With the development of the internet and social media, it has been discovered that consumers influence each other, more through thoughts and feelings being shared among themselves via social media (López and Sicilia 2014). However WOM has gained renewed importance because of the rise of WOM via social media. This has therefore formed another powerful and persuasive marketing tool: electronic Word of Mouth
E-WOM consists of online platforms such as e-commerce websites, blogs, review websites and social Medias (Cheung & Thadani, 2012).This study will focus and further analyse the influence of eWOM on consumers purchase intentions specifically focusing on vloggers and blogging via social media platforms such YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
- To investigate the types of social media used by consumers and to investigate the extent to which consumers use online reviews when purchasing products.
- To measure the influence of blogs & vlogs on consumer purchase behaviour/decisions, with particular reference to the purchase of products in general.
Theorists have put forward the characteristics of eWOM such as Information credibility, Information quality, Need for Information (perceived usefulness) (Park et al., 2007; Cheung et al., 2008; Matute, Polo-Redondo, and Utrillas 2016; Erkan and Evans 2016) which is represented in IACM model (see figure 2).
The information acceptance model (Sussman,S.W & Siegal,W, S 2003) according to Erkan and Evans (2016) the impact of eWOM on social media is not to be determined by characteristics of information such as quality and credibility but to also consider the consumers’ behaviour towards the eWOM information.
The research philosophy adopted for this research is interpretivism. This research is relevant to interpretivism as the study that will be put forward relates the ideology that the “social world is a pattern of symbolic relationships and meanings sustained through the process of human action and interaction.” (Morgan and Smircich 1980:494).
This research will take forward a grounded theory approach as the idea that eWOM has an effect on purchase behaviour is known however this study will elaborate and validate this theory (Hair Jr et al. 2016:296).
Through using the grounded theory approach, interpretivist procedures will be generated as participants are asked to identify and explain experiences that they have purposely created such as searching for online opinions (eWOM) to satisfy their post purchase decision needs (Hair Jr et al. 2016:296).
Interpretivists examine small samples, in this case this study will investigate the influence of blogs and vlogs/online videos on consumer purchase behaviour (Collis et al. 2014:49).
The qualitative method used to collect data is focus groups as it appropriate for the potential data to be collected.
Findings & analysis
Within my 1st focus group 3 out of 4 participants use an information source before purchasing a product such as a blog which shows that eWOM has an influence with purchase decision.
Boys tend to use blogs compared to girls who use vlogs - online videos which are on social media such as twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Characteristics of online influencers (eWomers) should be entertaining, show that they have knowledge about the product, non-biased and use the right terminology depending on what the product.
Social Medias used by the participants include:
Overall, through the rise of social media, the power of eWOM has risen due to the fact that people have an open platform to show how products actually work and generate opinions which other potential consumers can view to therefore make a purchase decision.