Shoppers' Intention to Provide Online Reviews: The Moderating Role of Consumer Involvement

Shoppers' Intention to Provide Online Reviews: The Moderating Role of Consumer Involvement

Sai Vijay Tata (Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, Ranchi, India), Sanjeev Prashar (Indian Institute of Management Raipur, Raipur, India) and Chandan Parsad (Rajagiri Business School, Kochi, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/JECO.2019070103
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With an increase in e-commerce activity, online reviews have become a pertinent source of information for shoppers. Existing research is limited to examining select predictors of shoppers' intention to write reviews; however, there exists a gap in deciphering the role of review involvement in intention to write reviews. The present study pertains to the influence of the usefulness of site and product, and shoppers' satisfaction, and also on the intention to write reviews online. Besides this, the article also explores the moderating role of review involvement on the relationship between shopper satisfaction and their intention to post reviews. The study reveals a few interesting and counter-intuitive findings that add to literature and practice in understanding online review posting behaviour. Theoretical and managerial implications based on the findings are also presented.
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The increased competitiveness and influence of globalization have driven organizations towards accepting and adopting e-commerce. Over the years, with the advancement of technology, online shoppers' initial concerns like payment security, transaction ease, user-friendly instructions, delivery assurance, etc. have been addressed to a large extent. Furthermore, the level of communication among the e-tailers and consumers has been on the rise, resulting in a significant number of people adopting e-commerce as a favorable shopping destination.

Even though the technological advancements have eased the process of online shopping, shoppers are still apprehensive about the quality of products available on the web portals. With the increase in online shopping, online consumer reviews have gained increased attention both from shoppers and retailers. During online shopping, consumers are devoid of any experience gained by sense organs (touch, smell, taste, etc.), which are otherwise available in traditional (offline) shopping (Laroche et al., 2005). Unable to assess and evaluate the product(s) physically before buying, online shoppers have innate questions related to products, attached commercial terms and conditions and post-sales services. To overcome this pre-purchase dissonance, customers look for reliable information and guidance, as well as evidence to compensate for the lack of experience with the product. Hence, shoppers seek leverages by networking not only with members of their existing community but also creating forums to connect with new friends online (Hung & Li, 2007; Niederhoffer et al., 2007). Members extensively use such panels for sharing their experiences with the products/services, which has led to an increase in online shoppers' dependence on user-generated content, popularly known as consumer reviews. Termed as a reputation system, Resnick et al. (2000, p. 46) defined these as “platform that collects, distributes, and aggregates feedback and comments about participants' past behavior.”

One of the many forms of online reputation systems, consumer reviews are an essential part of online shoppers' buying process and have been noted to influence their offline decisions as well (King et al., 2014; Xie et al., 2016). As per Resnick et al. (2000) these review systems play a decisive role in defining organizational success by helping online shoppers in making judgments about the sources to be trusted and providing incentives for candid behavior. Reviews available online facilitate shoppers in deciding whether to buy a product from a specific online retailer. For retail organizations (both online as well as offline), these reviews from existing consumers tend to offer the information about shoppers' needs and wants and help the firms in identifying the factors that have satisfied or dissatisfied the shoppers. Considering online review from shoppers as decision input, web-based retailers can bring prudence in their online product/ service portfolio, marketing-mix propositions and branding endeavor (Barton, 2006).

The literature in the field of marketing and consumer behavior has extensively deliberated on the importance of the information received by shoppers through interpersonal sources that have a significant impact on their decision-making process (Engel et al., 1969; Gilly et al., 1998; Goldsmith & Clark, 2008). With respect to online reviews, much of the research revolves around the effect of consumer reviews on product sales and pricing, trust, shoppers’ expectations, promotional activities, review helpfulness, adoption of reviews and product differentiation (Clemons et al., 2006; Dellarocas et al., 2007; Elwalda et al., 2016; Filieri & McLeay, 2014; Vijay et al., 2017a). The extant literature also discusses shoppers' motivation for providing online reviews like benefits (rewards and costs), self-enhancement, venting negative feelings, concerns for other shoppers, etc. (Fu et al., 2015; Picazo-Vela et al., 2010; Tong et al., 2007; Yoo & Gretzel, 2008).

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