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What is Consumer information

Encyclopedia of E-Business Development and Management in the Global Economy
the information needed by consumers when researching, purchasing, and completing a purchase. Examples of consumer information needs include: product attributes (e.g. specification, price, quality standards), expert and consumer opinions, and vendor reputation.
Published in Chapter:
Consumer Information Sharing
Jonathan Foster (University of Sheffield, UK) and Angela Lin (University of Sheffield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch066
One area of e-business that has visibly changed in the last few years is the capacity of the Internet for supporting consumer-to-consumer information sharing. By using a variety of social media software applications such as online reviews, blogs, social tagging, and wikis, consumers are increasingly able to generate and share content about the products and services that are available in the marketplace. Collectively the labor expended by consumers in generating such content is considerable, influencing other consumers’ perceptions of these products and services and informing their purchasing decisions. It has been estimated for example that more than 5 million customers have reviewed products on the site, with many more making purchasing decisions informed by reading such reviews (Amazon, 2008). According to the findings of a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey, consumer generated information sources such as product reviews and blogs are also considered equally as important as commercial information, e.g. manufacturers’ specifications, when making a purchasing decision (Horrigan, 2008). This article aims to provide an up-to-date review of the practice of consumer information sharing. First the different kinds of information sought by consumers are identified; second the social media software applications that consumers use to create, organize and share information with other consumers are discussed; and finally consideration is given to the marketing implications of consumer information sharing and how e-businesses can utilize social media for developing and managing relations with their customers.
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