Time-contingent Impact of Inconsistent Action-based Information Cues on Social Commerce Purchases: An Experimental Investigation

AbstractSocial commerce websites predominantly display two types of action-based online social information: product’s past purchases and bookmarks (e.g. wish-lists). The impact of inconsistency between these two information cues on consumer decision making is uncertain and is expected to be dependent on the purchase context. In this paper we investigate the effect of (action-based) online social information inconsistency on consumers’ likelihood of purchasing a product for temporally proximal and distant purchases. Using a controlled experimental set-up with Latin-square design and linear mixed model analysis we find significant interaction effect of information inconsistency type and temporal distance of purchase on purchase likelihood of product, establishing the purchase timing dependent impact of information inconsistency. The paper offers several academic implications, and valuable insights for website managers to elicit favorable consumer responses even under information inconsistency and effectively design their product recommendation strategies.

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