“Strange Impact” – Online Shopping? What you need to know about user reviews

An initial review of a product can have a profound effect on the future of the product – it can even lead to product failure. Credit: Shannon Alexander / University of Florida

Strange Effects of the First Consumer Review

If you want to buy something online and only get negative customer feedback, you will reconsider your purchase, right? It turns out that the first review of the product can have a significant impact on the future of the product – it can even lead to product failure.

Buyers, retailers and manufacturers are also feeling the effects of customer feedback. Researchers University of FloridaWarrington Business College said it looked at the impact of the first study after seeing the same products get positive reviews on one retail website and negative reviews on others at Sungsik Park UF, which is researching the phenomenon as a doctoral student.

“Why does a product get a 4.7 star rating on 100 views on Amazon, but a two-star rating with Walmart or BestBuy gets only four or five reviews?” The park wondered.

To learn this, Park – now an associate professor at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina – met with UF professors Jinhong Xie and Ph.D. Woochoel met with Shin to analyze what would happen. causes change. By comparing the same vacuum cleaners, toasters and digital cameras on Amazon and Best Buy, they were able to distinguish the first study as the product progresses. They showed that the first review could affect the overall analysis of a product for up to three years, and that it affected the amount and tone of subsequent reviews.

“The first review has the potential to drive the entire evolutionary path of online consumer views,” Shin said.

How can a review have such a lasting impact? When the first review on the retailer’s website was positive, the product generally garnered more reviews and was more likely to be positive. When a product went through a negative first review, fewer people were willing to give it a chance to get it, so there was less opportunity to get positive feedback, and it stayed longer than the first unhappy customer.

“It makes sense after thinking about how user feedback is generated,” Park said.

The findings were published in the journal Marketing science, suggest that retailers and manufacturers take steps to detect negative first impressions and reduce their impact.

Xie explained that companies generally follow their online views and evaluate their strategies accordingly. “However, they do this not by focusing on a single rating, but on an average rating, and when there is enough time for the product to be evaluated by consumers. Our research suggests that companies pay attention to a particular point of view (ie, the first) at the time of placement. ”

On the other hand, consumers may want to check the review of multiple sites before excluding a product. If you look at several sites to compare prices, Park also offers a comparison shopping review. (For large ticket items, the Park also checks for third-party views, such as Consumer Reports.)

Because shoppers find user reviews more credible than ads, it’s important to understand the factors that can distort these rankings.

“We want consumers to know that this information can be easily distorted,” Park said.

Reference: “Fateful First Consumer Review” by Sungsik Park, Woochoel Shin and Jinhong Xie, February 3, 2021, Marketing science.
DOI: 10.1287 / mksc.2020.1264

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