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Taking a deeper look at online reviews: The asymmetric effect of valence intensity on shopping behaviour

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This study tests the asymmetric effect of user-generated, open-ended online reviews on online shopping behaviour (intention-to-buy, intention-to-recommend, and willingness-to-pay). Three online experiments involving manipulating the valence intensity of online reviews for hotels, books, and running shoes (overall customer sample of n = 818) provide empirical support for the proposed relationship. The valence intensity of online reviews moderates the effect of online reviews on purchase intentions. In other words, a significant change in online shopping behaviour was found for positive medium and strong reviews but not for negative ones. Based on these findings, managers should encourage customers to share their positive consumption-related experiences by offering strong arguments that will convince other customers.

Keywords: electronic word of mouth; online experiment; online reviews; valence intensity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Surrey Business School, UK 2: Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism, University of Innsbruck, Austria, 3: WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), Austria,

Publication date: 2013-04-01

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