Understanding Customer Motivation to Share Information in Social Commerce

Understanding Customer Motivation to Share Information in Social Commerce

Yen-Hao Hsieh (National Formosa University, Taiwan) and Ya-Ting Lo (Tamkang University, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/JOEUC.20211101.oa19
Article PDF Download
Open access articles are freely available for download


The gradual emergence of social commerce is enhancing the development of businesses. The opinions exchanged and information shared by each consumer in the community affects consumers’ purchasing decisions and participation behaviors. This study established a consumer information sharing model in social commerce based on the theories of social exchange and communication ecology. Data were collected from 204 respondents and PLS technique was used to analyze the data. The results indicated that reciprocity and community participation exhibited a significantly positive effect on information sharing. Reciprocity and community participation also had partial mediation effects on the consumer–community and consumer–platform relationships.
Article Preview

1. Introduction

The gradual emergence of social commerce is enhancing the development of business platforms that combine community communication and product transactions. Group buying websites (e.g., Groupon Reserve, LivingSocial Gourmet, GOMAJI, and Gilt City) are one such type of platform and product review platforms (e.g., Yelp and TripAdvisor) are another. These social media platforms bring together consumers that have the same purchasing needs and product purchasing experiences. Consumers can discuss the characteristics, use experience, and shopping experience concerning a certain product or brand through the platforms (Cheng & Fang, 2015). These platforms attract consumers and encourage them to share their personal opinions and experiences; other consumers can browse the content, which helps them resolve their doubts about a product.

Social commerce combines the concepts of community and e-commerce. Consumers can score, comment, and recommend products. Enterprises establish trust relationships through interactions with consumers (Esmaeili, Mutallebi, Mardani, & Golpayegani, 2015; Gecti & Zengin, 2013; Habibi et al., 2014) and improve consumers’ sense of belonging through experience exchanges and information sharing (Laroche, Habibi, Richard, & Sankaranarayanan, 2012; Qin & Kong, 2015). Consumers who identify with and join a community tend to be willing to share personal experiences with other community members (Hajli et al., 2017; Khan, 2017; Liang & Turban, 2011; Zhang, Guo, Hu, & Liu, 2017). In the United States, 70% of online shoppers trust the recommendations of their relatives and friends; 46% of online shoppers trust the online reviews of other consumers (Qin & Kong, 2015). Therefore, the recommendations of relatives and friends, the experience sharing of netizens, and the grading results of social commerce profoundly affect consumer purchasing decisions (Hajli & Sims, 2015; Phillips, 2011).

Consumers usually make purchasing decisions on the basis of information collection, product functions, and price comparisons (Maria & Finotto, 2008). Cheng & Fang (2015) demonstrated that 77% of consumers read blog content before purchasing products and 74% of consumers search online consumer reviews. Chen & Shen (2015) proposed that approximately 83% of consumers share shopping information with netizens and nearly 67% of consumers make purchasing decisions on the basis of the recommendations of netizens. In addition, nearly 85% of consumers, whether online or in physical stores, browse the personal experiences shared by consumers online (Liu, Cheung, & Lee, 2016). For products exhibiting unclear functions or high unit prices, consumers may have anxiety and doubts about these products and consequently never purchase them.

If consumers have reviewed the detailed product descriptions on official websites or in marketing advertisements and still have doubts about the products, they then tend to accept the personal experiences shared by other consumers, considering those use experiences to be real and objective (Qin & Kong, 2015). Therefore, a tremendous number of sponsored posts have become common on social media platforms. Enterprises use the popularity and reputations of bloggers and YouTubers to market products or brands (Raetzsch, 2015). However, most of the articles or videos shared by bloggers and YouTubers directly refer to the official product introduction rather than including comments from the perspective of consumers and also lack explanations of product flaws and specific suggestions. These inadequacies lower consumers’ trust in bloggers and YouTubers and lead consumers to believe that the information is being provided for commercial purposes and is not objective (Williams & Hodges, 2016).

Complete Article List

Search this Journal:
Volume 34: 5 Issues (2022): 4 Released, 1 Forthcoming
Volume 33: 6 Issues (2021)
Volume 32: 4 Issues (2020)
Volume 31: 4 Issues (2019)
Volume 30: 4 Issues (2018)
Volume 29: 4 Issues (2017)
Volume 28: 4 Issues (2016)
Volume 27: 4 Issues (2015)
Volume 26: 4 Issues (2014)
Volume 25: 4 Issues (2013)
Volume 24: 4 Issues (2012)
Volume 23: 4 Issues (2011)
Volume 22: 4 Issues (2010)
Volume 21: 4 Issues (2009)
Volume 20: 4 Issues (2008)
Volume 19: 4 Issues (2007)
Volume 18: 4 Issues (2006)
Volume 17: 4 Issues (2005)
Volume 16: 4 Issues (2004)
Volume 15: 4 Issues (2003)
Volume 14: 4 Issues (2002)
Volume 13: 4 Issues (2001)
Volume 12: 4 Issues (2000)
Volume 11: 4 Issues (1999)
Volume 10: 4 Issues (1998)
Volume 9: 4 Issues (1997)
Volume 8: 4 Issues (1996)
Volume 7: 4 Issues (1995)
Volume 6: 4 Issues (1994)
Volume 5: 4 Issues (1993)
Volume 4: 4 Issues (1992)
Volume 3: 4 Issues (1991)
Volume 2: 4 Issues (1990)
Volume 1: 3 Issues (1989)
View Complete Journal Contents Listing