The role of attributes in product quality comparisons

Felipe Moraes , Jie Yang, Rongting Zhang, Vanessa Murdock

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


In online shopping quality is a key consideration when purchasing an item. Since customers cannot physically touch or try out an item before buying it, they must assess its quality from information gathered online. In a typical eCommerce setting, the customer is presented with seller-generated content from the product catalog, such as an image of the product, a textual description, and lists or comparisons of attributes. In addition to catalog attributes, customers often have access to customer-generated content such as reviews and product questions and answers. In a crowdsourced study, we asked crowd workers to compare product pairs from kitchen, electronics, home, beauty and office categories. In a side-by-side comparison, we asked them to choose the product that is higher quality, and further to identify the attributes that contributed to their judgment, where the attributes were both seller-generated and customer-generated. We find that customers tend to perceive more expensive items as higher quality but that their purchase decisions are uncorrelated with quality, suggesting that customers seek a trade-off between price and quality when making purchase decisions. Crowd workers placed a higher value on attributes derived from customer-generated content such as reviews than on catalog attributes. Among the catalog attributes, brand, item material and pack size were most often selected. Finally, attributes with a low correlation with perceived quality are nonetheless useful in predicting purchases in a machine-learned system.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHIIR 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-6892-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event5th ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, CHIIR 2020 - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 14 Mar 202018 Mar 2020


Conference5th ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval, CHIIR 2020


  • Attribute comparison
  • Online reviews
  • Product quality


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