The moderating role of situational context in the effects of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) on online purchase intention through brand image has found sparse empirical support. This study thus aims to examine whether situational context affects the direction and strength of the relationships between aspects of eWOM and brand image that lead to online purchase intention.
To extend the existing research, the authors tested the model using a sample of 546 online shoppers during the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Ho Chi Minh City. Specifically, the testing of the direct relationships and the mediating role of brand image occurred using measurement and structural models. The authors then created a moderated mediation model to examine the moderating role of situational context. Furthermore, the authors probed the interactions by identifying changes in the relationships from eWOM to online purchase intention through a brand image at different levels of situational context.
Without situational context’s moderating effect, brand image positively partially mediated the influence of either eWOM credibility or quantity on intention. Situational context’s moderating effect then explains why high- versus low-level disease-avoidance customers seek less eWOM credibility and more eWOM quantity to develop brand images and shape their intentions.
The findings have theoretical implications for understanding the pressure of disease avoidance on customers’ online purchase intentions. Among the practical implications of the research are tactics for profit and non-profit purposes.
Hoang, L.N. and Tung, L.T. (2022), "A moderated mediation model of situational context and brand image for online purchases using eWOM", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-02-2022-3857
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