Date of Degree

9-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Business

Advisor

Raquel Benbunan-Fich

Committee Members

Nanda Kumar

Lauren Block

Kevin Craig

Subject Categories

Management Information Systems | Marketing | Technology and Innovation

Keywords

information presentation format, online reviews, consumer decision-making, video reviews

Abstract

Online reviews have garnered considerable attention, especially in recent years, from scholars in various domains (such as information systems and marketing) seeking to understand their role in purchase decision-making. With the growing popularity of online review videos, however, understanding the role of information presentation format in online decision-making becomes crucial. While prior research has explored how presentation formats affect users’ perceptions differently, the extent of these differences and their implications in purchase decision-making stages are not yet fully understood. Specifically, this dissertation work examines the role of presentation format of online reviews in two decision-making stages: 1) choice-reduction stage, which involves shortlisting a large number of alternatives and 2) choice-selection stage, which involves choosing one from fewer alternatives. This work not only examines whether one presentation format may be more suitable than the other but also considers the fit between the presentation format and the decision-making stage, and the role of type of good under consideration. By introducing the novel concept of format-stage fit, I examine the differential impact of reviews’ presentation formats on consumers perceptions when the consumers are in different decision stages of an online purchase. The theoretical foundation of the research model is based on vividness, information foraging, and cognitive-fit theories. The research model is tested empirically with a set of complementary factorial survey-based studies. The findings indicate that video-based reviews are perceived as higher quality and more useful for decision-making. However, simply having more video-based reviews may not improve decision performance and instead video-based reviews must be used in the right stage as indicated by format-stage fit. In other words, text-based reviews may be a better fit in choice-reduction stage whereas a video-based reviews may be a better fit in choice-selection stage. Also, because of their higher experiential attributes, experience goods (e.g., smartphone covers) are more likely to exhibit these effects as compared with search goods (e.g., digital cameras). These findings enhance our understanding of information presentation and decision making in online commerce, spur new avenues of research in IS, marketing and other related domains and have implications for the online retailers, system designers and managers.

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