Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

Factors Affecting Re-Usage Intentions of Virtual Communities Supporting Cosmetic Products

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

Factors Affecting Re-Usage Intentions of Virtual Communities Supporting Cosmetic Products

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The business world has assumed that virtual communities (VC) can be leveraged to provide access to consumers and consumer data (Spaulding, 2010). According to the summary report of the Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC) in July 2016, the Internet use rate in Taiwan was up to 84.8%, whereas the VC use rate was up to 64.4%, thereby implying that VC gained the attention of Internet users. By contrast, the growth rate of VC from 2015 to 2016 increased 30%, thus indicating a promising business opportunity. Participation in a VC is related to the delivery of a variety of services to users within all sectors, to computer-supported collaborative tasks within information services, and to both informal and formal activities for professional updating, learning, and development (Levy, 1997). Pai and Tsai (2011) found that VC participation significantly enhances consumer loyalty intentions. Accordingly, applying VC in communication with online customers can be a significant approach for strategy planning.

A cosmetic-related VC is often provided on a cosmetic-related website, such as a customer forum. For example, UrCosme (https://wwwurcosme.com), the first cosmetic-related portal site in Taiwan, allows cosmetic users to share their experiences in cosmetic product use. Currently, 103,700 articles of usage experience and 74,465 cosmetic product data are accumulated in its database, and 442,257 members have registered. UrCosme provides rich information about cosmetics and beauty care, which members can browse through before shopping. When buying cosmetic products, most consumers search for related information on the Internet, such as blogs and cosmetic-related websites, before making a decision (Insightxplorer, 2013). Compared with TV and magazines, cosmetic websites affect consumer purchase intentions the most, and after searching for cosmetic information online, more than 40% people would like to purchase afterward (Insightxplorer, 2013). Therefore, we consider that understanding the determinants of re-usage intention related to this kind of VC is important for encouraging customers who continuously wander in a cosmetic-related VC. Industries that want to apply VC as a marketing tool to perform marketing activities can then have a specific guideline for strategic planning.

Many theoretical models, such as the technology acceptance model (TAM), theory of reasoned action (TRA), and theory of planned behavior (TPB), have been applied to examine human behavioral intentions. Davis (1989) indicated that these models could successfully predict the acceptance of an innovation at about 40%. Superior to these models is the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology model (UTAUT), a technology innovation acceptance model that can account for an impressive 70% of the variance in behavioral intention and 50% of actual usage (Venkatesh, Thong, & Xu, 2012). Thus, the authors of this study were motivated to use UTAUT as the theoretical framework to conduct an empirical study using cosmetic-related VC (an IT-based and self-supported business application) as the research context. The specific purposes of this study were: (1) to understand whether or not UTAUT can provide a solid theoretical basis for examining VC re-usage in cosmetics web business; (2) to investigate the factors affecting VC members' VC re-use intentions; and (3) to determine the potential moderating effects of demographic variables. Answers to these questions can assist industries to solve business promotion problems and to design a more effective online marketing strategy.

The remainder of this paper presents first the relevant studies on VC, the UTAUT model, and an overview of cosmetic products sales in the Literature Review section. In the Methodology section, we present the research method including our research model, development of the hypotheses, questionnaire design, and data-collecting process. We discuss in detail the analysis results in the Analysis and Result section. …

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