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 social media affect user’s trust?
- Does Perceived usefulness of a site and trust affect the user’s intention to buy?
- Which factors, perceived usefulness or trust, are more important in determining user’s intention to buy.
Participants recruited in the study were from London, UK who were social networking mainly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There were invited to fill in online questionnaires sent to their emails.
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.
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