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Online consumers’ purchase decisions based on how and why of recommendations: Study

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A new study conducted by researchers at Penn State University in the US suggests that it’s not just what is recommended, but how and why it’s recommended, that helps to shape consumers’ opinions, according an ANI report.

Through the study published in the Journal of Advertising, the researchers investigated how consumers reacted to two product recommendation systems. The first system generated recommendations based on the user’s historical purchase behaviour — often referred to as content-based recommendation systems.

The second provided recommendations based on what other people bought — called collaborative recommendation systems.

The study found that people who like to think and solve problems for themselves — a personality type the researchers describe as “high need for cognition” — find content-based recommendations more persuasive.

However, those who are low in their need for cognition are more persuaded by collaborative recommendation systems, which may serve as endorsement of the concerned product or service.

The nature of the recommendation system and its degree of confidence in suggesting the right products can be very important in guiding people when making online purchases, said S. Shyam Sundar, James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory.