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Yingying Qian

Although the power of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) on new product adoption has been examined by many prior researchers, this chapter is one of the first efforts to aim to explore the effects of eWOM when it is the first information received by consumers about the product. It is worth noting that this research involves two sets of comparisons. First, it compares the effect of consumers’ first exposure to eWOM with the effect of advertising, a traditional channel for consumers to gather initial knowledge about the product. Secondly, it compares the power of positive eWOM information versus negative eWOM information on innovation adoption, via the found effects. This research is also very likely the first to study the power of positive eWOM, negative eWOM and advertising, as well as the possible influence of the sequence of these three kinds of information being shown to consumers on new product adoption. An exploratory qualitative research has been conducted. The results (1) put forward new impacts that eWOM could have on new product adoption; (2) show that positive eWOM is more effective for new product adoption than commercial advertising through found intermediate effects; (3) demonstrate that the obstructive force of negative eWOM is greater than the driving force of positive eWOM on new product adoption through some of these intermediate impacts; (4) indicate that different sequences of receiving advertising, positive and negative eWOM information influence people’s willingness to adopt a new product. Based on the findings from prior studies and our interviews, this chapter designs a future consumer experiment and selects cosmetics as the target product type. This research enables marketers to gain a more comprehensive insight into the effects of eWOM and advertising on new product adoption.