The goal of this study is to get a better understanding of the relationship between online customer re-views (OCRs), product returns and sales after returns in online fashion. Furthermore, we generate deeper insights about the moderating role of mobile shopping usage, product involvement and brand equity in this context. We answer our research questions by empirically analyzing a unique data set from a European fashion e-commerce company. This study links a wide range of transaction data (2.5 billion page clicks, 46 thousand different products, 700 brands, 40 product categories, 72 million sold and 33 million returned items) with a large set of OCRs (0.9 million). Our results show that positive OCRs can lead to lower return rates, higher sales after returns, and better conversion rates. Consider-ing higher search costs on mobile devices, we reveal a weaker impact of OCRs in the mobile than in the desktop sales channel. Furthermore, in line with involvement theory, we see a significant impact of product involvement in this context such as the influence of positive OCRs is stronger for high-involvement products than vice versa. Moreover, we find support for statements from brand signaling literature, that OCRs matter more for weak than for strong brands.
Lohse, Tobias; Kemper, Jan; and Brettel, Malte, (2017). "HOW ONLINE CUSTOMER REVIEWS AFFECT SALES AND RETURN BEHAVIOR – AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS IN FASHION E-COMMERCE". In Proceedings of the 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Guimarães, Portugal, June 5-10, 2017 (pp. 2635-2644). ISBN 978-0-9915567-0-0 Research-in-Progress Papers.