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Electronic Markets





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The ability to exchange opinions and experiences online is known as online word of mouth (WOM) and has been shown in the literature to have the potential to impact e-commerce sales. The purpose of this paper is to expand previous findings by empirically evaluating the impact of online WOM attributes and other related factors (e.g. product views, promotion, and category) on e-commerce sales using real data from a multi-product retail e-commerce firm. Research has previously shown that the introduction of online WOM on a retail e-commerce site can positively impact product sales. We propose and validate a conceptual model of online WOM and its impact on product sales and the impact of moderator variables such as promotion, product category and product views. It is our conclusion that previous research on online WOM has been limited as our research empirically demonstrates the conclusion that it is the interaction of product category, volume and product views, and the interaction of product views and product category which are statistically significant in explaining changes in unit product sales. Pure increase in volume or number of reviewer comments has no significant effect on sales. These conclusions have critical implications for the practical use of online WOM in e-commerce and for internet marketing.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Electronic Markets on 20 May 2008, available online