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Influence of aggregated ratings on purchase decisions: an event-related potential study

Yongchao Shen (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China)
Wei Shan (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China)
Jing Luan (School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, Beijing, China)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 31 January 2018

Issue publication date: 20 February 2018

1487

Abstract

Purpose

In an online shopping environment, individual reviews and aggregated ratings are important anchors for consumers’ purchasing decisions. However, few studies have considered the influence of aggregated ratings on consumer decision-making, especially at the neural level. This study aims to bridge this gap by investigating the consumer decision-making mechanism based on aggregated ratings to uncover the underlying neural basis and psychological processing.

Design/methodology/approach

An event-related potential experiment was designed to acquire consumers’ electrophysiological records and behavioral data during their decision-making processes based on aggregated ratings. The authors speculate that during this process, review valence categorization (RVC) processing occurs, which is indicated by late positive potential (LPP) components.

Findings

Results show that LPP components were elicited successfully, and perceptual review valence can modulate its amplitudes (one-star [negative] and five-star [positive] ratings evoke larger LPP amplitudes than three-star [neutral] ratings). The electroencephalogram data indicate that consumer decision-making processes based on aggregated ratings include an RVC process, and behavioral data show that easier review valence perception makes the purchase decision-making easier.

Originality/value

This study enriches the extant literature on the impact of aggregated ratings on consumer decision-making. It helps understand how aggregated ratings affect consumers’ online shopping decisions, having significant management implications. Moreover, it shows that LPP components can be potentially used by researchers and companies to evaluate and analyze consumer emotion and categorization processing, serving as an important objective physiological indicator of consumer behavior.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section on Neuromarketing.

The authors are very grateful for the insightful comments and suggestions of the anonymous reviewers and the editor, which have helped to significantly improve this article. Furthermore, this work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71371025), the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (No. 9182010), and the Aeronautical Science Fund (No. 2016ZG51058).

Citation

Shen, Y., Shan, W. and Luan, J. (2018), "Influence of aggregated ratings on purchase decisions: an event-related potential study", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52 No. 1/2, pp. 147-158. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-12-2016-0871

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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