increase perceived similarity between product review authors and readers. The results imply that there is an urgent need to develop a better customized search tool in order to increase perceived similarity between product review authors and readers.

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