Online C2C communication VS purchase behavior


Have you ever discussed products online with other customers? Nowadays, a lot of platforms and forums provide the opportunity to share your opinion and experiences with others. According to the article ‘The influence of C2C communications in online brand communities on customer purchase behavior’, several aspects of this C2C communication influence our buyer behavior.

Key take-aways of the article
After measuring effects from three different information sources, namely a netnography, a survey and objective data, the research showed some interesting findings on the influence of C2C communication on purchasing behavior. First of all, communication quality seems to reduce product uncertainty, which increases sales with more depth and breadth of purchases. The communication setting (platform of company or independent) does not have a significant impact, against the expectation of the researchers. Also, C2C communication is found to be more valuable in case of complex products. It is interesting to mention that personal expertise is related to more activity on the platforms. Lastly, respondents expertise increases the power of C2C communication.

Theoretical Insights
One theoretical aspect that I find very interesting on this research, is related to the test group. As mentioned in the article, the test group consists mostly out of men, so very few people were women. In the concluding part of the article, it is discussed that the researchers assume that a balanced test group would not have any impact. However, I believe that the results might be very sensitive for differing behavior among sexes. After all, women might be more or less sensitive for other person’s opinion on certain product categories.

Another theoretical thing that I find interesting, is the expectation of expert people to be less influenced by the opinion of others on platforms. In contrast, I would naturally assume that experts are even more eager on reading the experiences of the newest products and features from other experts. Also, I can imagine that these people like to discuss certain topics actively on C2C platforms, just like the research points out eventually.

Practical Insights
Based on the research and results. I got interested in the practical implementation of C2C communication in order to increase sales and build a good customer relationship. Since the communication setting does not make significant sense, it is possible for companies to create an environment in which C2C communication is stimulated. Also, monitoring of social media gives great insight in the way a company should adapt to customer needs and shows the interaction between companies (Beard, 2013). I think a platform on which companies can discuss products together (more elaborate and interactive than reviews) would be a good solution. Also, I believe in the impact of C2C communication in the social setting. Therefore, I am interested in the influence of responses of friends and relatives compared to the impact of recommendations of unknown experts.

References
Adjei, T., Noble, S., Noble, C. (2010) ‘ The influence of C2C communications in online brand communities on customer purchase behavior’,Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 38:634–653.

Beard, R. (2013) Customer Feedback: 19 strategies to get more feedback, Client Heartbeat, available at: http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-feedback,  accessed on February 26th.

Butson, I. (2014) Timely’s Social Series: Understanding your customers (even if you’re already talking), (image), available at: http://blog.gettimely.com/understanding-your-customers-even-if-youre-already-talking/, accessed on February 26th.

 

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