Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Online Purchase Delay: The Roles of Online Consumer Experiences

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Online Purchase Delay: The Roles of Online Consumer Experiences

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Online shopping has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade, and has the potential to grow continually [Song & Kim 2012]. However, unlike those shopping in traditional offline stores, online shoppers execute transactions without meeting a seller [Ye et al. 2013]. Online shopping is a remote transaction [Hsu et al. 2007; Poddar et al. 2009] that can cause asymmetric information [Ghose 2009; Román & Cuestas 2008]; thus, consumers may hesitate before making purchasing decisions (hereinafter called online purchase delay), preferring to search for supplementary information online and compare alternative products [Chen & Chang 2003; Haubl & Trifts 2000; Jensen et al. 2003; Teo 2006].

Online purchase delay can be defined as active consumer postponement of a decision to buy a product or service over the Internet [Greenleaf & Lehmann 1995; Tversky & Shafir 1992; Walsh et al. 2007]; this delayed decision may harm both e-tailers and consumers. For e-tailers, online purchase delay postpones or prevents cash flow, negatively affecting their profits [Walsh et al. 2007]. For consumers, purchase postponement increases costs because of the time and effort spent searching for and processing information [Walsh et al. 2007], only to potentially abandon the purchasing decision. Thus, determining methods of preventing and overcoming online purchase delay is critical; whereas, previous studies [Cho et al. 2006; Kukar-Kinney «fe Close 2010; Walsh et al. 2007] have discussed preventing purchasing delay, few have explored methods of overcoming it.

Online consumer experiences (OCEs) are defined as psychological and emotional states that consumers experience while interacting with products online [Li et al. 2001]. Because OCEs cause positive product knowledge, brand attitudes, and purchasing intentions [Daugherty et al. 2008; Li et al. 2002; Li et al. 2003; Suh & Lee 2005], it was proposed that OCEs may facilitate overcoming online purchase delay.

Previous studies have classified OCEs as indirect and virtual experiences based on their ability to "control the message" [Daugherty et al. 2008; Li, et al. 2001; Li et al. 2002; Li et al 2003]. However, such classification requires elaboration. The concepts of social cues [Wang et al. 2007] and interpersonal communication [Liu «fe Shrum 2002] also deserve consideration. "Interactivity" is a key feature of Web sites [Ghose «fe Dou 1998; Sicilia et al. 2005; Song «fe Zinkhan 2008] and can be classified as both a form of human-message interactivity (HMI) and humanhuman interactivity (HHI). HMI is the ability of the user to control and modify messages [Ariely 1998; Steuer 1992], which is similar to the basis of traditional OCE classification (i.e., controlling the message). HHI is the two-way, reciprocal communication between senders and receivers [Cho & Cheon 2005; Ko et al. 2005], involving social cues and interpersonal communication. Therefore, based on the concept of interactivity, this study proposed reclassifying OCEs by using HMI (i.e., high or low HMI) and HHI (i.e., high or low HHI).

Despite proposing that OCEs overcome the negative outcomes of online purchase delay, this study determined that two critical variables may moderate the effects of OCEs. The first possible moderating variable is desire for control (DC), which is a stable personality trait reflecting the extent to which people are motivated to control the events in their lives [Burger & Cooper 1979]. Based on Controlling the Information Flow Theory [Ariely 2000], consumers who exhibit a high level of DC may prefer high levels of HMI. The second possible moderating variable is consumer susceptibility to interpersonal influence (CSII), which is the need to identify with or to enhance personal image in the opinion of others by acquiring and using products and brands, demonstrating willingness to conform to the purchasing expectations of others, or learning about products and services by observing or seeking information from others [Bearden et al. …

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