The Impact of Online Q&As on Product Sales: The Case of Amazon Answer
Authors: Warut Khern-am-nuai, H. Ghasemkhani, D. Qiao and K.N. Kannan
Publication: Information Systems Research, Forthcoming
This paper uses data from two online shopping platforms to investigate the impact of questions and answers on product sales. This research problem is important as online marketplaces are increasingly incorporating the questioning and answering capability. Yet, the economic implications of the Q&A capabilities have not been discussed in the previous literature. We employ the difference-in-differences approach to empirically examine the effect of questions and answers, which exist on only one platform, on sales of experience goods. Interestingly, we find that answers, particularly the depth of the answers, have a positive impact on sales. In addition, the fraction of questions with at least one answer has a positive and significant impact on product sales as well. Our further analyses on textual content provide additional insights that the impact of questions is different between fit-oriented questions and quality-oriented questions, and the impact of answers is different between positive answers and negative answers. Our findings suggest that platform sellers should be prudent when their products receive questions since answered questions increase product sales.
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