نفوذ ویژگی های تجاری اینترنت در پذیرش تجارت الکترونیکی توسط مصرف کنندگان
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|21059||2010||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, Volume 9, Issue 6, November–December 2010, Pages 562–575
Taking the Theory of Planned Behavior as a theoretical framework, this study analyzes how commercial features of the Internet determine its adoption as a sales system. In particular, the study examines the influence of product perception, shopping experience, information provided or the level of risk perceived on the adoption of B2C e-commerce. The results show that attitudes toward e-commerce, subjective norm and perceived risk are the main factors that affect the decision to purchase from electronic retailers. Moreover, the results show that the influence of the commercial features of the Internet is mediated through attitudes toward e-commerce.
The Internet’s capacity to access, organize and communicate information in a more efficient way has brought about new formulas for the relationship between consumers and firms. New economic agents and new business models have emerged too. In this way, the development of e-commerce offers great opportunities for both manufacturers and retailers, but it also presents important challenges for organizations, demanding an in-depth review of marketing strategies and consumer knowledge (Goldsmith and Bridges, 2000 and Jones and Vijayasarathy, 1998). In this context, this research analyzes the features of e-commerce that determine its adoption by final consumers and leading Internet users to purchase online. In particular, this study is carried out from a commercial perspective in contrast to the technology-oriented approach, which has been the main topic of e-commerce literature. This technology-oriented approach is based on the diffusion of innovations theory (Rogers, 1983, Rogers, 1995, Mathieson, 1991, Moore and Benbasat, 1991 and Taylor and Todd, 1995) and focuses on the technological attributes of e-commerce (Davis, 1989 and Davis et al., 1989). Thus, this research line, the most well-developed in the e-commerce and online consumer behavior literature, adopts a technical perspective taken from information system (IS) research. It has been specifically developed to test the acceptance of management software in organizational settings. Therefore, most studies regarding online shopping acceptance consider mainly functional attributes of the Internet as a sales system (e.g., its perceived “usefulness”, “ease of use” or “compatibility”). These studies very rarely include commercial attributes of online shopping. However, from a marketing perspective (both academic and practical), this latter approach is much more relevant than the technological one. Thus, when consumers decide to purchase on the Internet they are making a commercial decision, and it should be based on commercial variables, such as the attributes of the channel or the system with respect to other shopping alternatives. Additionally, beyond the identification of the commercial attributes that may affect the adoption of e-commerce by final consumers, it is particularly important to determine and to model how this influence is produced. Therefore, the adoption of a commercial approach will provide useful insights into the variables that must be developed and highlighted by firms when designing their marketing strategy online. Besides, the studies that have focused on the commercial characteristics of the Internet as a sale system have adopted diverse theoretical approaches and have obtained contradictory results. Thus, most authors that have adopted this perspective only consider specific characteristics of the Internet as a sales system. They do not provide an integrative and complete frame of its commercial attributes (Donthu and García, 1999, Li et al., 1999, Morganosky and Cude, 1999, Swaminathan et al., 1999, Teo et al., 1999, Bakos and Brynjolfsson, 2000, Goldsmith, 2000, Goldsmith and Bridges, 2000, Childers et al., 2001, Goldsmith and Lafferty, 2001, Liao and Cheung, 2001, Brynjolfsson et al., 2003, Joines et al., 2003 and Cho, 2004). Moreover, the theoretical approaches adopted in these studies are very diverse, including retail choice criteria (Swaminathan et al., 1999 and Meuter et al., 2000), motivational research (Korgaonkar and Wolin, 1999 and Joines et al., 2003), attitudinal research (Goldsmith, 2000, Goldsmith and Bridges, 2000, Goldsmith and Lafferty, 2001, Limayem et al., 2000, Liao and Cheung, 2001 and Cho, 2004) and utility-based microeconomic modelling (Bakos and Brynjolfsson, 2000 and Brynjolfsson et al., 2003), which have given rise to mixed and confusing results. Additionally, most of the studies mentioned do not provide a theoretical model of how Internet commercial attributes influence online consumer behavior. Those that tackle this research question have obtained contradictory results (Jarvenpaa and Todd, 1996, Jarvenpaa and Todd, 1997, Podlogar, 1998 and Vijayasarathy and Jones, 2000). However, in order to really understand the online purchasing adoption process, it is necessary to develop and empirically test a global behavior model that integrates electronic commerce attributes. Thus, the attributes of the Internet as a sales channel must be considered in relation to other behavioral variables such as attitudes towards e-commerce or intention to purchase online. Also given the scarce and contradictory evidence available regarding this issue, additional research is needed to identify the complete set of relevant commercial features of e-commerce and, especially, to model how these variables influence consumers’ online shopping behavior. Accordingly, in this research we take as a basis the classification of the attributes of the Internet as a sales system, as proposed by Jarvenpaa and Todd (1996), to analyze the influence that aspects such as product perceptions, shopping experience, quality of services delivered or level of risk perceived have on the adoption of B2C e-commerce. We thus intend to determine the commercial aspects that have a direct impact on the e-commerce acceptance process. Moreover, we aim to propose and validate a global and integrative model to explain the way these features influence the intention to purchase online. Additionally, the effects of users’ social demographic characteristics on their online purchasing behavior are also analyzed in order to identify the differences in the purchasing and consumption process among the different user categories. In this sense, although many studies have indicated that users’ social demographic characteristics affect e-commerce acceptance (Dahlén 1999, Donthu and Garcia 1999, Korgaonkar and Wolin, 1999, Li et al., 1999, Morganosky and Cude, 1999, Bhatnagar et al., 2000 and Kau et al., 2003), these variables have rarely been included in a global model of online shopping behavior. Therefore, additional research is still needed to clarify how users’ social demographic characteristics influence e-shopping behavior. The Theory of Planned Behavior (Schifter and Ajzen 1985) has been adopted as the framework for our research so that we can apply a solid theoretical basis. Both its widespread use in the existing literature and its tested capacity to explain the e-commerce adoption process (Limayem et al., 2000, Gentry and Calantone, 2002, Khalifa and Cheng, 2002, Hsu and Chiu, 2004, Keen et al., 2004, Luarn and Lin, 2005, Bosnjak et al., 2006, Lee et al., 2007 and Liao et al., 2007) are the reasons for our choice of this model. We intend to provide three main contributions with respect to the existing literature: (1) to identify the set of relevant attributes of e-commerce, considered from a commercial perspective, that influence Internet shopping behavior; (2) to propose and validate a global and integrative model to explain the way these features influence the intention to purchase online; and (3) to examine the moderator effect of consumers’ social demographic characteristics on their online purchasing behavior. We start our study with a description of the Theory of Planned Behavior, focusing on the empirical evidence obtained within the framework of e-commerce. We also carry out a review of the relevant existing literature regarding the influence of Internet commercial features and users’ social demographic characteristics on the adoption of e-commerce. In each case, we lay out the relevant research hypotheses, which together give rise to an overall B2C e-commerce acceptance model. Subsequently, we describe our methodology and the results obtained from a sample of regular users of the Internet. Finally, we discuss the most relevant conclusions of the study and the corresponding implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This research analyzes the features of e-commerce determining its adoption by final consumers and leading Internet users to purchase online. In particular, this study is carried out from a commercial perspective in contrast to the technology-oriented approach that is the main topic of e-commerce literature. Thus we departed from the technology-oriented approach that focuses on the technological attributes of e-commerce, and we focused our research on commercial attributes of online shopping, which are much more relevant from a marketing perspective. Based on an exhaustive review of the existing literature, we developed and examined a global and integrative model of how Internet commercial attributes influence online consumer behavior. While previous research has mainly tested direct effects of Internet attributes on attitudes towards e-commerce and online purchasing intention, in this research we have proposed a structural model that includes the causal interrelations between the constructs examined. This approach is particularly relevant from an academic and practical perspective, as it provides greater insight into online purchasing behavior. Thus, proposing and testing a global behavioral model allows us not only to identify which are the relevant explanatory variables, but also to determine how they influence behavior. Additionally, the effects of users’ socio-demographic characteristics on their online purchasing behavior are also analyzed. Thus, these variables are examined as moderators of the influence of Internet commercial attributes on online shopping behavior. We offer three main contributions: (1) to identify a more complete set of relevant attributes of e-commerce, considered from a commercial perspective, that influence Internet purchasing behavior; (2) to propose and validate a global and integrative model to explain the way these features influence the intention to purchase online; and (3) to examine the moderator effect of consumers’ socio-demographic characteristics on their online purchasing behavior. For this purpose we considered two basic theoretical frameworks: the Theory of Planned Behavior and the classification of the commercial attributes of the Internet as proposed by Jarvenpaa and Todd (1996). We proposed an online purchasing model that includes the effects of four attributes of the Internet as a sales system: perceptions about the products supplied, shopping experience, information access and perceived risk. The empirical evidence obtained from our research supported the validity of the model to explain online purchasing behavior. In particular, general attitude toward the system was found to be the main factor determining the future intention to purchase from online intermediaries. Likewise, subjective norm – which reflects third parties’ influence – and perceived risk were found to have a significant effect on the online purchasing decision. However, the results obtained highlight the fact that perceived behavioral control had no significant effects on the adoption of online shopping. On the one hand, this could be due to the fact that, while perceived low control could be an obstacle to online purchasing, perceived high control – as happens in this case – does not appear to encourage online purchasing. Likewise, the fact that this variable lacked influence on online shopping intention can be explained according to flow theory. As Hoffman and Novak (1996) noted, individual abilities and challenges perceived must be balanced and exceed the minimum limit in order to produce a feeling of flow. Thus, a high level of ability at or control over online purchasing can lead the user to feel bored or unmotivated, since no challenge is perceived. As far as the antecedents of attitudes towards the Internet as a sales system are concerned, only product perceptions, shopping experience and risk perception were found to have a significant effect. Thus, consumers’ attitudes towards e-commerce were influenced first of all by the degree to which they consider online shopping as a positive experience. In this sense, perceived compatibility was the main factor determining their shopping experience. Therefore, in order to accept e-commerce, consumers’ must find this behavior coherent with their previous values and habits. Moreover, consumers’ opinion with respect to online shopping experience also depended on the degree to which they perceived this behavior as enjoyable and easy to carry out. The second main determinant of attitudes towards e-commerce is the perception about the value of the products available on the Internet. The empirical evidence that we obtained shows that quality and variety of products supplied were the main factors conditioning users’ perceptions about the product offer, while price seems to be less important. Thus, consumers develop a more positive opinion towards online purchasing to the extent that they perceive that they can find the products desired through this channel and that these products are of an appropriate quality. On the other hand, and despite the price advantage traditionally attributed to e-commerce, price does not seem to be such an important aspect when consumers evaluate the product offer available on the Internet. However, based on the empirical evidence we obtained, the risk perceived in virtual transactions was a less important determinant of Internet purchasing acceptance. Perceived risk in e-commerce exerts a negative and statistically significant influence both on attitudes towards Internet purchasing and on intention to purchase online, but this effect is of limited intensity. These results are remarkable, as they contrast with the traditional assumption that perceived risk is the main barrier to the acceptance of Internet purchasing and introduces an interesting insight for the understanding of e-commerce acceptance. Thus, uncertainty or risk perceived in e-commerce negatively influences the development of virtual transactions, but this effect seems to be minor in comparison with other factors, such as attitudes or commercial attributes of the Internet as a sales system. Meanwhile, easy access to information had no significant effects on users’ opinion of e-commerce. Although consumers may use the Web as a source of shopping information, this does not necessarily mean they have positive attitudes toward e-commerce or that they shop online. Thus, the use of the Internet would support the search for information for a posterior transaction from conventional retailers, but not to purchasing online. Therefore, apart from its usefulness as a source of information, the decision to purchase from online retailers will mainly depend on users’ estimations of some factors directly related to the purchasing process, such as available products or their personal experience during the purchasing process. Finally, the empirical evidence obtained from our study also highlights the fact that users’ socio-demographic characteristics have different effects on their decision to purchase from online shops. For instance, users’ gender and education were found to have a significant effect, whereas their age and occupation were not found to be so relevant. In particular, gender and education significantly affect the formation of users’ attitude towards the system and the antecedents of perceived commercial features. On the other hand, age and occupation only affect the importance of specific antecedents of product perceptions and shopping experience. The results obtained from our research project show some important contributions for the management of e-commerce companies. In particular, an in-depth understanding of the online purchasing process could be quite useful for determining those strategies and actions that better fit customers’ needs and demands. This, in turn, could help online retailers both to attract new customers and to win current customers’ loyalty. Thus, an effort must be made to improve users’ perception and their general attitudes towards electronic commerce and online shopping. The marketing strategies of online companies must aim not only at improving their own image and their volume of customers, but also at encouraging e-commerce in general, since this is the only way to guarantee future business growth. The first condition for consumers to purchase online instead of using traditional channels is to have a positive attitude towards electronic commerce in general. On the other hand, other people’s opinions are also found to affect to some extent users’ online purchasing behavior. This fact has implications for marketing strategies, regarding how they approach customers and what kind of customers they are directed to. Thus, marketing strategies leading to the spread of e-commerce must not be bound exclusively to potential users of online shops, but they must also reach the whole social system. In particular, groups such as relatives, friends and colleagues may influence consumers’ decision to purchase online by means of their comments and recommendations, based either on their own experiences with the medium or on a more general and indirect opinion. Additionally, this influence can be informative or normative, and may be exerted through personal conversations or through electronic channels, such as virtual communities or social webs. The reduction of online risk perception – a factor that has been traditionally considered to be one of the main obstacles to Internet shopping – is another relevant aspect for acceptance and diffusion of e-commerce among end-users. Even though this research shows its effects are not as relevant as initially thought, risk perception is still a relevant obstacle to purchasing from online retailers. Online companies’ efforts to promote users’ trust in e-transactions still have to be improved. In this sense, firms selling through the Internet must increase the security in their commercial processes, both from a technological and a logistic perspective. The former includes the implementation and reinforcement of protocols and applications to reduce financial and privacy risk in virtual transactions such as digital signature, encryption algorithms, and secure payment gateways. The latter, logistic security, implies the application of procedures aimed to guarantee the physical conservation of products during the delivery process, for example, transport monitoring, insurance and product quality guarantees. Additionally, the sellers’ brand and the development of a trustworthy reputation could be two fundamental factors concerning competitiveness. Thus, consumers will purchase through the Internet if they consider that the channel, and particularly a specific vendor, is secure enough, and they will select those virtual shops with the reputation of being secure. In the case of small companies with few resources to generate a trustworthy image, association strategies could be adopted both by gathering users into larger online shopping centres (e.g., MileHiMall.com) or by affiliating users to large sites backing the security of transactions (e.g., eDressMe.com). As far as the commercial features of the Internet as a sales system are concerned, online retailers should direct their strategies towards the supply of value-added products and the implementation of purchasing procedures, so that customers can have a satisfactory experience. Online sellers should, related to their general marketing strategy, offer customers a wide variety of quality products, including exotic or rare items, difficult to find in traditional markets, and at an affordable price. Thus, accessing products not easily available from offline retailers may be an increasingly important motive to purchase on the Internet (e.g., specialized goods and services, technical products, personalized products, or foreign brands), despite the risk perceived in the channel. Regarding shopping experience, online companies should avoid those systems, procedures or software applications implying a radical change in users’ previous habits or personal values. For that purpose many online shops are designed emulating the structure of traditional shops, with different departments and shopping carts (e.g., Amazon.com, Macys.com), so that customers can feel more comfortable. Likewise, online intermediaries should develop simple purchasing procedures, and promote and highlight ease-of-use and speed of e-transactions compared to traditional shops. Moreover, they should develop enjoyable purchasing procedures leading to greater competitiveness compared to other online sellers. Finally, online intermediaries should be aware of the existence of relevant differences in online purchasing behavior according to customers’ socio-demographic characteristics. The heterogeneity of potential customers’ behavior should be taken into consideration for the development of more efficient specific strategies, and for the adaptation of product supply and purchasing procedures to the needs of the different groups of customers. In spite of the systematic methodology applied, our research also shows some limitations. First, there is the definition of behavior itself, since we analyze the beliefs and attitudes regarding the decision to purchase any kind of product from online intermediaries. We do not refer to any specific product or service categories, so the results of our research could be affected. However, our choice to consider e-commerce from a general perspective implies the search for a global online purchasing pattern not considering the effects of specific product categories. Nevertheless, the effects that both specific product categories and their corresponding characteristics have on the online purchasing decision would be interesting to study in future research. In particular, an analysis of the differences in the procedures relating the online purchasing of goods and services would be especially relevant. Likewise, from a methodological perspective, the dependent variable used also constitutes a limitation to our study. Online shopping intention was subjectively measured through users’ perceptions of their own behavior. Even though this method is frequently used in e-commerce research (Taylor and Todd, 1995 and Chau, 1996), other possible approaches have also been proposed. Some authors suggest the use of objective measures such as actual behavior (Szajna 1996), whilst others (Thompson et al. 1994) recommend the use of both kinds of measures so that the relationship existing between them could be compared. In accordance with this limitation, future research analyzing the coincidence between the online purchasing intention and users’ subsequent actual behavior would be interesting to conduct. Finally, the conclusions we reached motivate a number of questions for future research related to online purchasing. For instance, an analysis of the effects of specific product categories on the adoption of e-commerce should be performed. Also more specific aspects of online buyers’ attitudes should be studied. For instance, the mechanisms buyers use to search for information, the criteria determining their choice of online shops or how users behave when surfing the Internet and purchasing from commercial webs, among others, would be interesting factors to examine.