Motivations and Outcomes of Seeking Online Consumer Reviews: A Literature Synthesis
Online consumer reviews (OCRs) have shown to significantly impact consumer behavior. Considerable research has been conducted to understand the OCR phenomenon, particularly around what motivates people to post OCRs. However, similar consolidation of insights from OCR readers perspective is missing. What motivates people to seek OCRs? Why are certain OCRs more persuasive? How do readers discern the credibility of OCRs? How do firms benefit from OCR-seeking? This article addresses these and related questions, and cohesively integrates various research perspectives on motivations to read OCRs. The article also presents interesting differences between motivations to provide vis-à-vis seek OCRs. While the reasons for providing OCRs are driven by psychological and social factors, OCR-seeking is primarily outcome-focused. From a consumer perspective, OCR-seeking results in psychological and behavioural outcomes like decision-making, attitude formation, purchase intention, price/value perception, trust, risk reduction, and loyalty, among others; whereas the outcomes on firms, although indirect, is considerable, in the form of economic (profitability, sales rank, value) and brand equity-related effects (awareness, loyalty). This article also reviews the role of key contextual factors (i.e., message characteristics, reviewer characteristics, and receiver characteristics) that moderate the influence. Finally, this assimilation leads to the identification of fruitful areas for future research.
Keywords: Online consumer reviews; antecedents and consequences; review-receiver; persuasion; consumer decision-making; literature synthesis
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