Dr. Mark Elsner (University of Cologne):
"The impact of online review content on sales"
Wednesday, March 18, 02:00pm - 04:00pm (WiSo Building, Room 410)
It is well established that online consumer reviews have emerged into a robust influence on purchase behavior. Prior research has mainly focused on different aspects of star ratings (e.g. average rating, dispersion, share of five star ratings vs. one star ratings, etc.). While these heuristic cues are important drivers of purchase behavior, we develop an extended framework based on the dual-process theory. In our study we thus argue that heuristic numerical cues as well as systematically processed content affect the purchase decision. In particular, we model the effect of star ratings as well as the informative and persuasive elements of the written reviews, operationalized through the linguistic style of the content. We test our conceptual framework with a panel dataset containing more than 1,000 consumer electronics products with over 90,000 reviews in total. The empirical evidence supports our hypotheses that numerical cues as well as informative and persuasive elements of reviews affect sales.