How Content Factors Influence the Performance of Online Product Listings



The importance of the Internet as a commercial platform is ever-growing. With more and more firms selling vast amounts of products, competition becomes increasingly fierce. Today, success in the online retail environment hinges not only on offering superior products, but on their effective presentation. While previous research has examined the influence of various web design content factors on consumer response and firm performance, these studies typically focus on a limited set of content factors and a single business context. Research on the impact of multiple content factors across contexts is missing, but highly important for firms to be able to tailor listings for individual products. To bridge this gap, we collaborate with an online content production company and four major international manufacturing firms. Using 16 large-scale lab experiments, we investigate the simultaneous effects of thirteen content factors on the performance of different product listings. We then conduct a meta-regression to identify the relative importance of specific factors, determine product characteristics that strengthen or weaken their effects, and provide managers with concrete guidelines for their online retail strategies.