Examining the influence of online reviews on consumers' decision-making : A heuristic-systematic model

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-89
Journal / PublicationDecision Support Systems
Online published23 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


Along with the growth of Internet and electronic commerce, online consumer reviews have become an important source of information that assists consumers to make purchase decision. However, theoretical development and empirical testing in this area of research are still limited, which greatly hinder us from understanding the influence of online reviews. Drawing upon the heuristic-systematic model from the literature of dual-process theories, we develop a research model to identify factors that are important to consumers' purchase decision-making. The model is empirically tested with 191 users of an existing online review site. We find that argument quality of online reviews (systematic factor), which is characterized by perceived informativeness and perceived persuasiveness, has a significant effect on consumers' purchase intention. In addition, we find that source credibility and perceived quantity of reviews (heuristic factors) have direct impacts on purchase intention. The two heuristic factors further demonstrate positive influences on argument strength. This result is consistent with the proposition of bias effect in the heuristic-systematic model, which elucidates the interrelationship between heuristic and systematic factors. Based on the findings, we discuss implications for both researchers and practitioners.

Research Area(s)

  • Consumer decision-making, Electronic word-of-mouth, Heuristic-systematic model, Online reviews