Online reviews play an important role in consumer purchase decisions and have received much research attention. However, previous research has typically examined the effects of online review characteristics independent of firm marketing messages. We argue that how much average review rating influences consumers’ decisions depends on the presence of a scarcity appeal and its congruence with review volume information. Through a lab experiment and analyses of real-world data from Amazon.com, we show that claiming a product to have limited supply moves consumers toward more heuristic processing but only when review volume is consistent with the scarcity information. In contrast, when review volume is incongruent with the supply-based scarcity message, the incongruence prompts consumers to process information more carefully and reduces their reliance on review valence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Business and International Management
- Economics and Econometrics