The Mediating Role of Virtual Experience in Online Purchase Intentions

The Mediating Role of Virtual Experience in Online Purchase Intentions

Y. Ken Wang (University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, USA) and Pratim Datta (Kent State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/irmj.2010100104
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Abstract

Research and practice underscore the importance of online (web-based) virtual reality applications that mimic product interactions in the physical world and its consequence of end-user decision making. This study examines a model that traces how certain characteristics of online virtual reality applications increase virtual experience, subsequently contributing to online purchase intentions. Virtual reality applications are demarcated by their ability to empower consumers with control and their ability to richly render content. Findings from the empirical study reveal the growing importance of demand-centric virtual reality application design where manipulation and control is more important than the richness of the content. It is seen that online virtual reality applications that offer a perceived level of manipulation and control elevate consumer experience more than just the rendering and delivery of rich condition, subsequently aiding consumer purchase intentions. The study offers new insights into how virtual reality applications should be designed and deployed to guide consumer decision making in an online environment.
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Ii. Literature Review

Research on consumer decision making in virtual environments has gained popularity and credence in both marketing and information systems literature (Jiang & Benbasat, 2004; Li, Daugherty, & Biocca, 2002; Suh & Lee, 2005). It is not uncommon to find that various threads of investigation have often drawn on virtual experience as a central construct in observing consumer behavior (Klein, 2003; Schlosser, 2006). In this section, we review the previous literature on virtual experience and provide our understanding of virtual experience.

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