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As online reviews increasingly become part of the purchasing process, it is important to understand which components of these reviews consumers consider most helpful in facilitating the purchase decision process. Online retailer and rating websites with more helpful reviews offer greater potential value to their consumers. Through two studies, we seek to identify and better understand what makes a helpful consumer review. After an open-ended analysis of the qualities of a review identified by subjects' as helpful, we conducted a controlled experiment that manipulated both the review content and the description of the reviewer. One key finding is that reviews written by a self-described expert are more helpful than those that are not. This information can provide guidance to online retailers and rating websites in their efforts to provide value to their customers.
Date of Conference: 4-7 Jan. 2011