Online retailers provide review systems to consumers in order to improve perceived trustworthiness and boost sales. We examine the effects of review valence and valence intensity on consumer purchase intention. Review adoption emerges as a novel, important moderating variable. We find that positive reviews have a stronger effect on consumer purchase intention than negative reviews. Moderate reviews always lead to higher purchase intention than extreme reviews, but the size of the effect is greater for extremely negative reviews than moderately negative reviews. The effect is reversed for positive reviews. Our results imply that a recent innovation in Amazon’s review system, highlighting negative reviews along with positive spotlight reviews, must be designed carefully to avoid losing customers. Choosing the wrong combination of reviews can diminish the positive effect of spotlight reviews on sales by nearly 20%.
Ivanova, Olga; Scholz, Michael; and Dorner, Verena, "Does Amazon Scare Off Customers? The Effect of Negative Spotlight Reviews on Purchase Intention" (2013). Wirtschaftsinformatik Proceedings 2013. 2.