eBay communities make participants better buyers and sellers: Study

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WASHINGTON - Customers of eBay who participate in the company’s online communities become more conservative buyers and more selective and efficient sellers, a new study from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business has found.

To do this, the researchers started with data from a yearlong study of 13,735 new eBay Germany customers. (The authors noted that eBay Germany is set up almost exactly as eBay in the United States.)

The eBay study found that the company’s e-mail marketing campaign inviting people into its community pages was a success; however, after analyzing the eBay data, Rice researchers found that customers who went to the eBay community site became more conservative buyers and more selective and effective sellers by virtue of becoming educated on the eBay process and hearing from others in the community.

The study found that customers invited via e-mail to participate in the community were about 23 percent more likely to participate as compared with a control group of customers not invited to participate.

“The fact is that people became more educated about buying and selling,” co-author of the study and associate professor of marketing, Sharad Borle, said.

“While some of the community pages on eBay have nothing to do with buying or selling and more to do with social interaction, people still became smarter about the process of online merchandising.”

The study has been published in the journal Marketing Science. (ANI)

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