|M.Sc Student||Rekhter Leah|
|Subject||The Role of Source Similarity and Source Expertise on|
Attitude towards Experience versus Search Goods
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Dr. Sarit Moldovan|
|Full Thesis text|
The online retail industry is rapidly expanding worldwide and as more consumers are purchasing products online, they are forced to rely on the reviews written by complete strangers regarding various aspects of the products. As a result, it is important to understand the effects of these reviews and how helpful reviews are considered. Previous literature has found that source similarity has a significant influence over WOM marketing. An additional characteristic, source expertise, has been found to have conflicting influences. While these two traits have been studied in many contexts, this research evaluates the influence of these two characteristics according to product type: search versus experience goods (Nelson, 1970). Our findings illustrate that in general reviews for search goods are more influential than reviews for experience goods. We also found a clear trend that reviews written by sources who are demographically similar to the seeker positively influence the purchase intention for search goods. In contrast, whether a source is demographical similar or dissimilar does not appear to alter the influence of the review for experience goods. These results can be implemented into design of online retailer web pages in order to optimize potential helpfulness of reviews published.