Trusting on a Whim? A Multi-method Inquiry of Cue-based Trust in Online Consumer Product Reviews

The 19th International Conference on Research in Advertising 2021

Abstract: Online, consumers often cannot develop trust through cumulative experiences with another party but must instead rely on heuristic cues for their trust formation. Drawing on the theoretical construct of cue-based trust and signaling theory, we conducted an online experiment as the final study of a three-study multi-method research project aimed to identify content attributes serving as trust cues in online consumer product review videos and evaluate and test their efficacy at eliciting consumer trust. The current study’s online experiment found that three of the trust cues elicited in a series of focus groups and an online survey (balanced information, establishing expertise, and reviewer appearing to be a genuine user of the product) were shown to effectively elicit consumer trust without any previous experience with the reviewer or brand. Findings contribute to the understanding of cue-based trust and signaling theory in the eWOM context and hold practical implications for various stakeholders.

Alexander Pfeuffer  Joe Phua  Marilyn Primovic 

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