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EMAC 2023 Annual

The dark and bright side of online reviews in manufacturer online shops

Published: May 24, 2023


Katharina Kessing, University of Wuppertal; Ina Garnefeld, University of Wuppertal; Eva Böhm, TU Dortmund University


Online reviews are omnipresent in e-commerce and can benefit retailers by e.g., increasing sales. In turn, around 85% of the most impactful international retailers offer online reviews through their online shops. But do such advantages of offering online reviews also extend to manufacturers? Relying on five experimental studies, we provide evidence for the different effectiveness of online reviews in manufacturer versus retailer online shops and present a dark and a bright side of review publication. On the one hand, online reviews in manufacturer online shops tend to be perceived as manipulated as manufacturers solely sell their own brands. On the other hand, online reviews can increase customers’ sense of gratitude toward the online shop, which enhances purchase intentions. We propose the publication of online reviews from independent review websites as a promising way to prevent potential negative effects but still profit from the positive effects of online review publication.