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Negative eWOM and perceived credibility: a potent mix in consumer relationships

Ernest Emeka Izogo (Department of Marketing, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria) (University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Chanaka Jayawardhena (University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Heikki Karjaluoto (University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 4 October 2022

Issue publication date: 31 January 2023




Based on the foundations of the schema theory, the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) and customer experience literature, this research examines how the interplay between a consumer's previous shopping experience(s) and perceived credibility of negative online word-of-mouth (PCNWOM) leads to improved consumer–firm relationship quality (RQ).


The authors utilised series of scenario-based experiments (N = 918) to test the research hypotheses.


The authors show that a focal customer's previous shopping experiences attenuate the perceived credibility of negative word-of-mouth on social media by other customers, which in turn weakens consumer–firm RQ. The authors also show that positive and negative perceptual experiences are asymmetric.

Research limitations/implications

First, the online shopping experiences described in the experimental scenarios were generic and did not refer to any particular product/service. Thus, calibrating products and services into categories, and studying how product type differences impact online shopping experiences warrant further research.

Practical implications

From a practical perspective, the authors demonstrate that not only does enhancing consumer–firm relationship quality demand meticulous integration of consumers' website and social media experiences but also in positive vs negative perception scenarios, RQ wane as review frequency increases.


The authors contribute significant insight into the existing literature by specifically adopting the premise that consumers' previous online shopping experience(s) will influence how credibly they will perceive negative online WOM posted on social media.



Izogo, E.E., Jayawardhena, C. and Karjaluoto, H. (2023), "Negative eWOM and perceived credibility: a potent mix in consumer relationships", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 51 No. 2, pp. 149-169.



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