Zhang et al. (2013) The Impact of Online User Reviews on Camera Sales. European Journal of Marketing
The abstract of this paper includes the following:
- Practical implications. This research indicates that the retailers should provide channels for and encourage customer online reviews for search goods to improve sales. It is also beneficial for online retailers to provide detailed product attributes to help their customers make the purchase decision. Carefully designed and executed price promotions could also be effective ways to improve sales of searchable goods.
- Originality/value. This study is one of the first attempts to investigate the impact of online user reviews on sales of search goods.
Now, I do not doubt or question the integrity of this article's authors [or, indeed, that of any academic researcher], but - in my non-academic-research opinion - Amazon and a thousand other online retailers knew the first element of the practical implications back in the last century [I certainly did] and, by definition, a search good is a product that is easily appraised before purchase and so is subject to price competition - and so nothing new there.
As for the originality/value, Amazon - and its contemporaries - will have been, and are still, running real-time research on the impact of online user reviews on sales of search goods, again since the last century. This might have been one of the first academic studies of its kind [I have often come across references to an article by Godes and Mayzlin published in 2004 as 'the first researchers to investigate the impact of the online review'] - but it does not tell us practitioners anything we hadn't known for nigh on ten years.
This page was first published in February 2018 ... but it may also have been updated or amended since then.
Some of the content is drawn from my books, other pages on my websites or my public rants on the subject.