Ruled by Technology : What effect does eWOM have on purchase decisions when buying OTC pharmaceutical products?
Technology changes many things in society, including the way we communicate. Companies use social media to connect with consumers and consumers use it to e.g. follow companies or share experiences with corporations and products (eWOM). The degree to which companies utilize social media and the kind of products people talk about differs. Especially with non-prescription pharmaceutical products, manufacturers and consumers alike are hesitant toward its usage. eWOM effects on purchase intentions were investigated previously, but not in the context of non-prescription drugs (to our knowledge). Many industry professionals and researchers recommend the utilization of social media based on other industries’ success with it. We wanted to contribute to the discussion about the need for pharmaceutical manufacturers’ increased social media activity, by investigating consumers’ usage of social media platforms when looking for others’ experience. With a sample of 194 Facebook users, we tested six eWOM characteristics. Our results indicate that argument quality is a primary determinant on non-prescription drug purchase while valence and source credibility display non-significant effects. From this, we conclude that utilizing social media may not be the best option for the pharmaceutical industry, but if it was utilized, argument quality would be key and needs incitement.
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