This study adopts a quantitative approach using a factorial between-subjects experimental design to determine the effects of online reviews on brand trust and consumer equity. Customer equity links closely with customer value, brand value and relationships unlike willingness to buy. An online user discussion forum was purpose-built to conduct experimental research for this study, using a restricted probability sample of 269 participants drawn from a registered US online panel. Using the Structural Equation Model (SEM) model, the path from brand trust to the change in customer equity was examined.The key findings from the research are: (a) that the valence of consumer-to-consumer online reviews positively affects consumer equity, which further supports previous findings; (b) that negative online reviews cause value equity to decrease, positive online reviews cause brand equity to increase, and negative online reviews cause brand equity and relationship equity to decrease equally; (c) as brand trust increases, the change in the consumer equity drivers (value, brand and relationship) tend to become more negative, thereby affecting customer equity (this is a significant new finding); and (d) that contrary to the literature, consumer-to-consumer online reviews demonstrated no significant relationship with brand trust.
Jo Rhodes, Macquarie University, Australia
Glenn Asano, Ryerson University, Canada
Peter Lok, University of Sydney, Australia
Stream: Business Administration and Business Economics
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