How does the Web affect our dependence on different shopping information sources? We compared the perceived importance of four decision sources (self-evaluation, traditional word-of-mouth or WOM, electronic WOM or eWOM, and expert opinion) under three circumstances (one cannot use the Web, one can only use the Web, one can use both) for 6 different types of products (2 search, 2 experience, and 2 credence goods). The data collected from 549 consumers show that the importance of eWOM to consumer purchase decision-making is rather limited to credence goods despite the popularity of eWOM. In addition, Web access increases consumers’ confidence in self-evaluation over WOM for search goods. In contrast, the exclusive reliance on the Web does not increase the confidence in self-evaluation for experience and credence goods. Implications and future research agendas are discussed.
Nakayama, Makoto; Wan, Yun; and Sutcliffe, Norma, "WOM or eWOM or Something Else: How Does the Web Affect Our Dependence on Shopping Information Sources?" (2010). AMCIS 2010 Proceedings. 446.