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Consumers' knowledge about the product as a determinant of perceiving the usefulness of online reviews of various valences

eWOM communication has become an important source of information when it comes to consumers' purchasing decisions. Consumers are more willing to relay on that kind of recommendation if they consider it useful. This article focuses on determinants of the usefulness of online reviews which are a specific type of eWOM message. The article aims to determine how consumer product knowledge affects the perception of the usefulness of online reviews of different valence. A web-based betweensubject design experiment was conducted among adult Polish consumers. Their reactions to positive, negative and neutral online reviews of a specific search product were tested. ANOVA analysis was performed to check the interaction effect between the level of subjective product knowledge, the valence of the review and the dependent variable, namely the usefulness of online reviews. The results confirm that the consumer expertise influences the perception of the usefulness of online reviews. Positive online reviews are considered more useful by consumers with extensive knowledge compared to those with limited knowledge. The difference in the perception of usefulness of reviews of different valence is most conspicuous in the case of consumers with average product knowledge.

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Keywords: consumer product knowledge; eWOM; usefulness of eWOM messages; online review; online reviews valence



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