Investigating Crowdfunding Success as a Signal for Enhancing Trust in Sustainable Product Features
Crowdfunding has been discussed as a tool to acquire resources, a way to communicate information to potential investors, and to test the market potential of entrepreneurial projects. Yet, little is known how successful crowdfunding influences consumers’ perceptions about a product or its features. We assume that mentioning a successful crowdfunding campaign in a product advertisement can provide valuable quality signals. Such signals are particularly relevant for sustainability-oriented products because sustainability attributes are often not directly accessible to potential consumers. Based on a 2 (crowdfunding: yes vs. no) × 3 (product category: low complexity vs. medium complexity vs. high complexity) experimental study (n=530), we find that signaling crowdfunding success has a significant influence on product perceptions and on the credibility of sustainability attributes. Furthermore, we show that the effects of this signal depend on different levels of product complexity.