Key Dimensions on B2C E-Business: An Empirical Study in Malaysia

Key Dimensions on B2C E-Business: An Empirical Study in Malaysia

T. Ramayah, Simona Popa, Norazah M. Suki
DOI: 10.4018/jhcitp.2013040104
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The purpose of this paper is to test and compare two models, which have been popularly used for explaining how users come to accept and use a technology and their behavioral intention. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) is used to analyze customer intention to buy online. By sampling 102 online potential customers in Malaysia, findings indicate that the TRA and TAM are valid models in the prediction of the intention to buy online. Attitude, subjective norm, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use were found to be positively related to purchase intention, with attitude being the more influential predictor. TRA was found to be a better predictor in comparison to the TAM. The main conclusions of this research can be valuable to organizations that sell their products on the Internet.
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1. Introduction

Despite the recent economic slowdown, e-business continues to grow. However, it is not certain if companies adopting e-commerce are actually realizing the benefits or are implementing e-commerce just to remain competitive. The thing is that firms make important investments in the development of costly IT infrastructures to benefit from the real-time connectivity and collaboration capabilities provided by the Internet, and to conduct various types of e-business activities (Hernández-López et al., 2010; Trigo et al., 2010; Nasir & Sahibuddin, 2011). Internet has changed the way business is conducted and one of the emerging uses of the Internet is for shopping. With an increasing affluent community the potential of Internet shopping cannot be ignored (Gonzalvez-Gallego et al., 2010; Soto-Acosta & Meroño-Cerdan, 2008; Petrović et al., 2011). Online shopping provides the advantages of no crowds, no cheeky sales assistants and the possibility of performing shopping comparisons (Whitmore, 1999).

Malaysia’s retail market such as malls shopping, monetary and security sector is changing quickly in its link with information technology. The Internet has become the retail businesses newest distribution channel (Ramayah et al., 2003), though conducting transactions through the Internet is radically different from traditional shopping. Basyir (2000) noted that although e-selling in Malaysia is still in its early stages, although it is growing at a very promising rate. Malaysian e-shops face challenges such as that a small part of the population owns credit cards, low level of Internet users in comparison to other countries and the lack of e-regulation, which has not yet received enough attention from legislators. The issue of security over the Internet is also another barrier for the adoption of electronic commerce (Suki, 2001). Nonetheless, today e-commerce solutions are increasingly secure with many measures in place to ensure as secure an environment as possible.. In order to be the driving force in the Net world, Malaysians need to be ready to face the challenges of the Internet global market. These are the main concerns with regard to the development of e-retailing in Malaysia (Madieha, 2000).

Academics and practitioners widely acknowledge that conducting transactions through a virtual medium is radically different from shopping offline (Alba et al., 1997). Differences come in terms of access and availability of product information (search costs are lower than offline), the greater perceived risk (usually financial, social and performance risk) (Mitchell, 2001; Westland, 2002) and the increased sense of freedom and control when shopping online (Jarvenpaa & Todd, 1997). Three aspects differentiate e-stores from traditional retail stores: the shopping environment is a small screen, distance and time from one shop to another are reduced, and customers have more control over the information they seek (Alba et al., 1997; Menon & Kahn, 2002). However, there are also some disadvantages when buying online. For instance, trial and inspection before buying are not available and, also, hypertext systems may cause navigation problems and disorientation, which may lead to cognitive overload. Hypertext creates a web of connections and offers a very powerful way of organizing and accessing a large body of information. In this regard, although text readers use their whole cognitive ability to understand information, web readers need to use their cognitive ability not only to that but also to make decisions regarding the navigation of the web (Yu & Roh, 2002).

The objective of this paper is to assess which model better predicts the behavioral intention to shop online of potential online buyers in Malaysia. The two research questions that have been forwarded are:

  • 1.

    Can the Theory of reasoned action (TRA) and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) be used to predict the intention to shop online in the Malaysian context?

  • 2.

    If that is the case, which model yields a better predictive power?

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