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No Picture No Truth? : the influence of review format and review valence on Chinese consumers’ purchase intention.

Qiu, M. (2017) No Picture No Truth? : the influence of review format and review valence on Chinese consumers’ purchase intention.

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Abstract:The Internet empowers every single consumer to voice his/her thoughts, opinions, and comments by offering the online review as a new approach. While the wide dissemination of online reviews facilitates potential consumers’ ability to obtain additional information to avert risks, thousands of reviews are constantly generated, posted and shared which cause an information overload. Besides that, due to the anonymous and unidentified nature of online reviews, the trustworthiness of the content has been considered as a major concern among consumers. Although researchers have tested how consumers assess the credibility of online reviews via review length, spelling error, writing style, to name but a few, the way of information being presented remains underexplored. Little is known whether the content with or without visual images would have an impact on consumers’ perception of the online review and if it affects the strength of the review valence on purchase intention. Therefore, this study attempts to give a better understanding 1) to what extent do online review formats (no photo, photo with pure product display, photo with product and human element) influence Chinese consumers’ perception of information credibility; 2) whether there is an interaction effect between review format and valence on purchase intention; 3) what is the role of product type (search goods, experience goods) in the process. A 3 x 2 x 2 within-subjects experimental design was used to identify the factors affecting the willingness of prospective consumers shopping online. Participants were randomly exposed to conditions where they faced two different goods and the online reviews were manipulated. During the test, subjects were told to purchase two particular items for their close friends as birthday gifts. Therefore, they were requested to read the product information and the provided online reviews and later they were asked to fill in a questionnaire where their perception of information credibility, self-reported review effect, attitudes towards the review, and purchase intention were measured and analyzed accordingly. The findings derived from this research indicate that the presentation format of online reviews has no impact on perceived information credibility. But it is noteworthy that when consumers face the positive reviews, the review effect can be increased by adding images into the content. Conversely, when consumers are indulged in the negative reviews, visual cues can neutralize the negative influence. Thus, retailers might consider leveraging a variety of review formats to deal with different review directions. Regarding the product type, unfortunately, there is no significant effect being observed in this study.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/74367
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