Why do people fill in reviews on online platforms?


With the new Internet technologies, traditional word-of mouth communication has been extended to electronic media, such as online discussion forums, electronic bulletin board systems, newsgroups, blogs, review sites, and social networking sites. Everyone can share their opinion and experience related to products with complete strangers who are socially and geographically dispersed this new form of word of mouth, known as electronic word of mouth (eWOM). This research is about eWOM which has become an important factor in shaping consumer purchase behavior. In early research is found that information provided on consumer opinion sites is much more influential among consumers nowadays.

For instance, eMarketer revealed that 61% of consumers consulted online reviews, blogs and other kinds of online customer feedback before purchasing a new product or service. In addition, 80% of those who plan to make a purchase online will seek out online consumer reviews before making their purchase decision (Infogroup Inc, 2009). Some consumers even reported that they are willing to pay at least 20% more for services receiving an “Excellent”, or 5-star, rating than for the same service receiving a “Good”, or 4-star rating (Comscore Inc, 2007).

Cheung et al. (2012) stated that we do not fully understand why consumers spread positive eWOM in online consumer-opinion platforms. Among the few existing publications, eWOM behavior is primarily explained from individual rational perspective with the emphasis on cost and benefit. Consumer participation in online consumer-opinion platforms depends a lot on interactions with other consumers. But why do people participate and are what stimulates consumers eWOM intentions?

The following variables were defined in this research as influencers of consumers’ eWOM intentions: Reputation, Reciprocity, Sense of Belonging, Enjoyment of helping, Moral Obligation and Knowledge Self-Efficacy. To test their theoretical framework they conducted a research using a sample of online consumer-opinion platform users from OpenRice.com. In total they collected 203 usable questionnaires.

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After this study three variables were found significant: Reputation, Sense of belonging and Enjoyment of Helping. Sense of belonging had relatively the most impact on consumers’ eWOM intention. The result is consistent with previous eWOM marketing literature, where sense of belonging is an essential ingredient that creates loyalty and citizenship in a group. Also enjoyment of helping others is crucial in affecting consumers’ eWOM intention. Intentions to write about dining experiences in OpenRice.com demonstrate enjoyment of helping others. Consumers can benefit other community members through helping them with their purchasing decisions. Reputation is a small factor affecting consumers’ eWOM intention. This can be explained by some consumers want to be viewed as an expert by a large group of consumers.

The results of this research can be practical relevant in different ways. Online consumer-opinion platform could allow consumers to create their own personal profile to create a stronger sense of belonging to the group. Also platforms could apply reputation tracking mechanisms, so ‘’experts’’ can be found more easily. And last, the platform could provide a mechanism for contributors so readers can show their appreciation for the received reviews, like a chat.

References
– Cheung, C. M., & Lee, M. K. (2012). What drives consumers to spread electronic word of mouth in online consumer-opinion platforms. Decision Support Systems, 53(1), 218-225.

– ComScore Inc., Online consumer-generated reviews have significant impact on offline purchase, http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2007/11/Online_Consumer_Reviews_Impact_Offline_Purchasing_Behavior2007.

-eMarketer.com., Online review sway shoppers, http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=10064042008Last accessed.

– Marketingonline.nl, http://www.marketingonline.nl/nieuws/word-mouth-marketing-blijft-last-houden-van-roi-issues

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