Research - IWM

Our research focuses on how firms can create value to their customers and ultimately value to the firm through products and services (value equity) and their customer relationship management efforts (relationship equity). We are especially interested in new business opportunities in digitalized environments. Below you find the information about some recent research projects.

  • The Value of Social Shopping Tools

    Social shopping tools (SST) are instruments which enable consumers to exchange information online with other consumers (e.g. friends). The information which is exchanged might include product ratings which allow customers to find out what other people think of the products in which they are interested. Other instruments afford customers an opportunity to go shopping with their friends. In such cases the screens of all the persons concerned are displayed.

    Social shopping tools are used to offer customers a social shopping experience on the internet. Previous studies have shown that when people go shopping they want to do more than buy products. They want to spend their spare time with friends and acquaintances.

    Online traders make use of social shopping tools in order to satisfy their customers' social needs. It is still unclear whether the use of these instruments has an impact on customer profitability. However, initial findings show that active users of social shopping tools generate a much higher volume of sales than passive users or non-users. Even when the possibility of self-selection effects is taken into account, the impact of social shopping tools is still visible. We may therefore conclude that it pays off to integrate shopping tools into commercial websites.

    Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiesel, Dr. Sonja Gensler, Sascha Leweling 

    Contact person: Dr. Sonja Gensler

  • The Digital Sentiment Index (DSI)

    Would you like to know what consumers say about your products, service or brand when they are online? The odds are that you would because comments posted by consumers reflect their opinions. What is more, such comments influence buying decisions taken by other consumers. Just think about the way you look for information when you are toying with the idea of buying a product. Do you read product ratings or other comments posted on the Internet? User-generated content provides a wealth of information and shows you how your products, brand or service are considered on the market.

    Traditional numerical data such as the number of likes on Facebook or the number of followers on Twitter are easy to collect, but they do not provide managers with structured insights into the views held by consumers. In order to be able to manage products, services and brands successfully, companies require extremely precise data. It is therefore important to collect comments made by consumers on various internet platforms (e.g. Amazon, Facebook, Twitter), and it is equally important that such data be carefully processed and presented in a readily understandable manner.

    With this end in view we have developed a digital sentiment index (DSI) which reflects the way consumers feel about a product, a service or a brand. Data from the most important internet platforms are bundled and summarized in a single index number. The data in question are collected in such a way that they can easily be assigned to major competitors in distinct markets.

    The digital sentiment index was developed in co-operation with a company called Oxyme ( and is currently being employed in order to analyse data relating to over a hundred brands in Germany, the USA, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden.

    Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiesel, Dr. Sonja Gensler, Dr. Joep Arts, Simon Monske 

    Contact person: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiesel

    Further information about the practical implementation of the Digital Sentiment Index (DSI) can be found here:

  • Eye Tracking Lab

    The Institute for Value-Based Marketing has had an eye-tracking lab since August 2013.

    Funds have been invested in new research projects which are currently under way at the Institute for Value-Based Marketing. Some of the money has been spent on eye-tracking devices which can be used in consumer research (both in e-commerce and in situations where consumers are moving around). We have purchased a mobile eye tracker (SMI RED-m Remote) which functions in conjunction with a laptop or a desktop computer, and we have also acquired a few pairs of eye tracking glasses which a test subject can wear while moving around. The Institute for Value-Based Marketing has already begun work on research projects in which the eye tracker is being used to collect data.

    Would you like to take part in one of our experiments as a guinea pig? Or would you like to join our research team? If so, we'd be delighted to hear from you.

    Contact person: Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiesel