The experiments will be conducted in March 2023. We will recruit 5,000 adult participants which represent internet users in Japan. To recruit participants, we ask an internet survey firm to send an email that asks about their willingness to participate in the online survey for online shopping with the survey periods and the fact that the survey will be conducted by academic researchers. The e-mail also informs the candidate respondents that they will be awarded 250JPY equivalent points and that a small number of them will be given the product they choose in the survey or additional points. Then, the survey firm will send e-mails with the URL of experimental websites to people who accept participating in the survey. Emails containing the URL of the experimental website are sent by the firm to candidate respondents until the obtained response can reach the target number which represents Japanese Internet users by gender and age.
The website first asks the participants about their experience in online retail. Then, the website asks respondents to choose the most wanted products or none of the products are wanted for a category of products in pages that simulate an online retail store. We pick digital cameras, headphones, and smartwatches as categories of products of store pages. We pick 10 digital cameras, 30 headphones, and 30 smartwatches for each product list, respectively. The order of categories is randomized.
The simulated store pages consist of three levels: a product listing page, a product details page, and a page displaying all reviews.
On the first level page, we show a list of products in one category. In the product list, we show the product's name, the average user rating score, the number of reviews, and the picture of the product. When respondents click on the "see details of a product" button, the website shows the 2nd level page of the product. Once the respondents proceed to the 2nd level page and return to this page, the first level page adds the "None of them are wanted" button at the top of the product list. The "None of them are wanted" button leads respondents to the "confirmation page".
On the second level page, the detail of the product contains the specifications of the product and five reviews for the product with ratings for the review. The product detail page has three buttons. The first one is the "return to the list" button, which proceeds the respondents to the first level page. The second is the "choose it" button, which proceeds respondents to the confirmation pages. The third is the "None of the products are wanted" button. The fourth is the "review is helpful" button. The fifth is "see more reviews", which proceeds respondents to the third level page. The product detail pages also may show two-sided presentations by respondents' assigned treatment.
On the third level page, we show 10 reviews and a two-sided presentation. The third level page has two buttons. The first is the "return to the page before", which proceeds respondents to the 2nd level pages. The second is the "review is helpful" button.
When the respondents proceed to the confirmation page, we show the "confirm" button and the "back to the product page" button or "back to the product list page" depending on the previous page. Once respondents push the "confirm" button, the website does not allow respondents to back to previous pages.
We randomize participants on the two sources of information, three orders of products, three orders of reviews, whether the product page contains a two-sided presentation of reviews or not, and whether the product page contains a warning message against the existence of
incorrect or misleading reviews.
After the three product categories choice experiments, we ask the respondents about their impressions and their experience of the websites, along with their experience and perceptions concerning their use of online shopping and the Internet.