Warut Khern-am-nuai, Assistant Professor in information Systems was recently awarded a 2017 FRQSC New Academics Grant for his project "L’impact du système de questions et réponses sur les plateformes en ligne / The Impact of Questions and Answers on Product Sales”.
One of the major obstacles online marketplaces face is the lack of trust in the eyes of consumers. Previous literature has suggested several solutions to alleviate this issue such as using third-party institutional mechanisms, developing a reputation system, and establishing online review platforms. However, as the competition has become increasingly intense, platforms are seeking new avenues to attract consumers and differentiate themselves.
One of the practices that becomes popular recently is to embed a discussion system into the platform. This feature allows users to ask and answer questions related to each individual item on the product page. Many small and medium online platforms have started to adopt this system and even replace the traditional online review system with it in many cases.
Leveraging the data collected from two major online retailers, the primary objective of this study is to identify the economic implications of such a system. Particularly, our research questions are
1) how the question and answer elements affect product sales; and
2) what is the product characteristic that moderates the effect of Q&A on sales.