How do online consumers review negatively?

Menghan Sun, Jichang Zhao

Negative reviews on e-commerce platforms, mainly in the form of texts, are posted by online consumers to express complaints about unsatisfactory experiences, providing a proxy of big data for sellers to consider improvements. However, the exact knowledge that lies beyond the negative reviewing still remains unknown. Aimed at a systemic understanding of how online consumers post negative reviews, using 1, 450, 000 negative reviews from JD.com, the largest B2C platform in China, the behavioral patterns from temporal, perceptional and emotional perspectives are comprehensively explored in the present study. Massive consumers behind these reviews across four sectors in the most recent 10 years are further split into five levels to reveal group discriminations at a fine resolution. Circadian rhythms of negative reviewing after making purchases were found, and the periodic intervals suggest stable habits in online consumption and that consumers tend to negatively review at the same hour of the purchase. Consumers from lower levels express more intensive negative feelings, especially on product pricing and seller attitudes, while those from upper levels demonstrate a stronger momentum of negative emotion. The value of negative reviews from higher-level consumers is thus unexpectedly highlighted because of less emotionalization and less biased narration, while the longer-lasting characteristic of these consumers' negative responses also stresses the need for more attention from sellers. Our results shed light on implementing distinguished proactive strategies in different buyer groups to help mitigate the negative impact due to negative reviews.

Knowledge Graph

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