What Happens When a Retailer Displays Both the Number of Reviews and the Number of Sales?
46 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 18, 2020
The importance of online reviews continues to grow for both retailers and consumers. Typically, online reviews are summarised in terms of an average review score and the number of reviews. However, some retailers choose to additionally reveal information about the number of product or service sales. The current research investigated how consumer were influenced by this additional information – in particular, the ratio between the number of reviews and number of sales. As part of the investigation, we distinguish between two forms of product popularity: “purchase popularity”, which relates to how often people are buying the product, and “word-of-mouth” (WoM) popularity, which relates to how often people are talking about the product. Across three online experiments, we found s a positive association between both types of popularity and purchase intentions. Factors influencing perceptions of purchase popularity were the number of sales, number of reviews, average product rating, and time the product had been on the market. Factors influencing perceptions of WoM popularity were the number of reviews, average product rating, and the ratio between the number of reviews and number of sales (the “reviewer percentage”). In light of these findings, retailers could strategically present review profile information such as the “reviewer percentage” contingent on the product’s review profile.
Keywords: Word of mouth; online reviews; review volume; sales volume; product popularity
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