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Customer reviews boost online shopping, UB study finds

By KEVIN MANNE

Published May 26, 2015

“Shoppers trust other shoppers. When companies give their customers a voice, it’s a plus for both sides.”
Lawrence Sanders, professor
School of Management

Shopping websites with robust, interactive product-review systems make customers more satisfied and improve product marketing, according to a new study from the School of Management.

Forthcoming in Information & Management, the study found that e-commerce websites that provide buyers with advanced product-review features like images and videos improve customer satisfaction and their perceptions about the quality of the site.

“Shoppers trust other shoppers,” says study co-author Lawrence Sanders, professor of management science and systems. “When companies give their customers a voice, it’s a plus for both sides.”

According to the study, 80 percent of potential online consumers who plan to purchase a product turn to online consumer reviews before they make a decision.

“Consumer-review systems allow customers to make informed decisions,” says Sanders. “Retailers should create sites that give customers the tools to create reviews in a variety of ways and allow for quick, accurate responses to customer requests.”

The researchers surveyed 313 consumers in Seoul, South Korea, to understand their thought processes and behaviors on e-commerce websites. They chose South Korea because the environment is a good representation of general online consumer behavior and because online marketplaces have well-built review systems featuring advanced functionality.

Further research should focus on the effect of review systems on different types of goods and on individual characteristics, purchasing motives and transaction experiences, Sanders says.

He collaborated on the project with Yong Jin Kim, professor of management information systems at the Sogang University Business School, and Chul Woo Yoo, assistant professor of information technology and operations management at the Florida Atlantic University College of Business.