The influence of electronic word-of-mouth valence towards customers' purchase intentions - role of customer-firm relationships

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
Degree programme
(Mikkeli) Bachelor’s Program in International Business
Objectives With the emergence of the Internet, customers can discuss about products and services on online platforms. This way of communication is called electronic word of mouth (eWOM). EWOM has offered customers many benefits such as large audience, fast transmission, custom-made conversations, visual aids, etc. Significantly, the quality of being positive or negative of eWOM, known as eWOM valence, interprets contradicting opinions and experiences, showing whether particular products or services are favourable or unfavourable. Hence, eWOM valence may influence customers’ purchase intentions. In addition, during eWOM conversations, the strength of customer-firm relationships is among the potential factors in influencing the transmission of positive eWOM and the adoption of negative eWOM. Thus, the following objectives of this thesis are declared: • To analyze the influence of positive and negative eWOM on customers’ purchase intentions. • To compare the degree of influence between positive and negative eWOM on customers’ purchase intentions. • To analyze the impact of strong customer-firm relationships on the transmission of positive eWOM information. • To analyze the impact of strong customer-firm relationships on customers’ resilience of negative eWOM information. Summary The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of eWOM valence towards customers’ purchase intentions. Further, the role of customer-firm relationships is examined on positive eWOM transmission and negative eWOM adoption. Thus, four hypotheses are proposed and tested by analyzing the collected data from 185 responses gathered from online self-administered survey. Finally, the results support all four hypotheses and provide valuable insights for marketers. Conclusions While positive eWOM information is found to motivate people to make purchases, negative eWOM information discourages customers from acquiring products and services. Between the two sides of eWOM valence, negative eWOM has higher impact on customers than does positive eWOM. Based on the strength of customer-firm relationships, if customers feel emotionally connected to firms, they are more likely to generate positive eWOM and tolerate negative eWOM towards products and services related to those firms. However, if the unfavorable information is among social, ethical, or environmental issues, strong customer-firm relationships can’t prevent customers from showing disapproval.
Thesis advisor
Aistrich, Matti
electronic word of mouth, electronic word-of-mouth valence, customers’ purchase intentions, strong customer-firm relationships, transmission of positive electronic word of mouth, adoption of negative electronic word of mouth
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