The perceived credibility of electronic word-of-mouth communicaton on e-commerce platforms

Bosman, Dirk Johannes (2012-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Enterprises and more specifically, marketing departments, function in a complex global market, while trying to deliver products and services to satisfy the needs of consumers. It is estimated that by 2013, enterprises will be spending $4.75 trillion and consumers $330 billion by means of commercial transactions over the Internet, and that by 2050 most transactions – if not all transactions – will be e-commerce based (Laudon and Traver, 2010:1-7). The 24-hour access to a global network of markets has brought about two major challenges for most enterprises. Firstly, the Internet as a publishing platform has exponentially increased the creation and sharing of information, which has significantly increased consumers’ search cost; and secondly, as more electronic word-of-mouth (EWOM) is being generated online, a significant amount of power and influence over enterprises has shifted to consumers (Chen, Wu and Yoon, 2004:716-722; Tapscott and Williams, 2008:52-53). Ultimately, enterprises are challenged to harness the power of EWOM for more successful e-commerce strategies and increased market share. Given previous studies, it was possible to extend the theoretical framework of EWOM communication in the fields of Internet marketing and online consumer behaviour. The purpose of this study was to create two models that could measure, over time, the impact of EWOM review communication on an e-commerce platform, specifically with regard to review credibility and sales levels. In using a non-probability judgement sampling procedure, it emerged that EWOM reviews do indeed influence the sales levels of e-commerce platform Amazon.com, and that certain review factors (platform, text length, time and star ratings) significantly influenced the credibility of Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com reviews. Furthermore, it was concluded that the overall credibility of reviews increases over time as more and more online users have the ability to scrutinise it. When Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com’s reviews were compared to each other, the results indicated that Amazon.com had more reviews than Barnesandnoble.com, and that the reviews posted at Amazon.com had on average longer text lengths and were found to be more helpful than the reviews at Barnesandnoble.com. The study's major contribution is that it provides wide-ranging guidelines for usability and user experience design, sales and inventory forecasting, as well as benchmark statistics for marketing campaigns.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ondernemings, en in die besonder bemarkingsafdelings, funksioneer in ‘n komplekse globale mark, in hulle strewe om voortdurend produkte en dienste te lewer wat voldoen aan verbruikersbehoeftes. Na raming sal ondernemings teen die jaar 2013 $4.75 triljoen en verbruikers $330 biljoen spandeer aan kommersiële transaksies oor die Internet, terwyl die meeste, indien nie alle transaksies, teen die jaar 2050 gebaseer gaan wees op e-handel (Laudon en Traver, 2010:1-7). Die 24-uur toegang tot ‘n globale netwerk van markte het twee hoofuitdagings vir die meeste ondernemings tot gevolg. In die eerste plek het die Internet as uitgewersplatform die skep en verspreiding van inligting eksponensieel laat toeneem, wat verbruikers se soekkoste noemenswaardig verhoog het; en tweedens, namate elektroniese hoorsê aanlyn gegenereer word, het ‘n beduidende hoeveelheid mag en invloed van ondernemings na die verbruiker verskuif (Chen, Wu en Yoon, 2004:716-722; Tapscott en Williams, 2008:52-53). Ondernemings word dus uitgedaag om die impak van elektroniese hoorsê (electronic word-of-mouth) te ontgin om meer suksesvolle e-handelstrategieë en verhoogde winste te verkry. In die lig van vorige studies was dit moontlik om die tradisionele teoretiese raamwerk van hoorsêkommunikasie uit te brei na die veld van Internet-bemarking en verbruikersgedrag. Die doel van hierdie studie was om twee modelle te ontwikkel wat, met verloop van tyd, die impak van elektroniese hoorsêkommunikasie op ‘n e-handelplatform kon meet, met spesifieke verwysing na resensiegeloofwaardigheid en verkoopsvlakke van boeke. Deur die gebruik van ‘n nie-waarskynlikheidsoordeel steekproefprosedure, het die studie bevind dat elektroniese hoorsêresensies inderdaad ‘n invloed het op die verkoopsvlakke van elektroniese e-handelplatforms en dat sekere resensiefaktore (platform, teks, lengte, tyd en stergradering) die geloofwaardigheid van elektroniese e-handelplatforms se resensies beduidend beïnvloed het. Verder is die gevolgtrekking gemaak dat die oorhoofse geloofwaardigheid van resensies toeneem namate al hoe meer aanlynverbruikers die vermoë het om dit onder oë te kry. In ‘n vergelyking tussen die resensies van twee e-handel platforms Amazon.com en Barnesandnoble.com, is bevind dat Amazon.com meer resensies as Barnesandnoble.com het, dat die resensies op Amazon.com gemiddeld langer tekste het, en ook meer behulpsaam uit ‘n verbruikersoogpunt is as die resensies op Barnesandnoble.com. Die hoofbydrae van hierdie studie is dat dit riglyne bied aan e-handelplatforms om hul kliënte se verbruikerservaring beter te verstaan, en om sodoende beter verkope- en voorraadvooruitskattings te kan maak. Verder bied die studie ook riglyne t.o.v. doeltreffende bemarkingsveldtogte vir e-handelplatforms.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71818
This item appears in the following collections: