It is without doubt that the internet has advanced in recent years, and with it new online systems such as social media have been developed. This has enabled individuals to easily interact, share and access information. Social media has grown to become a key factor in marketing, and firms are using it to enhance their brand popularity, increase sales, enhance communication, share business information and for social support to consumers. In addition, social media interactions by individuals is thought to have a positive impact on trust. This has developed a great interest by researchers to study consumer behaviors and see how it affects customer's intent to buy goods and services online.
A study was conducted and published by M Nick Hajli in the International Journal of Market Research in 2014 to determine the role of social factors on an individual's trust which can influence a person's intent to buy a product online.
The study focused on 4 areas: how social media can influence trust in eCommerce, the relationship between trust and intent to buy, the relationship between trust and the perceived usefulness of a site with intent to buy and lastly the direct and indirect influence of social media on trust and intention to buy.
From this four areas, researchers studied and intended to answer this questions:
Does Use of Social Media Affect Consumers Trust?
Results showed that social media has a strong effect on trust; therefore, interactions of individuals through social media yield trust in eCommerce. This shows that when an individual interacts with peers through social media, they are likely to develop trust in the vendors and in social media itself and therefore are likely to buy from this vendor.
Does Perceived usefulness of a Website affect the user’s intention to buy?
The results also showed that perceived usefulness of a site encourages people using social media to buy. This clearly shows that when an individual gets quality of information from a site, they are more likely to make a purchase from that site. Therefore, business should ensure their websites are of high quality, user-friendly design and provide the required information to attract more customers.
It was also realized that perceived usefulness of a site had a higher impact than trust on individual’s intent to buy products online. Therefore, a quality website will work wonders in influencing individuals to buy from a site.
Which one is better, perceived usefulness or trust, in determining user's intention to buy?
Lastly, it was found out that trust had some effect on perceived usefulness of a site. Which describes that individuals who developed trust on a website also perceived usefulness of the site, and that increased the intentions for them to buy from the site. Therefore, trust has a significant impact on eCommerce by directly influencing intentions to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.
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