Antecedents to Customer Acceptance of Information in E-Word of Mouth

Author

  1. Anita Sukhwal
  2. Anshul Mathur

Abstract

The increasing rate of online shopping and online search of information about products and services has made online reviews or E-Word of Mouth (E-WoM) a common phenomenon with consumers. User generated opinions and information are gaining acceptance from prospective customers while they browse online for goods and services. Consumers often seek online user generated reviews to make offline purchase decisions as well. As online retail has picked up pace in India in recent years, the role of user generated content in the online space has become more relevant. This paper attempts to study the aspect of buying behaviour of customers and focus on how the upcoming users are utilizing E-WoM before making Antecedents to Customer Acceptance of Information in E-Word of Mouth or abandoning a purchase. In this study, product ranking emerged as the strongest antecedent to customers’ acceptance of information in E-WoM. Additionally, the study brings out that highly involved customers pay attention to the number of reviews written online, their timeliness as well as how accurate they are. An online retailer may rearrange his merchandise, especially in terms of displaying the products, on the basis of reviews and ranks he gets for his merchandise.

Introduction

The increasing rate of online shopping and online search of information about products and services has made online reviews or E-Word of Mouth (E-WoM) a common phenomenon with consumers. Social networking sites, online retailers, blogs, etc. are promoting the sharing of knowledge and information in the online space. User generated opinions and information are gaining acceptance from prospective customers while they browse online for goods and services. Consumers often seek online user generated reviews to make offline purchase decisions as well. It is important to understand the role E-WoM plays in consumer purchase decisions. The focus on E-WoM research has seen a significant increase (Chan & Ngai, 2011).

Past research has shown that word of mouth is one of the most influential factors that affect consumers’ buying behaviour. Social networking sites have now
become a daily part of a customer’s life. Consumers share information, knowledge, beliefs and many more things via this virtual medium. Face-to-face interactions are now shifting to online sharing of opinions. People create, share and promote their views and experiences through blogs, reviews, comments, etc. Digitally empowered consumers search for more information related to products, services and brands (Gillian, Laurent and Eoghan, 2014). Sharing of opinions and beliefs about any product or a service is known as E-word of mouth (EWoM). E-WoM has been defined as “any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual or
former customers about a product or company that is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the internet” (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004).

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