Luxury foods can be described as those that offer the refinements in texture, taste and nutrient content because of their quantity and quality. Luxury foods are very fascinating, and the products themselves signify prestige and status. Social networking is all about expanding the number of ones social contact by making connections through individuals. Social networking has gone viral in the 21st century with the basis of networked communication, which came about with the invention of World Wide Web in 1991. According to Berthon (2012, p.266), the rising culture of connectivity has allowed the creation of online communities who interact over the internet using email services and instant messaging. This has enhanced interconnectedness through time and space allowing users of the internet to share and access lots of information, ideas and events. Conforming to Reigner (2007, 436), with the rise in social networks, a new era of content creation has emerged, where individuals can easily share experiences and information with other users.
This development has enabled the collaboration of consumers and businesses on the internet through social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Whatsapp among others.
According to Kietzmann and Canhoto (2013, 150), word-of-Mouth is an oral personal communication between a communicator and a recipient. Here, the recipient is regarded as non-commercial or uninformed regarding a particular brand, product or a service. According to Chen (2015), with the rapid growth of the internet has evolved word-of-mouth has shifted to a new form of interaction; electronic Word-of-Mouth. With this new form of interaction communication between potential or actual client is made available to a multitude of people and institutions via the internet. Unlike the Word-of-Mouth system that is more traditional eWOM is faster and provide a platform in which consumers can post their opinions, comments and reviews of products on weblogs, discussion forums, review websites, newsgroups and social networking sites.
In their analysis, Christy and Dimple observe that Electronic Word of Mouth is vital in shaping consumers attitudes and behaviors. According to Lee, DoHyung Park, and Ingoo (2004), social networking sites, in particular, has been seen to take the center stage in affecting the attitudes of hundreds of millions of users in brand awareness as it allows two-way communication between consumers regarding product related content. Through already established contact individuals can be a source of reliable opinion providers, information seekers or providers. Key findings show that online reviews influence consumers buying decisions.
According to the researchers, the desire for social interaction, desire for economic incentives, concern for other consumers, and the potential to enhance their own self-worth are the primary factors leading to eWOM behavior. Web connectivity has allowed information to spread much faster and broader. Lee, Park, and Han (2008) positive and negative reviews inform the consumers intention and emotional trust to shop online. Trust constitutes a major psychological barrier to the adoption of electronic commerce. Hennig-Thurau et al. (2004), product and service providers are subject to critique through e-WOM based on their consistency, credibility, and integrity. Bad feedbacks are seen to have a great impact on the oval satisfaction of a product or service. Dissatisfied consumers are mostly engaged in e-WOM behavior compared to satisfied consumers.
It is important to note that e-WOM plays an important role in influencing consumer decision on purchases. Chen (2015), decision making by the consumers is directly related to the level of importance a consumer places on the acquisition of the specific product. Kim, Ferrin, and Rao (2008), consumer are therefore often faced with a large number of alternatives on developing their strategies for decision making. The difficulty of the consumers decision is influenced not only by the elements at the task but also by how the information is provided in the environment. Conforming to Gesenhues (2013), consumers are most likely to make decisions based on the information provided as experienced by others.
Berger, Sorensen, and Rasmussen (2010) examined the positive effects of negative publicity; when negative reviews increase sales. They found that popular wisdom suggests that negative publicity often hurts. However, they corroborate with this sentiment and casts further doubt on any publicity is good publicity. Cheung and Lee (2011), in the findings negative publicity about a product, has been shown to hurt everything from product and brand evaluation. This, however, is not the case in other products. They give an example about a brand of wine described as stinky socks that saw its sale increase by 5% after a prominent wine website reviewed it. Negative publicity usually has positive effects by increasing a product's awareness or accessibility.
Online reviews allow consumers of luxury food to share their emotions in their own particular, natural way about the product as well as an update on the new trends. According to Chen and Chun (2015), taking part in social activities as well as group discussions on social networks greatly shapes the consumer's decision on purchase. Buying decisions are usually already influenced by what consumers hear or see online.
Negative publicity of luxury food also plays an important role in their marketing and sales. An example is the Kopi Luwak coffee that is the worlds most expensive coffee. The coffee is said to make a long journey before it is brewed. It is said that small cat-like animals called luwaks eat the ripe coffee cherries, including the coffee bean. The bean the makes its way through the cat's digestive system until it ends up back on the forest floor where workers collect and clean these beans to create the coffee.
Berger, J., Sorensen, A., & Rasmussen, S. (2010). Positive Effects of Negative Publicity: When Negative Reviews Increase Sales. Marketing Science, 29(5), 815-827. http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1090.0557Berthon, Pierre R. et al. 'Marketing Meets Web 2.0, Social Media, And Creative Consumers: Implications For International Marketing Strategy'. Business Horizons 55.3 (2012): 261-271. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
Chen, Hua-Ning, and Chun-Yao Huang. 'An Investigation Into Online Reviewers' Behavior'. European Journal of Marketing 47.10 (2013): 1758-1773. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
Chen, Cheng-Hao et al. 'Exploring Electronic Word-Of-Mouth (Ewom) In The Consumer Purchase Decisionmaking Process: The Case Of Online Holidays Evidence From United Kingdom (UK) Consumers'. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing (2015): 1-18. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
Chen, Yubo, Scott Fay, and Qi Wang. 'The Role Of Marketing In Social Media: How Online Consumer Reviews Evolve'. SSRN Journal 25.2 (2011): 85-94. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
Cheung, C., and Lee, M., (2008). Online consumer review: Does Negative Electronic word of mouth hurt more? AMCIS proceedings paper 143
Gesenhues, A., & Gesenhues, A. (2013). Survey: 90% Of Customers Say Buying Decisions Are Influenced By Online Reviews. Marketing Land. Retrieved 7 December 2015, from http://marketingland.com/survey-customers-more-frustrated-by-how-long-it-takes-to-resolve-a-customer-service-issue-than-the-resolution-38756
Hennig-Thurau, Thorsten et al. 'Electronic Word-Of-Mouth Via Consumer-Opinion Platforms: What Motivates Consumers To Articulate Themselves On The Internet?'. Journal of Interactive Marketing 18.1 (2004): 38-52. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
Kietzmann, J., & Canhoto, A. (2013). Bittersweet! Understanding and Managing Electronic Word of Mouth. Journal Of Public Affairs, 13(2), 146-159. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pa.1470Kim, D., Ferrin, D., & Rao, H. (2008). A trust-based consumer decision-making model in electronic commerce: The role of trust, perceived risk, and their antecedents. Decision Support Systems,44(2), 544-564. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dss.2007.07.001
Lee, Jumin, DoHyung Park, and Ingoo Han. 'The Different Effects Of Online Consumer Reviews On Consumers' Purchase Intentions Depending On Trust In Online Shopping Malls'. Internet Research 21.2 (2011): 187-206. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.
Lee, J., Park, D., & Han, I. (2008). The effect of negative online consumer reviews on product attitude: An information processing view. Electronic Commerce Research And Applications, 7(3), 341-352. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.elerap.2007.05.004Reigner, Cate. 'Word Of Mouth On The Web: The Impact Of Web 2.0 On Consumer Purchase Decisions'. J. Adv. Res. 47.4 (2007): 436. Web. 4 Apr. 2015.
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