The Retailer's Puzzle: Influencer Opinions and Consumer-Generated Information

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Journal of Consumer Marketing

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an empirical approach to the understanding of the potential interplay between influencer opinions and consumer-generated information on consumer decision-making. Given the growth of influencer marketing and the pervasive nature of consumer star-ratings, it becomes critical to understand how and why these information sources influence consumers’ shopping decisions. Design/methodology/approach – Drawing from the literature on source credibility, this paper proposes that influencer opinion interacts with the influencer’s reach on influencer credibility, skepticism towards the product and purchase intentions. Boundary conditions of consumer-generated information are also tested. Findings – Convergent results across three studies indicate that the effect of influencer opinion is contingent upon both valence of the opinion and reach of the influencer. Consumer-generated information (i.e. star-ratings and the volume of ratings) moderates the effect of influencer opinion on purchase intentions. These effects are mediated by the credibility of the influencer and skepticism towards the product. Practical implications – Understanding the relative impact of influencer opinions in the presence of other consumer-generated information provides managers with a framework to effectively manage online communications. Originality/value – To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper provides a theoretically grounded first look at the potential interplay between two extremely powerful factors, influencer opinion and consumer-generated information. This paper provides a better understanding of the psychological mechanism behind the intricate workings of consumer-generated information.


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