The Influence of Online Product Recommendations on Consumers' Online Choices

9028 Words37 Pages
Journal of Retailing 80 (2004) 159–169

The influence of online product recommendations on consumers’ online choices
Sylvain Senecal a,∗ , Jacques Nantel a,1 a HEC Montreal, University of Montreal, 3000 Chemin de la Cote-Sainte-Catherine, Montreal, Que., Canada H3T 2A7

Abstract This study investigates consumers’ usage of online recommendation sources and their influence on online product choices. A 3 (websites) × 4 (recommendation sources) × 2 (products) online experiment was conducted with 487 subjects. Results indicate that subjects who consulted product recommendations selected recommended products twice as often as subjects who did not consult recommendations. The online recommendation source labeled “recommender system,”
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In an effort to extend Andreasen’s (1968) typology to computer-mediated environments, we assert that information sources can be sorted into one of four groups: (1) Personal source providing personalized information (e.g., “My sister says that this product is best for me.”); (2) Personal source providing non-personalized information (e.g., “A renowned expert says that this product is the best.”); (3) Impersonal source providing personalized information (e.g., “Based on my profile, the recommender system suggests this product.”); (4) Impersonal source providing non-personalized information (e.g., “According to Consumer Reports, this is the best product on the market.”). In consumer research, studies on personal influence, social influence, or WOM, can be categorized as studies investigating personal sources providing personalized or non-personalized information. Furthermore, studies dealing with reference groups encompass such sources as well as impersonal sources that provide non-personalized information. Thus, a new area has emerged in consumer research, arising mainly from information technologies such as the Internet: that of impersonal sources that provide personalized information (Alba et al., 1997; Ansari et al., 2000; Häubl & Trifts, 2000; Maes, 1999; Urban, Sultan, & Qualls, 1999; West et
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