Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Unity Is Strength: Understanding Users' Group Buying Behavior in Taiwan from a Collectivism Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Electronic Commerce Research

Unity Is Strength: Understanding Users' Group Buying Behavior in Taiwan from a Collectivism Perspective

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Recent e-commerce developments have created new opportunities for marketers to develop innovative selling strategies [Jing and Xie 2011] and provide a diverse range of transaction types for consumers as well. Among the various types of business models emerging, online group-buying constitutes a substantial proportion of the online customer market. Group-buying auctions, such as Groupon, are transaction mechanisms in which buyers are recruited in order to generate volume orders, so as to create a basis for lower transaction prices [Kauffman et al. 2010a]. By the end of 2012, Groupon had 41 million active customers. Moreover, according to the China E-Business Research Center, an independent research institute, the transaction value of the group buying market in China reached US$5.5 billion in 2012 [Statista 2013]. Because online group-buying is a unique phenomenon and more complex than traditional e-commerce models (e.g. business to customers (B2C) or customers to customers (C2C)), group-buying auctions provide interesting and novel opportunities for both practitioners and researchers.

Prior information systems (IS) and marketing researchers have discussed online group-buying in different ways. Some studies have stressed the functionality and usability of group buying systems [Zhu et al. 2010; Tsai et al. 2011]. Their findings show that technological factors such as navigation functionality, communication support and systems quality can enhance the buyers' perceptions of shopping experiences. Some studies have concentrated on determining the basic antecedent variables for group-buying arising from psychological factors [Chen 2012; Shiau and Luo 2012; Cheng and Huang 2013; Wang and Chou 2014]. For example, the reciprocity and reputation of a buying group, the relational and structural embeddedness of initiators, as well as the price consciousness and price sensitivity of buyers have all been analyzed. Other studies have focused on the important role trust plays in affecting group-buying intention [Ku 2012; Shiau and Luo 2012]. Although a substantial number of studies have been carried out to explore the critical factors that affect buyers' purchasing behavior, the present study attempts to address two research gaps by proposing a novel model and empirically testing buyers' purchasing behavior in terms of the group nature of action.

First, since B2C and C2C are characterized as individualistic in nature, whereas group buying auctions are collectivistic [Bin and Sun 2004; Wei et al. 2011; Noh et al. 2013], relatively few studies have examined online group-buying auctions in terms of social and psychological factors from a collectivism perspectives. Online group-buying auctions can be viewed as buyer-driven sites, where buyers can form buying groups by their own initiative to generate volume orders to purchase the products they want. Once enough buyers are recruited to purchase a minimum quantity of products, the auction initiators will negotiate with vendors over prices to get volume discounts [Kauffman et al. 2010a]. Since buyers can leverage their collective bargaining power to lower the prices at which they buy the products, there is no guarantee that all buyers will purchase goods at the lowest prices available in the online group-buying auction [Kauffman et al. 2010a]. Compared with individual intention, collective intention highlights the individual commitment in collectivity and the social nature of group action [Cheung et al. 2011]. However, in prior studies exploring the antecedents of online group-buying behavior [Tsai et al. 2011; Chen 2012; Ku 2012; Shiau and Luo 2012; Cheng and Huang 2013], the construction of an online group-buying model based on the nature of group action has been for the most part neglected. Thus, the present study attempts to address this gap by proposing a model and empirically testing buyers' purchasing behavior from a collectivism perspective.

Furthermore, while past studies have indicated that there is a strong link between trust and purchasing behavior in e-commerce settings, little empirical evidence has been provided in terms of decomposing trust as a multidimensional construct in group-buying environments. …

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