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American Journal of Business, Economics and Management
2016; 4(1): 1-6
Published online February 26, 2016 (http://www.openscienceonline.com/journal/ajbem)
ISSN: 2381-4462 (Print); ISSN: 2381-4470 (Online)
The Influence of Electronic Word-of-Mouth on
Consumers’ Purchase Intentions in Iranian
, Inda Sukati, Mohd Noor Azli Bin Alikhan
Faculty of Management, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia
firstname.lastname@example.org (Y. Sharifpour), email@example.com (Y. Sharifpour)
To cite this article
Yousef Sharifpour, Inda Sukati, Mohd Noor Azli Bin Alikhan. The Influence of Electronic Word-of-Mouth on Consumers’ Purchase
Intentions in Iranian Telecommunication Industry. American Journal of Business, Economics and Management. Vol. 4, No. 1, 2016, pp. 1-6.
Electronic word of mouth (eWOM) is an emerging marketing experience for consumers which impact their assessment of
different existing brands and products such as mobile brands through online communication channels. The World Wide Web is
a wonderful trend of the millennium that the essential trend in communication has designed. Communication is an essential
function of the internet that is not seen in other media. The World Wide Web provides probability to make details for people
such as the publishing market, the capability to return details through phone, guides, and publications make studying
possibilities, as well as self-learning. Films and TV provide enjoyment, and all these things are done at the same time. This
study aims to explain the effect of electronic word of mouth (eWOM) on consumers purchase intentions in Iran
telecommunication industry. However, the main features are having reviews and the capability to communicate, which
personalizes the communication process. This study has been inspired by the need to understand how eWOM influences
consumers’ purchase intentions with regards to the Iranian perspective.
Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM), Consumers Purchase Intentions, Iran Telecommunication Industry,
Word of Mouth Marketing
Due to this appearance electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM)
now provides one of the most effective marketing resources
in use nowadays (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2004). The internet
makes available several locations for customers to discuss
their opinions and encounters, and electronic word of mouth
(eWOM) propagates it at an unmatched rate and at a much
cheaper rate than the conventional WOM (Li, and Zhan,
2011). Currently, customers can discuss their products
knowledge to others online, due to the high transmission of
the internet and the emergence of Web 2.0. The coming of
Web 2.0 technological innovation recently has given increase
to the growth of social media sites (SMSs) such as YouTube,
Tweets and Facebook or Myspace (Muntinga et al., 2011)
These systems allow customers to make and discuss product
relevant information’s online (electronic word-of-mouth or
eWOM) in their recognized social media sites including of
buddies, family, class mates and other associates (Hennig-
Thurau et al., 2003; Chu and Kim, 2011).
The consumers’ purchase intentions studies constitute one
of the central parts of consumers’ purchase intentions
research (Bansal & Voyer, 2000; Dumrongsiri, 2010; Zamil,
2011). Generally, most consumers’ purchase intentions
studies have been conducted in USA and Europe countries
and few studies have been carried out in developing countries
in general and in Middle East context in particular (e.g.
Bansal & Voyer, 2000; Dumrongsiri, 2010; Zamil, 2011).
Thus, this study will be exploring the consumers’ purchase
intentions in Iran. Based on previous studies, most researches
pertaining to consumers’ purchase intentions have been
conducted in developed countries (e.g. Bansal & Voyer,
2000; Dumrongsiri, 2010; Zamil, 2011), and a few studies
have concentrated their scope on developing countries in this
industry (e.g. Ramezani and Rasouli, 2011; Boon-Young Lee,
and Lee, 2004).
2 Yousef Sharifpour et al.: The Influence of Electronic Word-of-Mouth on Consumers’ Purchase Intentions
in Iranian Telecommunication Industry
2. Literature Review
Consumers' purchase intentions and their behavior reviews
the relevant literature on purchase intentions in marketing,
and more generally on the intentions-behavior relationship in
social psychology, since purchase intentions are a particular
form of the more general construct of intentions (Morwitz,
2014). Starting with the importance of purchase intentions to
marketing managers, the author then focuses on reviewing
the literature that provides an understanding of how strong
the relationship between purchase intentions and purchasing
is, what factors influence the strength of the relationship
between purchase intentions and purchasing, and how a
marketing manager should best use purchase intentions to
forecast future sales (Morwitz, 2014).
Consumers’ feelings and evaluation and external factors
develop consumer purchase intention and which is vital
feature to envisage consumer behavior (Fishbein & Ajzen,
1975). Purchase intention can determine the prospect of a
consumer to buy the product or service (Hsinkuang et al,
2011)Purchase intention indicate that consumers will chase
their experience, liking and external environment to gather
information about the products or services, evaluate
alternatives and make final Decision about the product or
service (Dodds et al., 1991).
Advertising celebrity’s popularity, attractiveness and
expertise can appeal consumers’ attraction in a short time and
improve consumer’s purchase intention. Advertising
celebrity cam increase exposure rate and also can change
consumer predilection and also promote consumer’s purchase
intention. If a brand provide multi-purpose functions and
meet consumers’ needs and want than it will produce
psychological associations and a unique relation with the
brand. Consumer purchase intention is a result of consumers’
perception about the product and it is also important element
to predict consumer purchase interaction it is also stated that
apparent value and apparent quality will impact the purchase
intention (Monroe and Krishnan 1985).
The studies on purchase intention have been widely
investigated by marketers considering the cost of gaining
new customers (Maxham, 2001). It also has been studied in
the marketing literature about the relationship between
purchase intention and Word of mouth (Litvin, et al., 2008).
Consumers consider other consumers’ reviews and obtain
information about products in purchasing process. Word of
mouth represents an informal and suggestive communication
style. Word of mouth that is commercial, interactive, rapid
and unbiased communication type has a strong impact on
consumers’ decisions. The studies demonstrated that Word of
mouth has a critical role on consumers’ preferences and
behavioral intentions (Torlak et al., 2014). These studies also
indicated that Word of mouth is more effective than other
communication methods due to perceived high reliability
(Jalilvand, and Samiei, 2012).
Although WOM has received great attention by marketing
and consumer researchers, it has never become a major
stream of marketing research. The advent of the Internet has
dramatically expanded the scale and scope of consumers’
word-of-mouth communications, and the market power of
eWOM has increased at an unprecedented rate. As a result,
WOM communication through the Internet is increasingly
becoming a hot topic in consumer and marketing research.
Especially, consumer online forums are emerging as
alternative sources of information to mainstream mass media
in consumer and marketing research (Dellarocas, 2006).
Compared to other Internet media, such as company websites
and online advertising, the information from consumer online
forums has greater credibility and relevance, and is more
likely to evoke empathy (Bickart and Schindler, 2001).
Chen and Xie (2008) proposed that online consumer
reviews can serve as a new element of the marketing
communications mix and work as free sales assistants to help
consumers identify the products that best match their
idiosyncratic usage conditions. Dellarocas (2006) found that
strategic manipulations of Internet online forums such as
anonymously posting online review praising its own
products, or bad-mouthing those of its competitors, would
influence firm profits and consumer surplus.
Consistent with the major research stream in traditional
WOM research, much research attention on eWOM has been
paid to the market impact of eWOM. Growing evidence has
shown that both consumers’ purchasing decisions and
behaviors and firms’ sales are influenced by reviews posted
in consumer online forums. For example, Gruen et al. (2006)
reported that customer know-how exchange influenced
customers’ perceptions of product value (received benefits in
relation to cost or sacrifice) and likelihood to recommend the
product, but customers’ repurchase intentions.
Most of the above studies that empirically examined
market outcomes (i.e., product revenues and diffusion)
resulting from eWOM focused on either the volume (the total
amount of online reviews) or the valence (whether the online
reviews are positive or negative) of eWOM, or both.
Previous studies (Dellarocas et al., 2003) have provided
relatively consistent evidence that the volume of eWOM has
a significant effect on product sales or diffusion. Similarly,
Dellarocas et al. (2003) found that the total number of user
reviews posted helped to predict both first week box-office
revenues as well as total box-office revenues.
Besides the above quantitative research, some studies on
eWOM are conceptual or qualitative in nature as in other
emerging areas. Boush and Kahle (2005) proposed that
consumer online reviews provided a good opportunity to
understand and respond to consumers, and furthermore
suggested methods for evaluating negative information in
online discussion based on qualitative content analysis and
signal detection theory. In addition, Kozinets (2010) created a
framework for netnography research, which is a qualitative
research technique that employs an ethnographic research
method to study online customers.
2.1. Consumers’ Purchase Intentions
Today consumers read digital word-of-mouth (eWOM) to
make purchasing choices. Research has shown that
American Journal of Business, Economics and Management 2016; 4(1): 1-6 3
community factors effect acceptance of eWOM (Okazaki,
2009). eWOM can be found in unique communities:
recommendations, weblogs, forums, and community social
networking websites. Following the appearance and growth
of Web 2.0, social networks have become a popular place for
internet surfers to search for and gather informations on other
consumers’ buying encounters, assessments, and views
(Kozinets, 2010). They not only increase the speed at which
details is passed on, but also reduce the details asymmetry.
This trend is the so-called electronic recommendations
(eWOM) impact. Due to the eWOM interaction of the social
network mainly provides user-oriented details that explains a
product in terms of its utilization, and also actions the
product’s efficiency from a user’s viewpoint (Bickart and
Schindler, 2001), it is higher and more efficient with
powerful impact than conventional promotion resources
(Bickart, 2001). Most customers often study all available and
in-depth details, especially in the case of recently-innovated
products. Furthermore, around 74% of internet surfers in
Taiwan indicate that the assessments of online communities
or weblogs are likely to impact their buy objective.
Therefore, firms should build the efficient Internet online
promotion technique, and understand the eWOM effect for
the consumers’ buy objective.
2.2. Electronic Word of Mouth
Electronic WOM (eWOM) “electronic consumer-to-
consumer interaction regarding a brand or product” (Petrescu
& Korgaonkar, 2011), performs a vital role in the way
customers communicate with one another on the internet
(Brown et al., 2007). Certain social media tools designed to
advertise interaction seem to offer themselves to eWOM,
such as the internet customer scores and reviews (Davis &
Khazanchi, 2008; Liu, 2006), boards, blog articles and user
reviews boards (Dellarocas et al., 2006; Godes & Mayzlin,
2004), and even social media sites like Tweets, YouTube,
MySpace, and Facebook or myspace (Dhar & Alter, 2005;
Petrescu & Korgaonkar, 2011).
eWOM has certainly been a highly effective marketing
strategy. Recently, some researchers believed that
experienced a growing literary work concentrating on the
potency of eWOM interaction (Davis and Khazanchi, 2008).
However, the opportunity of published research on the effect
of eWOM interaction is rather wide, and the research appears
relatively fragmented and undetermined. The effect of
eWOM has been getting remarkable attention in latest
research as scholars analyze the different factors of eWOM
interaction. Brown et al. (2007) considered three key online
effect factors, such as; tie strength, homophily, and source
reliability of eWOM from an online community viewpoint.
The coming of the Internet has elevated the consequences
that eWOM has on customers. Khammash (2008)
quantitatively looked into one form of eWOM, on the
internet testimonials, and the reasons as to why customers
rely on testimonials before they make up their minds on
whether or not to order or buy an item on the internet
(Almana, 2013). He elucidated that the propelling force for
seeking other’s views on internet testimonials bear classified
levels of impact on different aspects of customer actions. A
conclusion was made that on the internet testimonials have
been used as a angles for consumers’ search for information
and that they do have an impact on their buying actions.
Online testimonials serve as choice aids, reviews from
customers systems, and a recommendation system in an
online buying system (Celsi and Olson, 1988).
2.2.1. Word of Mouth Marketing
WOM is believed to be “more exciting, easy to
comprehend, efficient, appropriate, purposeful, reliable and
engaging" (Breazeale, 2009; Eccleston, and Griseri, 2008)
than other types of marketing. Unfortunately, adverse WOM
has been proven to be even more highly effective and
efficient than positive WOM (Hsieh et al., 2010). Because of
this, it is crucial that marketers comprehend who is producing
WOM about their product as well as how and why (Gladwell,
To benefit from the advantages of WOM, promoters have
taken practical actions to integrate WOM techniques into
their promotion preparing initiatives (Barnes, 2010). Word-
of-mouth marketing (WOMM), then, is "the deliberate
impacting of consumer-to-consumer marketing
communications by expert promotion techniques” (Kozinets
et al., 2010). According to Petrescu and Korgaonkar (2011),
although the ideas detailed below differ a little bit in
meaning, it is typical for many in the promotion market to
make reference to word-of-mouth promotion as exchangeable
with any of the following terms:
a) Popular Promotion: This can be described as “online
and off-line promotion activities conducted to impact
customers to successfully pass commercial information to
other consumers” (Petrescu & Korgaonkar, 2011).
b) Hype Promotion: This essentially implies “peer-to-peer
promotion communications as an impact on popular
marketing” (Petrescu & Korgaonkar, 2011).
c) Popular Advertising: This phrase is described as
“unpaid digital (e-mail, web, or social media) submission of
business or customer produced ads from customer to
customer, depending on ad material likeability, enjoyment,
and questionable characteristics” (Petrescu & Korgaonkar,
2011). In the next section eWOM communication models is
2.2.2. eWOM Communication Models
An examination of related studies on Brunswik’s Lens
Model is delivered, followed by the Process Model of
eWOM Communication (PMEC) which was advanced from
the Brunswik’s Lens Model is also reviewed. The Simplified
Model of eWOM Communication is also examined.
(i) Brunswik’s Lens Model
Brunswik’s Lens Model was first developed to investigate
organisms’ perception of physical environment. The original
Lens Model is presented in Figure 1. As shown in Figure 1,
the Lens Model proposes that since targets of perceptions,
called distal environmental variables or initial focal variables,
are not directly observable, a perceiver needs to rely on some
4 Yousef Sharifpour et al.: The Influence of Electronic Word-of-Mouth on Consumers’ Purchase Intentions
in Iranian Telecommunication Industry
imperfect indicators to develop his/her own perceptions.
Initial focal variables are the targets of the perceptions. The
imperfect indicators, termed as proximal cues, are the
directly observed information that provides the basis for
perception and judgment. The developed perceptions, called
terminal focal variables, represent individuals’ perception
and judgment about the initial focal variables.
Figure 1. Brunswick's Lens Model (Source: Tang, 2010).
In early stages of research, the Lens Model was mainly
used to study individuals’ perceptions of their physical
environments (Brunswik, 1956). One recent example of this
approach was conducted by Gifford et al. (2000). The authors
employed the Lens Model to study individuals’ perceptions
of the beauty of modern buildings. This study identified some
physical characteristics of modern buildings and then
connected them to the emotional impact of the buildings on
observers, and the observers’ global appraisal of the building.
They found that both architects and laypersons strongly
based their global assessments on elicited pleasure, but the
two groups based their emotional assessment on an almost
entirely different set of objective building features.
(ii) Process Model of eWOM Communication (PMEC)
The first purpose of this study is to examine the
effectiveness of eWOM communication in terms of to what
extent the attitudinal and affective information
communicated by eWOM senders can be perceived
accurately by eWOM receivers and can influence the eWOM
receivers’ attitudes, emotional states, and future purchasing
intentions toward a product/service. The Process Model is
established to examine the effectiveness of all
communication links within consumer-to-consumer online
communication process with an emphasis on the potential
influence of eWOM communication on consumers’ future
patronage intentions. This model seeks to provide researchers
with a systematic tool to investigate the entire range of
eWOM communication activities, from encoding,
transmission, decoding, to their outcomes.
The Process Model for eWOM Communication is
presented in Figure 2. This model proposes that the eWOM
communication process starts when an eWOM sender
develops his/her attitudes and emotional states toward a
product/service based on his/her consumption experience.
Then the eWOM sender determines how good or how bad the
information about the product/service is that he/she plans to
deliver to other consumers through eWOM. This process is
the formation of communication intentions. After his/her
communication intentions are established, the eWOM sender
will incorporate his/her attitudes or emotional states into the
text of the online review according to his/her communication
intentions. This process is called encoding, and the cues or
indicators the eWOM sender employed in the online review
to convey his/her attitudinal and emotional information are
called distal cues. The Process Model for eWOM
Communication (PMEC) will be discussed in detail in the
Figure 2. Process Model of eWOM Communication (Source: Tang, 2010).
(iii) Simplified Model of eWOM Communication
Although the Process Model of eWOM Communication
(PMEC) proposed in this study is thought to be an effective
tool for studying eWOM communication, it is too complex to
be operationalized. Especially, measuring distal and proximal
cues is time-consuming and subject to human errors. In
addition, in empirical research, researchers care more about
how much the eWOM communication process can influence
eWOM readers’ attitudes and emotional states, and also their
patronage intentions, rather than the communication process
itself. Thus, in terms of practical purposes, the Process Model
of eWOM Communication (PMEC) is too complicated and a
simplified version is needed. In the simplified model,
communication cues should be automatically measured rather
than human-coded. Furthermore, in order to provide
managerial implications, the outcomes of eWOM
communication but the communication process should be
emphasized in the simplified model.
The simplified eWOM communication model is presented
in Figure 3. This model starts from eWOM senders’ attitudes
and emotional states toward a product/service. Then eWOM
senders encode their attitudes and emotions into cues that are
contained in online reviews. When eWOM receivers read
online reviews, they decode the linguistic cues, and form
their own attitudes and emotional states toward the product
or service. Finally, the attitudes and emotional states will
drive eWOM receivers’ future patronage intentions and
American Journal of Business, Economics and Management 2016; 4(1): 1-6 5
behaviors toward the product/service.
Figure 3. Simplified Model of eWOM Communication (Source: Tang, 2010).
Overall, the Brunswik’s Lens Model depicts the complete
communication process and provided a theoretical foundation
for our framework. Based on the Lens Model, a Process
Model of eWOM Communication (PMEC) and a simplified
model of eWOM communication are developed in order to
examine the effectiveness of eWOM communication process
in eWOM research.
Most of the time, consumers purchase decisions are
dependent on online ratings and user comments (Miriam et
al., 2010). Consistently, the word of mouth can play an
essential part in affecting consumers’ purchase activities
(Nekmat, and Karla, 2012). Understanding the influence of
eWOM on consumer purchase intentions will highlight the
importance of communication and efficiency of the social
media tools employed in modern marketing communication
in Iran. This study was enhancing the understanding of
consumer purchase intention in organizations within
developing countries as evidenced by Iran.
As a result, literature review shows that there is the effect of
eWOM on consumer purchase intentions. This study extends
the literature by assessing the effect of eWOM on consumer
purchase intentions. Consistent with the earlier researches
(Park et al., 2007; Pappu et al., 2005; Bloemer and Odekerken-
Schroder, 2007; Aaker, 1991), this study evaluates the effect of
eWOM on consumer purchase intentions to address this gap in
the literature. In fact, it is clear that eWOM causes of
increasing consumer purchase intentions.
I would like to state my appreciation to University
Technology Malaysia (UTM), which afforded me the
opportunity to do my PhD and expand my academic as well
as dealing prospect.
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