Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Credence Goods and Online Product Reviews: An Exploration of the Product Type Concept in the Social Commerce Era

Muntermann, Jan
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2013

Social commerce has shown significant growth in recent years. Today, consumers share their opinions and experiences about a wide range of services and products online in order to reduce their information search costs. In the related literature building upon the product type concept, the traditional distinction between search goods and experience goods seems to be taken for granted. However, credence goods, i.e. products for which qualities cannot be easily evaluated even after purchase, have not been taken into account yet although online product reviews are especially important in this context. Thus, we present an empirical analysis of product reviews collected from amazon.com to extend the knowledge about the product type concept and conduct a content analysis of reviews discussing credence goods. We find that these differ regarding product evaluations, statements about product quality and expressed feelings of need. Implications are drawn for both theory and practice.