On the Spillover Effects of Online Product Reviews on Purchases: Evidence from Clickstream Data
60 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2016 Last revised: 16 Dec 2016
Date Written: October 25, 2016
We analyze the spillover effect of the online reviews of related products on the purchases of a focal product using clickstream data from a large retailer by investigating (a) whether the related, co-visited products are complementary or substitutive; (b) whether the related products are from the same or a different brand, and (c) the choice of media channel (mobile or PC) used. To identify complementary and substitutive products, we used a text-mining approach of topic modeling on the product descriptions to quantify the functional similarity of pairwise products. Our empirical analysis shows that the mean rating of the online reviews of substitutive products has a negative effect on the purchasing of the focal product, while the mean rating of complementary products has a positive effect. Moreover, we find that the negative spillover effect of the online reviews of substitutive products across different brands on the purchasing of a focal product is significantly higher than those of the same brand, and for consumers who viewed online product reviews on mobile devices versus traditional PCs. Our study has theoretical and managerial implications on leveraging the spillover effects of the online product reviews of related products on purchases.
Keywords: Online Product Reviews, Substitutive Products, Complementary Products, Brand Spillover, WOM Spillover, Topic Modeling
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