eWOM refers to any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customers about a product or company, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet. The vast increase in online shopping, combined with the value consumers attach to experiences of their peers, makes it more important than ever to understand which factors in eWOM are decisive in influencing customers’ intentions to buy products and services online.
Ever since the founding of the World Wide Web 30 years ago, tremendous transitions have occurred in the way people communicate. The Internet has created a social and cultural setting where information easily can be shared. Next to a source of information, the Internet became a shopping platform. A myriad of businesses opened a web shop, some of them do not distribute via physical stores but sell via the Internet exclusively. Over time, the Internet became an increasingly important source of information where individual consumers shared their personal experience with products and services and/or offered their consumption related advice. This kind of digital communication is termed Electronic Word Of Mouth (eWOM). eWOM refers to ”any positive or negative statement made by potential, actual, or former customers about a product or company, which is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the Internet”. eWOM is more persuasive and more desired by consumers than marketer-generated information and important in persuading consumers to try products.
Research has shown that eWOM influences consumers’ intentions to buy products online and the sales of a product both positively and negatively. Study results have confirmed that product-related eWOM influences buyers’ attitudes, intentions, and behavior, as well as omnichannel purchases. The effectiveness of eWOM is in line with longstanding theories in the literature on behaviour change like Fishbein & Ajzen’s theory of reasoned action. This theory aims to explain that subjective norms, like social influence and eWOM recommendations, are having influential effect on a person’s attitude or behavior. Understanding the effect of eWOM messages is therefore of substantial importance, as they affect firms’ performance as well as relationships with customers.
Now that you know what eWOM is, we hope you get an idea how important it is to stimulate your clients to post positive content about your company or business. Say goodbye to traditional online marketing, eWOM is taking over!