How Online Consumer Reviews Influence Purchase Intention in Virtual Communities?

How Online Consumer Reviews Influence Purchase Intention in Virtual Communities?

Yi-Fen Chen (Department of International Business, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung Li, Taiwan), Chia-Wen Tsai (Department of Information Management, Ming Chuan University, Taoyuan, Taiwan) and Shih-Mei Hsu (Department of International Business, Chung Yuan Christian University, Chung Li, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/ijide.2014070104
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Abstract

With the growing availability and popularity of Web-based opinion platforms, online product reviews are now an emerging market phenomenon that is playing an important role in consumer purchasing decisions. This study investigates the influence of electronic Word-of-Mouth (eWOM) on purchase intention in the virtual community. The authors conducted a 2x2x2x2 online experiment involving 261 subjects. The experiment results demonstrate that message number and positive messages in the virtual community can influence consumer purchase intention. Product price and the involvement moderate the effects of eWOM on purchase intention. However, negative messages are negatively related to purchase intentions. This finding offers potential for finding better ways for sellers or managers in a virtual community. Finally, the conclusion presents implications, limitations, and directions for future research.
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Literature Review

Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-Mouth (WOM) is oral person-to-person communication between an information receiver and a sender, who exchange the experiences of a brand, a product or a service based on a non-commercial purpose (Arndt, 1967). This means that communication serves as a crucial influencing role on consumer behaviors, such as buying, switching and diffusing (Coleman, et al., 1966; Arndt, 1967).

In the era of information, the Internet provides human beings with a new way of communication, which is more efficient and effective. Word of mouth may be in electronic form, diffused via the Internet (Barbagallo, et al., 2012). An information sender is able to communicate not only with family, friends and acquaintances, but also with anyone who may be unknown to the sender but has some interest in the information (Goyette, et al., 2010). This is true also for an information receiver, who is able to obtain information from anyone on the Internet. Thus, word of mouth on the Internet influences the information receivers more quickly, broadly, widely, significantly and without any geographic limitation (Gelb & Sundaram, 2002).

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