This study investigates whether the accessibility of consumer reviews matters for consumers’ purchase decisions. Current research does not provide guidance on how to access consumer reviews to improve consumers’ decision-making. Moreover, there is no consensus on the actual implementation of the access (i.e., immediate access or explicit access by clicking) to consumer reviews on existing online shopping websites. Building on the anchoring-and-adjustment model of belief updating and using an experimental approach, we find that requiring participants to explicitly access consumer reviews (by clicking on a button) significantly improves their purchase decisions: When choosing between products of different quality, they better align their perceived product values with the actual product quality. As a result, they are more likely to purchase the high-quality product. These findings provide important insights for e-commerce retailers and policy makers, as they offer guidance on how consumer reviews should be accessible to support consumers’ decision-making.

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Track 9: Human Computer Interaction & Social Online Behavior