Title: Social shopping communities as an emerging business model of youth entrepreneurship: exploring the effects of website characteristics

Authors: Hong Zhang; Yaobin Lu; Ping Gao; Zhenxiang Chen

Addresses: School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430074, China ' School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, 430074, China ' Institute for Development Policy and Management, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK ' Wuhan Yangtze Business University, Wuhan, 430065, China

Abstract: This paper focuses on the social shopping community (SSC), an emerging e-commerce business model of youth entrepreneurship that generates revenues through facilitating online purchase. We develop a model based on the stimulus-organism-response (S-O-R) framework and use it to investigate how website characteristics, which we describe as sociability and self reference, of social shopping environment influence consumers' cognitive and emotional trust in SSCs, as well as how trust in turn affects their purchase intention. The results of our survey of 405 members of Meilishuo, a Chinese SSC, indicate that sociability and self reference features significantly influence cognitive and emotional trust, and in turn the likelihood and magnitude of online purchase. Moreover, the emotional trust plays a greater role in influencing consumers' intention to purchase through the SSC than cognitive trust, and participant involvement moderates the relationship between trust and purchase intention. This work contributes to our understanding of the dynamics that govern consumer behaviour in SSCs and adds to the broader line of research on social commerce. It also provides insights into how young entrepreneurs can tap the economic values of social commerce.

Keywords: social shopping; youth entrepreneurship; website characteristics; emotional trust; cognitive trust; sociability; personalisation; self reference; purchase intention; S-O-R framework; stimulus-organism-response; young entrepreneurs; e-commerce; electronic commerce; business models; online shopping; consumer behaviour; social commerce.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.2014.064987

International Journal of Technology Management, 2014 Vol.66 No.4, pp.319 - 345

Available online: 31 Aug 2014 *

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