Corporate Reputation and C2C Websites: An Exploratory Approach

Corporate Reputation and C2C Websites: An Exploratory Approach

Amira Trabelsi Zoghlami (ISCCB, University of Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia), Karim Ben Yahia (ESSECT, University of Tunis, Tunisia) and Mourad Touzani (NEOMA Business School, Rouen, France)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/IJOM.2016100101
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Abstract

Exchanges between Internet users have clearly increased with the proliferation of social networks. That has revalorized Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) Websites which represent an important information source for clients. With the increase of actors in C2C markets, the reputation of the company is a fundamental element for internet users' choices. The objective of this research paper is to identify the factors that can affect the companies' reputation whose products are sold by consumers in C2C websites. A qualitative study was conducted. This study is based on the analysis of ads' content of two Tunisian C2C websites as well as interviews with C2C websites' users. The results highlight the determinants of companies' reputation in C2C websites: quality of the classified advertisements, quality of the C2C website, price and electronic word-of-mouth (as a receiver). All these elements affect companies' reputation in C2C website users' mind. This reputation can also have consequences, such as electronic word-of-mouth (as a sender) and intention to buy the companies' products in the future.
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2. Literature Review

2.1. Understanding the Consumer-to-Consumer

The exchange between private individuals began to expand especially further to the emergence of technologies which were able to offer new opportunities of exchange between consumers. Internet plays a major role in C2C development. Internet is an important tool for information exchanges and communication with transactions’ actors. C2C transactions concern all activities connecting two private individuals: a seller and a buyer (Mu, 2015). It includes online auctions, classified ads, discussion forums and chat rooms (Jones & Leonard, 2008). Exchanges between consumers can be transactional or relational (Gruen et al., 2005). Most studies focused on the relational context of C2C exchanges, especially exchanges in discussion forums. Bagozzi and Dholakia (2002) assert that exchanges between participants on virtual communities could have several values: an economic value related to ideas’ sharing for a cost cut or an increase of income, a second social value obtained further to the experiences and stories’ sharing and a third personal value related to the encouragements between communities’ members. So, resources shared by communities’ members can be cognitive, emotional or materials (McAlexander et al., 2002). If, at first, exchanges between Internet users are transactional and utilitarian, they become, over time, more relational getting social, intellectual, emotional and/or economic values (McAlexander et al., 2002).

Considering the complexity of these exchanges, companies have not much control over the information exchanged between consumers. The researches on C2C do not bring more answers, they are often focused on the informative exchanges between consumers on discussion forums (Bagozzi & Dholakia, 2002; Hagel & Armstrong, 1997; Kozinets, 2002; Gruen et al., 2005) and the notion of risk-taking (Flanagin & Metzger, 2007). It is, then, fundamental to understand the role played by C2C websites in determining the corporate reputation.

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