Electronic Word-of-Mouth: Motives for and Consequences of Reading Customer Articulations on the Internet

Thorsten Hennig-Thurau and Gianfranco Walsh
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 8, Number 2, Winter 2003-4, pp. 51.

Abstract: The Internet makes it possible for consumers to obtain electronic word of mouth from other consumers. Customer comments articulated via the Internet are available to a vast number of other customers, and therefore can be expected to have a significant impact on the success of goods and services. This paper derives several motives that explain why customers retrieve other customers’ on-line articulations from Web-based consumer opinion platforms. The relevance of these motives and their impact on consumer buying and communication behavior are tested in a large-scale empirical study. The results illustrate that consumers read on-line articulations mainly to save decision-making time and make better buying decisions. Structural equation modeling shows that their motives for retrieving on-line articulations strongly influence their behavior.

Key Words and Phrases: Consumer opinion platforms, customer articulations on the Internet, electronic marketing, word of mouth.