Online product reviews could be presented as expert reviews and user reviews. However, a fundamental question that is not fully understood, and which this study addresses, is: Where should product reviews be displayed so as to positively affect a consumer's decision-making performance? We focus on evaluating the impact of the placements and the source of reviews (i.e., the pre-screening or post-screening display of experts' or users' comments) on consumer behavior. Building on the underpinnings of Kuhlthau's model of information search process, we propose that the Expert-User product review provision (i.e., placing the expert reviews before the screening stage and the user reviews after the screening stage) will lead to higher purchase decision performance than the User-Expert product review provision. We subsequently designed an experiment to validate the proposition. The results reveal that the Expert-User product review provision would lead to a higher purchase decision performance than the User-Expert product review provision, in terms of both the decision process and decision outcome.
Li, M., Tan, C., Wei, K. & Wang, K. (2010). Where to place product reviews? An information search process perspective. Proceedings of the 31st Annual International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)