Do Microblog Postings Influence Consumer Perceptions of Retailers' E-Servicescapes?

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Purpose - Consumers are increasingly connected to each other through electronic devices. Consequently, the potential for online retailer (hereafter, e-tailer) initiated communications delivered through electronic media to inspire viral-like e-WOM processes among consumers is also expanding. Microblog postings and e-mails may impact consumers' perceptions of retail web sites (e-servicescape). These perceptions may trigger other outcomes (i.e. greater trust, patronage, or e-WOM) that redound to e-tailers' interests. The first purpose of this paper is to expand online e-tailers' (e-tailers') understanding of how and whether microblog postings affect consumers' e-servicescape perceptions. The second purpose is to investigate how and whether e-servicescape perceptions influence consumers' trust in e-tailers' web sites, patronage of e-tailers, and propensity to engage in e-WOM about e-tailers' messages. Design/methodology/approach - By integrating the e-servicescape construct with the Network Coproduction Model of WOM theory, a model is developed. This model examines how e-communication efforts affect consumers' perceptions of e-servicescape, trust, e-tail patronage and e-WOM. Each relationship is investigated through a consumer survey. Findings - Findings suggest: microblog postings may have a negative impact on consumers' e-servicescape perceptions; retail web site's usability, financial security, customization, and entertainment value positively affect consumers' trust; and consumers' trust positively impacts retail patronage and e-WOM intentions. Practical implications - Prescriptive insights for managing microblogging in ways that more favorably influence consumers' perceptions of e-tailers' e-servicescapes - and subsequently consumer trust in, patronage of, and e-WOM about the retailer and its web site - are developed. Originality/value - The paper is the first to integrate word-of-mouth theory with e-servicescape to test a model examining how microblog postings affect e-servicescape perceptions, consumer trust, consumer retail patronage, and e-WOM intentions.