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Consumer information search and credence services: implications for service providers
– The purpose of this paper is to examine the involvement levels and the information search activity of consumers purchasing credence services, in terms of the extent of the search and the information sources used.
– A survey was undertaken (n=400) examining consumers ' information search practices for a range of credence services in comparison to non-credence services (search and experience services).
– Involvement in the search process is high in terms of importance but not interest. Somewhat surprisingly, consumers of credence services do not undertake a more comprehensive information search than non-credence service purchasers in terms of the use of external sources of information. They do, however, depend more on the opinion of salespeople, the experience of friends and the content of consumer reports.
– The results of this study differ from similar work that was previously undertaken with students and also in the USA. It would be useful to establish more strongly whether age and culture have an impact on information search.
– This is the first time that the information search patterns of consumers of credence services have been undertaken for a wide range of common purchases in the UK. It is also original in this area of research in that it utilises a cross section of the population and not students. Its findings are important to the providers of credence services when considering their marketing communications campaigns because it reveals which marketing communication tools are considered by the consumer to be influential.
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