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The impact of social media signals on supplier selection: insights from two experiments

Aneesh Banerjee (Cass Business School, University of London, London, UK)
Jörg M. Ries (Cass Business School, University of London, London, UK)
Caroline Wiertz (Cass Business School, University of London, London, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 2 March 2020

Issue publication date: 19 September 2020

1535

Abstract

Purpose

Online B2B markets offer buyers a new source of information provided by social media signals about suppliers. These signals have not yet received much attention in the supplier selection literature. This study advances our understanding of how buyers respond to social media signals in the supplier selection process.

Design/methodology/approach

We develop a choice-based conjoint experimental design to isolate and manipulate two signals from social media: volume (the number of ratings) and valence (average evaluation of the ratings). We test how these signals are interpreted in the context of varying deal sizes and price points.

Findings

Both volume and valence are positively correlated with supplier selection. However, (1) the signals exhibit diminishing returns and (2) the efficacy of valence is interpreted in the context of volume. We also find that (3) there is no influence of the deal size and that (4) the relationships between signals and supplier selection are negatively moderated by deviations from the reference price.

Research limitations/implications

Social media signals should be considered in supplier selection decisions as they convey valuable information to the buyer. However, signals go through a process of interpretation which has implications for buyers, suppliers, and owners of online B2B markets.

Originality/value

Our research opens new lines of inquiry in behavioural operations management research regarding the mechanisms by which buyers interpret social media signals and how these ultimately influence their choice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the participants at the IJOPM Special Issue workshop organized at the University of Liverpool, the editors of the special issue - especially Dr Lam, and the two anonymous reviewers who have helped in improving the manuscript.

Citation

Banerjee, A., Ries, J.M. and Wiertz, C. (2020), "The impact of social media signals on supplier selection: insights from two experiments", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 531-552. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-05-2019-0413

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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