Electronic Word Of Mouth (Ewom) And Consumer Purchase Decision Making: A Study In The Digital Economy Of Kerala

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Jith R , Dr. E. Benjamin , Dr. Jacob Joju , Dr. Manoj P K and Dr. K. Sankar Ganesh


Objectives: These are (i) to find the effect of ICT interventions on daily routine of consumers with a focus on the impact of Electronic Word Of Mouth (eWOM) on their buying decisions, and (ii) to find if eWOM could be used as a trust factor for making purchase decisions.

Methods:  The study is on the influence of eWOM in this era of widespread use of social media on consumer purchase decision making and the current study is based on both primary and secondary data. Primary data were collected from 100 respondents from different parts of Kerala. A well-structured questionnaire was designed to collect information from the respondents to know about the influence of social media on their purchase decision and to understand how do consumers gather and process information before a purchase. Online survey was used for collection of primary data. Secondary data’s like information from company websites, research studies and other published sources of companies are also used.

Findings: It was found that eWOM through social media had significant impact on consumer buying behaviour in this ICT age, in the emerging digital economy of Kerala. No doubt, social media could bring about many changes to both consumer and businesses, and eWOM emerged as a very significant influencer today. Though there are many sources for gathering information  through social media, personal attitude of the consumers makes a lot of difference in choosing and making a purchase decision. The quality of content on social media makes a big impact so it should be consumer-relevant. When the marketing is done through social media, it is not all about consumer awareness or selling the product itself. It is more than that, as it involves retaining a built-up relationship and building relationships between the potential buyers and corporations. The study found that social media reviews and suggestions about products and services through eWOM or otherwise by users influenced their purchase decisions. Also, social media is widely used to search for information about products and services. Accordingly, social media is used as a trust factor while making purchase decisions by consumers. In the current scenario, consumers are using social media to get updates about products rather than in the traditional modes. Based on the findings of this study, the majority of consumerss feel that social media via eWOM greatly influenced their purchase decisions.
Novelty: Studies on eWOM are rather scarce, especially in the context of Kerala which is an emerging knowledge economy in the whole of India. Hence, this empirical study done using online survey in the Kerala context has novelty in its research theme and also practical applications.

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