Swift Trust in Web Vendors: The Role of Appearance and Functionality

Swift Trust in Web Vendors: The Role of Appearance and Functionality

Xin Li (University of North Carolina at Pembroke, USA), Guang Rong (Clemson University, USA), Michelle Carter (Clemson University, USA) and Jason Bennett Thatcher (Clemson University, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-577-3.ch005


With the growth of product search engines such as pricegrabber.com, web vendors have many more casual visitors. This research examines how web vendors may foster “swift trust” as a means to convert casual visitors to paying customers. We examine whether perceptions of website’s appearance features (normality, social presence and third-party links) and functionality features (security, privacy, effort expectancy and performance expectancy) positively relate to swift trust in a web vendor. Using a quasi-experimental research design, we empirically test the proposed relationships. Based on an analysis of 224 respondents, we found appearance and functionality features explained 61% of the variance in swift trust. The paper concludes with a discussion of findings and implications.
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Literature Review And Model Development

Trust is a complex and abstract concept. Although defined differently in many literatures, trust most commonly refers to ones willingness to depend on another based on the expectation that the other has the attributes to be trusted (Mayer, Davis, & Schoorman, 1995). Trust is driven by 1) risk and uncertainty in relationships, 2) the trusting party’s vulnerability, and 3) his/her expectations of the trusted party. When these drivers are present, an individual must extend trust to another for a relationship to exist.

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