The Impact of Online Q&As on Product Sales: The Case of Amazon Answer

Information Systems Research (Forthcoming)

65 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2016 Last revised: 20 Mar 2023

See all articles by Warut Khern-am-nuai

Warut Khern-am-nuai

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management

Hossein Ghasemkhani

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Dandan Qiao

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Karthik Natarajan Kannan

Purdue University

Date Written: March 18, 2023

Abstract

This paper uses data from two online shopping platforms to investigate the impact of questions and answers on product sales. This research problem is important as online marketplaces are increasingly incorporating the questioning and answering capability. Yet, the economic implications of the Q&A capabilities have not been discussed in the previous literature. We employ the difference-in-differences approach to empirically examine the effect of questions and answers, which exist on only one platform, on sales of experience goods. Interestingly, we find that answers, particularly the depth of the answers, have a positive impact on sales. In addition, the fraction of questions with at least one answer has a positive and significant impact on product sales as well. Our further analyses on textual content provide additional insights that the impact of questions is different between fit-oriented questions and quality-oriented questions, and the impact of answers is different between positive answers and negative answers. Our findings suggest that platform sellers should be prudent when their products receive questions since answered questions increase product sales.

Keywords: online platform, user-generated content, questions, answers

Suggested Citation

Khern-am-nuai, Warut and Ghasemkhani, Hossein and Qiao, Dandan and Kannan, Karthik Natarajan, The Impact of Online Q&As on Product Sales: The Case of Amazon Answer (March 18, 2023). Information Systems Research (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2794149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2794149

Warut Khern-am-nuai (Contact Author)

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1G5 H3A 2M1
Canada

Hossein Ghasemkhani

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

Dandan Qiao

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

13 computing drive
Singapore, 117591
Singapore

Karthik Natarajan Kannan

Purdue University ( email )

Krannert School of Management
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

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