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Abstract

This research examines the influence of recommendations on consumer decision making during online shopping experiences. Evidence from two empirical studies suggests that many online consumers seek and accept recommendations in order to effectively manage the amount of information available during online search processes. These findings suggest that consumers use the mere availability of peer recommendations as a decision'making heuristic, irrespective of the peer recommender's personal characteristics. Findings also suggest that consumer preference for peer versus editorial recommendations depends on the specific nature of the consumer's shopping goal: utilitarian or hedonic. Finally, results from this study indicate that consumers prefer peer and editorial recommendations over other types of effort-reducing cues that might be available during online search. As such, retailers must consider a number of factors including recommender characteristics, shopping goals, and product characteristics in their bid to provide consumers with the appropriate type of recommendation for their respective decision-making task.