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“Is sharing really caring?”: The impact of eWoM on halal tolerance among Malay Muslim consumers

Wan Rusni Wan Ismail ( Halal Products Research Institute , Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia and Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA , Penang, Malaysia)
Mohhidin Othman (Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia and Department of Food Service and Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia)
Russly Abdul Rahman (Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia and Department of Food Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia)
Nitty Hirawaty Kamarulzaman (Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia and Department of Agribusiness and Information Systems, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia)
Suhaimi Bin Ab Rahman (Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia and Department of Management and Marketing, Universiti Putra Malaysia , Serdang, Malaysia)

Journal of Islamic Marketing

ISSN: 1759-0833

Article publication date: 9 November 2018

Issue publication date: 6 June 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extent and the impact of negative electronic word of mouth (eWoM) on Muslim consumers’ tolerance and to look for evidence on whether it can pose threat to high-tolerance products and cause spillover effect on products in similar category.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used a qualitative method with purposive sampling, and data were collected from 23 Malay Muslim consumers using in-depth interviews.

Findings

Findings from this study clearly showed that consumers’ perception toward effected products can easily be distorted with negative claim which indicates that halal issues are very sensitive to Muslim consumers. The negative eWoM distorts consumers’ perception toward effected product and the effect was also found to escalate into other brands that share similar category as the effected products.

Practical implications

By examining the negative impact of eWoM, it validates the severe impact it has on Muslim consumers, and it is quite obvious that no products are really safe from it, including high-tolerance products. Evidence from this study revealed the importance and the urgency for organizations to handle any rumors immediately because further delay can result from significant loses in sales and can tarnish the brand image.

Originality/value

Negative claims related to the halal product status often sparks negative reactions, especially among Muslim consumers, and despite frequent occurrence of such event, very little information is available on its impact on consumers’ tolerance. Certain products fall under safe product category, or high-tolerance products are also found to be vulnerable to negative impact of eWoM because once the consumers’ trust is shaken, confidence will be replaced by doubt, which often leads to loss of sales and loyalty. It is commonly known that effected products and brand will suffer from this event; however, spillover effect is another side effect of negative eWoM that is not yet highlighted in previous studies.

Keywords

Citation

Wan Ismail, W.R., Othman, M., Abdul Rahman, R., Kamarulzaman, N.H. and Ab Rahman, S.B. (2019), "“Is sharing really caring?”: The impact of eWoM on halal tolerance among Malay Muslim consumers", Journal of Islamic Marketing, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 394-409. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIMA-04-2016-0035

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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