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Not so positive, please! Effects of online consumer reviews on evaluations during the decision-making process

Blanca Hernandez-Ortega (Department of Marketing, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Publication date: 5 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the effect of positive online consumer reviews (OCRs) on changes in the individual’s evaluations from the pre-purchase to the post-consumption stage, studying satisfaction, attitude towards the firm and purchase intention. The effect of positive OCRs may differ depending on whether the product performance is high or low, i.e., whether the product meets the objectives of the consumer. So, the paper also explores different effects that positive OCRs can have on changes in the individual’s evaluations depending on the kind of performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies based on the experimental methodology are carried out and several statistical techniques are applied: confirmatory factorial analysis, mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance and post-hoc analysis.

Findings

Results demonstrate that the effect of positive OCRs continues after consumption. Depending on the performance, this effect can be positive (negative) and verify (contrast with) the individual’s pre-purchase evaluations. Moreover, this effect is always more intense when the performance is low.

Originality/value

It explores the changes in the individual’s evaluations about the product and the firm, going beyond the immediate effect of positive OCRs. It also explains the effects of positive OCRs for high and low performance. Finally, it demonstrates that OCR effects are not symmetrical for high and low performance.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful for the financial support of the Government of Aragon and the European Social Fund (“GENERES” Group S-09) and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and FEDER (project ECO2015-64567-R). The author also appreciates the valuable comments and suggestions made by the editor and the reviewers throughout the review process.

Citation

Hernandez-Ortega, B. (2019), "Not so positive, please! Effects of online consumer reviews on evaluations during the decision-making process", Internet Research, Vol. 29 No. 4, pp. 606-637. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2017-0257

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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