Trust in Online Shopping Behavior

Trust in Online Shopping Behavior

Yongqiang Sun (Wuhan University, China) and Nan Wang (University of Science and Technology of China, China)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0315-8.ch039
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Trust, which dominates the research on online shopping behavior, is relevant to various consumer behaviors across different online shopping stages. To provide a big picture of the research on trust in the online shopping context, this chapter reviews the literature on this topic and summarizes the major research findings. Specifically, trust-related behaviors are identified according to the three online shopping stages: information adoption and information disclosure behavior at the pre-purchase stage, product purchase behavior at the purchase stage, and relational behavior such as electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) and re-purchase at the post-purchase stage. The research topics relevant to these behaviors, including recommendation agent, information credibility, privacy concern, trust building and transfer process, and relationship marketing in the online shopping context are detailed. The future research directions such as location-based services, trust and distrust, and trust repair are also highlighted.
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Online Shopping Stages

Online shopping behavior refers to various consumer behaviors performed during the whole online shopping process on the business-to-consumer (B2C) or the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) websites, including pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase three stages (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Online shopping stages


At the pre-purchase stage, the major task for consumers is to seek information about products and sellers through a variety of channels such as product description, news, third-party report, recommendation agents and consumer reviews, etc. Further, to get personalized information services, consumers may be asked to provide personal information (e.g., gender, education, age, and income, etc.) and their transaction history may also be traced. Thus, information is the key issue at the pre-purchase stage, and information adoption and information disclosure are two kinds of consumer behavior occurring at this stage.

At the purchase stage, after learning the information about products and sellers, consumers begin to engage in making decision on if or not to purchase the product from the seller. For the transaction to be completed, consumers need to confirm their orders, select the delivery approach, and more important, pay for the purchased products. However, consumers may be worried about whether the products can work as expected (e.g., performance risk) and whether the online payment is safe enough (e.g., financial risk). At this stage, consumers’ decision making focus on the transaction and the product purchase behavior is the most relevant behavior.

The behavior at the post-purchase stage is closely associated with customer relationship management. Different from offline shopping in which word-of-mouth (WOM) is diffused through interpersonal communications, online shopping facilitates the electronic WOM (eWOM) via posting consumer comments on the websites. For example, and in U.S. both empower consumers with the right to share their transaction experience and express their opinions. Furthermore, another important post-purchase behavior is consumers’ re-purchase behavior. From the relationship marketing view, retaining a customer is more important than attracting a new customer, indicating that keeping relationship with customers is critical for the sustainability of an online store (Morgan & Hunt, 1994). Therefore, the centric issue at the post-purchase is about the relation.

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