A study of the impact of social media on consumers

In te r n a tio n a l J o u rn a l o f M a r k e t R e se a rch V o l. 5 6 Issue 3
A study of the impact of social media
on consumers
M. Nick Hajli
Birkbeck, University o f London
Social media have provided new opportunities to consumers to engage in
social interaction on the internet. Consumers use social media, such as online
communities, to generate content and to network with other users. The study
of social media can also identify the advantages to be gained by business. A
multidisciplinary model, building on the technology acceptance model and
relevant literature on trust and social media, has been devised. The model has been
validated by SEM-PLS, demonstrating the role of social media in the development
of e-commerce into social commerce. The data emerging from a survey show how
social media facilitate the social interaction of consumers, leading to increased
trust and intention to buy. The results also show that trust has a significant direct
effect on intention to buy. The perceived usefulness (PU) of a site is also identified
as a contributory factor. At the end of the paper, the author discusses the results,
along with implications, limitations and recommended future research directions.
The advancements in the internet in recent years have made new systems
available to business: social media such as online communities being a
good example (Lu et al. 2010). The general availability of the internet has
given individuals the opportunity to use social media, from email to Twitter
and Facebook, and to interact without the need for physical meetings
(Gruzd et al. 2011). This has been facilitated by Web 2.0 applications.
Web 2.0 is a new advancement, which has transferred the internet to a
social environment by introducing social media, where individuals can
interact and generate content online (Lai & Turban 2008). Web 2.0
has emerged to give users easier interconnectivity and participation on
the web (Mueller et al. 2011). With the rise of social media and online
Received (in revised form): 25 January 2013
© 2 0 1 4 T h e M a rk e t R esearch S o c ie ty
DOI: 10.2501 /U M R -2014-025
A study of the impact of social media on consumers
communities, individuals can easily share and access information (Chen
et al. 2011a). Online communities and social networking sites (SNSs)
are an effective web technology for social interactions and sharing
information (Lu & Hsiao 2010). SNSs take centre-stage in e-commerce in
the current environment (Fue et al. 2009), where consumers make social
connections and participate in cyberspace (Mueller et al. 2011). Today’s
consumers have access to many different sources of information and
experiences, which have been facilitated by other customers’ information
and recommendations (Senecal & Nantel 2004). This is an important
point as customer involvement through social media is a key factor in
marketing (Do-Hyung et al. 2007).
Social media offer different values to firms, such as enhanced brand
popularity (de Vries, Gensler &c Leeflang 2012), facilitating word-of-mouth
communication (Chen et al. 2011b), increasing sales (Agnihotri et al.
2012), sharing information in a business context (Lu & Hsiao 2010)
and generating social support for consumers (Ali 2011; Ballantine &
Stephenson 2011). In addition, the networking of individuals through
social media provides shared values, leading to a positive impact on
trust (Wu et al. 2010). Today, with the expansion of social media and
SNSs, a study of consumer behaviour on these platforms is a research
agenda (Liang & Turban 2011) because social media are likely to develop
marketing strategies in firms through trust-building mechanisms and
affecting customers’ intention to buy online products.
The main thrust of this paper focuses on examining the role of social
factors on trust, which can influence an individual’s intention to buy. An
understanding of this issue can aid in identifying factors that establish
trust and social commerce intention through SNSs. This paper has
four objectives. First, the study examines how social media – namely
online forums, communities, ratings and reviews – can influence trust
in e-commerce. Second, it looks at the relationship between trust and
intention to buy. Third, this research examines the relationship between
trust and perceived usefulness (PU) of a site on intention to buy. In
conclusion, it examines the direct and indirect influence of social media on
trust and intention to buy. To these ends, the study presents the following
1. Do social media in social networking sites affect the user’s trust?
2. Do PU and trust affect the user’s intention to buy?
3. Which factors (PU or trust?) are more important in determining the
user’s intention to buy?
In te r n a tio n a l J o u rn a l o f M a rk e t R e se a rch V o l. 5 6 Issu e 3
To answer these questions, the study borrows from technology acceptance
model (TAM) constructs, along with concepts of trust, social media and
social support to build up an interdisciplinary model. The purpose of
this research is to investigate the role of social media and how they can
influence the consumer’s intention to buy and impact on a user’s trust in a
social commerce environment.
The paper is organised as follows. First, a literature review is provided
to identify the issues and gaps in the current literature that have driven
this study. The next section provides the research model and hypotheses.
The paper continues with research methodology and the structural model.
Finally, theoretical and managerial implications for the study are presented,
along with limitations, future research directions and conclusions.
Literature review and theoretical background
With the advances in the internet and the emergence of Web 2.0, the
interconnectivity between individuals has expanded on the internet.
This development enables customers and businesses to collaborate on
the internet (Füller et al. 2009). This has emerged through social media,
which enable consumers to generate content and have social interactions
online via social platforms. There are a number of social platforms that
have facilitated information sharing. For instance, Wikipedia, a free online
encyclopaedia, is one of the most popular platforms and has the facility
for users to collaborate on information sharing (Chen et al. 2011a). Other
platforms with the ability to generate reviews and ratings, such as Amazon,
com, enable customers to review and rate products. In addition, members
of these platforms are cooperatively interdependent (Chris et al. 2008).
By using social media, consumers can create content and offer valuable
advice to others (Füller et al. 2009). This new development has seen online
communities and an electronic network of individuals emerge on social
platforms where members share information globally and quickly (Molly
McLure & Samer 2005).
With the rise in social networks, a new era of content creation has
emerged, where individuals can easily share experiences and information
with other users (Chen et al. 2011a). The next generation of online
businesses will be based on communities – a good tool for new customer
attraction (Bagozzi & Dholakia 2002; Ridings & Gefen 2004). Online
communities offer an opportunity to organisations to have a better
customer relationship management system (Ridings & Gefen 2004), for
instance, giving rise to a new development where businesses can improve
A study of the impact of social media on consumers
performance. Moreover, on those platforms where consumers have social
interaction, members can become familiar with one another, providing a
possible source of trust (Lu et al. 2010). This can greatly influence users’
intention to buy (Gefen 2002). Consequently, it is important for companies
to have a business model adapted to social commerce (Lorenzo et al. 2007;
Liang &c Turban 2011). Social commerce is a new stream in e-commerce,
which encourages the social interaction of consumers through social media
(Hajli 2013). Social media provide opportunities for businesses to become
more attractive universally (Chen et al. 2011b). Although social commerce
and social media are key phenomena in e-commerce and the marketing
literature, few studies, if any, have examined the concepts of trust and
users’ intentional behaviour. In the next section the literature related to
the model of study maps out the theoretical foundation of the research.
P erceived usefu lness
Perceived usefulness (PU) is one of the main constructs of the technology
acceptance model (TAM) (Davis 1989). Users’ acceptance of computing
facilities was one of the initial developments of this theory (Davis et al.
1989). The theory has since been developed by many scholars in different
areas (Adams et al. 1992; Gefen & Straub 2000; Gefen et al. 2003; Pavlou
2003; Hajli 2013; Kim 2012). TAM argues that constructs have a strong
influence in the acceptance of systems by a user (Pavlou 2003). The original
definition of perceived usefulness by Davis (Davis 1989) is ‘the degree to
which a person believes that using a particular system would enhance his
or her job performance’. It is one of the main reasons why people are
receptive to new technology (Davis 1989). The constructs introduced by
TAM can be applied in a wide range of ways (Adams et al. 1992). These
can also be used to predict consumer behaviour in e-commerce (Gefen
& Straub 2000; Pavlou 2003). TAM is among the popular theories in
Information Systems (IS) as it emphasises intention to use a system. Its
instruments have been validated in different research (Pavlou 2003).
In the present study, only perceived usefulness and intention to buy have
been selected as main factors to develop the proposed model. One of the
main reasons for omitting perceived ease of use from the present study is
that, it is argued, this construct has an indirect effect on user acceptance
through PU (Gefen & Straub 2000). Previous researchers have been
consistent in arguing that PU has a positive direct effect on acceptance
of a system (Gefen &c Straub 2000; Pavlou 2003). There are different
aspects that define PU in an e-commerce environment. For instance, the
In te r n a tio n a l J o u rn a l o f M a rk e t R e se a rch V o l. 5 6 Issue 3
quality of a website in terms of system, service and information quality
has a significant impact on perceived usefulness, which in turn encourages
consumers to buy (Ahn et al. 2007). Businesses can concentrate on
information, service and system quality to improve their websites, and also
enhance perceived usefulness in their consumers (Ahn et al. 2007).
T h e use o f social m e d ia p la tfo rm s to g e n e ra te social s u p p o rt
Today a large number of social media platforms have been developed that
smooth the progress of sharing information and generation of content in
an online context (Chen et al. 2011a). There are a number of social media
that facilitate these activities, such as Wikipedia, Facebook, YouTube
and Twitter. Individuals apply different social media tools, such as online
forums and communities, recommendations, ratings and reviews, to
interact with other users online. In fact, individuals are attracted online to
exchange information and receive social support (Ridings & Gefen 2004).
Reviews are one of the key areas that have emerged from social media.
Customer reviews are widely available for products and services, generating
great value for both consumers and companies (Nambisan 2002). In fact,
consumers are actively encouraged by firms to rate and review products
and services online (Bronner & de Hoog 2010). These activities produce
electronic word of mouth. This word of mouth, produced through social
media, helps consumers in their purchasing decisions (Pan & Chiou 2011).
Research shows that customer reviews have grown quickly on the internet
(Chris et al. 2008). Amazon.com is a good example of using customer
reviews, with almost 10 million available (Do-Hyung et al. 2007). Online
communities and forums are other examples of social media. Online
communities are now a place to share information and gain knowledge
about products and services (Chen et al. 2011a). Recommendations are
another tool widely used by potential customers. Research has shown that
potential consumers are more interested in other users’ recommendations
rather than merely vendor-generated product information (Ridings &
Gefen 2004). Hence, such interactions, provided through social media,
help increase the level of trust and reduce perceived risk.
Virtual worlds as electronic environments are another important
development of Web 2.0, a new way of generating and sharing information
on the internet (Mueller et al. 2011). They facilitate human interactions for
social and commercial purposes. One of the main characteristics of virtual
worlds is learning by doing, which enables users to learn and practise in
the virtual space (Mueller et al. 2011). However, with the widespread use
A study of the impact of social media on consumers
of social media where individuals can easily post information and accounts
of their experiences, the quality of content posted by anonymous users has
become a challenge (Chen et al. 2011a). The anonymity of some users is a
concern in deciding on the quality of information provided and the content
shared by consumers (Chen et al. 2011a).
Towards these ends, when individuals join online communities and
participate in a group, they seek social support and friendship in the
community (Ridings & Gefen 2004). The perceived care, love and support
of members of a group is defined as social support (Cobb 1976). Research
shows that online communities and SNSs generate both informational
and emotional support (Ballantine & Stephenson 2011). Emotional and
informational support are two dimensions of social support in an online
context (Liang et al. 2011). Twitter is a good example, where individuals
provide social support for other users (Gruzd et al. 2011). It may also
attract many individuals to come online to search for information through
these social media. Moreover, the study of social media is useful to see
how individuals form their social interactions on the internet (Gruzd et al.
2011). These social interactions have been facilitated by social media such
as online forums, communities, ratings, reviews and recommendations, all
of which produce online social support. These are likely to increase the
trust in e-commerce for vendors and buyers alike.
Trust is a cornerstone in developing e-commerce. In a business-to-consumer
relationship, trust in the e-vendor is important in assessing risk in the
transaction (McCole et al. 2010). Trust plays an important role in
e-commerce (Aljifri et al. 2003). There are different definitions of trust,
which are based on different dimensions of benevolence, integrity, ability,
competence and empathy (Gefen 2002; McKnight et al. 2002; Gefen
et al. 2003). There are also two-dimensional measurement scales for
trust, competence and benevolence competence, leading to brand trust
(Li et al. 2008). However, all definitions and dimensions refer to risk and
uncertainty in the online environment. Benevolence and credibility are
the two main dimensions of trust (Ba & Pavlou 2002) upon which this
research is based. Credibility-based trust refers to the belief that the other
party in a transaction is reliable and relies on reputation information,
while benevolence refers to repeated seller-buyer relationships (Ba &
Pavlou 2002). Therefore, in this research, trust is viewed in the context
of transactions over the internet through SNSs and online communities.
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Trust in peers on the network and trust in the SNSs themselves will also
be considered. In the context of online communities, trust can facilitate
the interaction of individuals and encourage them to stick to their current
Research model and hypotheses
The research proposes a research model, as shown in Figure 1, to examine
the relationships between the constructs of this research, namely social
media, trust, perceived usefulness and intention to buy in SNSs.
Effect of social media
The interconnectivity of consumers through social media such as
communities, reviews or recommendations is likely to establish trust in
e-commerce. In SNSs, the social interaction of consumers helps their peers
to develop or reject trust in a provider. Consumer socialisation occurs
through social media directly by social interactions among consumers,
and indirectly by supporting product involvement (Wang et al. 2012).
The social relationship of consumers generated through social media
significantly affects the perceived trust of consumers (Pan & Chiou 2011).
The interactions on these platforms generate social support. Social support
generated through social media therefore influences trust (Weisberg et al.
2011). In addition, more positive comments, feedback and higher ratings
lead to a higher level of trust in a vendor (Ba & Pavlou 2002). Reviews
are perceived to be useful, and affect attitude and intention to buy in
consumers through the impression created about a product or service
(Purnawirawan et al. 2012). The results of previous research show that
Figure 1 T he research m o d e l
A study of the impact of social media on consumers
the quality and quantity of information produced by customer reviews
influence intention to buy through increased trust (Do-Hyung et al. 2007).
Therefore, this research postulates the following hypothesis:
HI: Social media have a positive effect on the user’s trust.
Effect o f trust
Trust and perceived security in SNSs play an important role in attitudes
towards shopping (Jiyoung 2009). Research shows members of SNSs can
assure each other through their information exchange and experience, thus
increasing trust and, consequently, willingness to buy (Han & Windsor
2011). Trust in the transaction and the network influences the online
purchaser (McCole et al. 2010), and enhances intention to buy (Lu et al.
2010; Shin 2010). Therefore, trust plays an important role in the proposed
model of this research. The relationship between trust and perceived
usefulness is also positive, and trust increases certain features of PU (Gefen
et al. 2003). Previous research shows that trust will positively affect PU
(Gefen et al. 2003). Moreover, trust plays a key role in determining both
a consumer’s behavioural intentions and actual behaviour (Gefen et al.
2003; Ming-Hsien et al. 2009; Shin 2010). Social media and the emergence
of Web 2.0 can help customers to reduce their risk and increase social
trust. Applications on Web 2.0 and social media, such as customer ratings
and reviews, as well as participation in SNSs, would be a good solution to
overcome this barrier. Apparently, interactions among the connected users
in SNSs increase trust (Swamynathan et al. 2008) and trust is an important
determinant in considering a consumer’s intention to buy (Gefen 2002;
Roca et al. 2009). In fact, the more trust perceived by consumers, the more
likely their intention to buy (Han & Windsor 2011). Therefore, trust is
likely to affect intention to transact (Pavlou 2003). Consequently:
H2: Trust of individuals in SNSs has a positive effect on intention
to buy.
H3: Trust positively affects PU.
Effect o f perceived usefulness
Research shows that perceived usefulness affects users’ intentions to use
e-commerce (Gefen &c Straub 2000). It is also argued that, in SNSs, the
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user’s perceived value of online connection has a significant positive effect
on their willingness to pay other members of SNSs (Han & Windsor
2011). PU plays an important role in e-commerce and it is likely to have
a positive impact on the social commerce environment, too. The results
of research on shopping in SNSs shows that the more consumers shop in
SNSs that they perceive to be useful, the more intention they have to buy
in SNSs (Jiyoung 2009). Hence, the research postulates this hypothesis:
H4: The site’s perceived usefulness has a positive effect on the
user’s intention to buy on SNSs.
Research m ethodology
The study conducted a survey on individuals in order to validate the
proposed model. The study was conducted through online and paper
questionnaires. The participants are mostly resident in the UK and London
(85%), although the research attracted some international participants.
Instrument development
This research developed a questionnaire, using a 5-point Likert-scale from
1 = Strongly disagree to 5 = Strongly agree. The items in the questionnaire
were adopted from previous research to increase the validity of the study.
Trust, one of the key constructs of the model, has been investigated in
many previous research papers. In this study, trust measures trust in
SNSs and peers in these networks. Social interaction measures the activity
of individuals through online communities, forums, ratings, reviews
and recommendations. Perceived usefulness, the other construct of the
research, was measured by the effectiveness of a site’s technology. This
included ease of navigation and ease of searching on the website (Gefen
et al. 2003). The dependent variable of this study is intention to buy. This
construct measures the user’s willingness to purchase on SNSs and their
intention to buy through SNSs.
Data collection
The questionnaire was distributed in London, UK. The author also
developed an online questionnaire and invited participation through
email. The target individuals were members of social networking sites such
as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedln. The author excluded non-member
A study of the impact of social media on consumers
participants. A total of 500 emails and 300 paper questionnaires offered
237 usable questionnaires for use. Participants ranged from 18 to 45 years
old: 60% men and 40% women.
Research method
The present study uses structural equation modelling (SEM). SEM is a
popular approach in social science (Anderson & Gerbing 1988; Bandalos
2002). In SEM, the author uses a partial least square method (PLS) – a
good way of managing complex data in a low-structure situation (Esposito
Vinzi et al. 2010). PLS is very appropriate when theoretical information is
low (Chin et al. 2003), as in the areas of social media and social commerce.
SEM-PLS is a good method to assess the validity and reliability of
constructs (McLure Wasko & Faraj 2005). PLS is also suitable for testing
a new model (Gefen et al. 2011). This research proposes a new model
to develop a theoretical foundation for social commerce through social
media. The study uses the re-sampling method for significance testing
and bootstrapping of 500 re-samples and 237 cases per sample in order
to assess the path significance, which provides the basis for confidence
intervals allowing an estimation of factor stability (Ringle et al. 2012).
R esults
The reliability and validity of the structural model have been taken into
account. In the following sections, they are discussed separately.
The composite reliability, which should exceed 0.70, has been applied
to test the reliability of the survey (McLure Wasko &c Faraj 2005). The
results indicate internal consistencies as the rate is above 0.70. The
internal consistency, also measured by Cronbach’s alpha, is above 0.70.
These results ensure the reliability of the research (Naylor et al. 2012). An
overview of the quality criteria is shown in Table 1.
The research tests the validity through both content validity and construct
validity. In content validity the study has checked face validity by asking
scholars to check the questionnaire items. Recommendations by these
International Journal of Market Research Vol. 56 Issue 3
Table 1 O verview o f qu a lity criteria
Composite Cronbach’s
Constructs AVE reliability R square alpha
Intention to buy 0.805093 0.891988 0.364183 0.759360
Perceived usefulness 0.812750 0.928666 0.312992 0.884904
Social media 0.660775 0.906516 – 0.871111
Trust 0.572564 0.869812 0.182861 0.813728
scholars have been taken into account. The research has also covered a
substantial literature review (Gefen et al. 2003; Pavlou 2003). Perceived
usefulness, trust and intention to buy are constructs that have frequently
been used in information systems and marketing disciplines, and the
questionnaire items were adopted from the existing literature, which
increases the content validity of the research. Convergent validity can be
ensured by assessing discriminant and convergent validity (Chin, Gopal
& Salisbury 1997). The average variance extracted (AVE) is a criterion
to measure convergent validity and should be more than 0.50 (Wixom
& Watson 2001; McLure Wasko & Faraj 2005). AVE is a good test of
convergent validity (Naylor et al. 2012). Table 1 shows the results of AVE.
For the discriminant validity, PLS is a good way to ensure the extent to
which a given construct of the model is different from other constructs
(McLure Wasko &c Faraj 2005). The square of the correlations among
the variables has been compared with the AVE to assess the discriminant
validity (Chin 1998). Table 2 shows the square of correlation between
latent variables, ensuring the research’s discriminant validity.
Finally, examining the factor loadings of each indicator gives a two-fold
result for convergent validity and discriminant validity (McLure Wasko
& Faraj 2005). This has been achieved by looking at factor loadings of
an indicator, which should be greater than the construct of it than on any
other factor (Chin 1998; McLure Wasko &c Faraj 2005). The cross-loading
is presented in Table 3, which shows that the factor loading of all indicators
Table 2 Square o f correlation betw een latent variables
Intention to buy Perceived usefulness Social media Trust
Intention to buy
Perceived usefulness
Social media
0.394522 0.812
Trust 0.481726 0.559457 0.427622 0.756
A study o f th e im pact o f social m edia on consumers
Table 3 Cross loadings
Indicators Intention to buy Perceived usefulness Social media Trust
IB1 0.879821 0.450836 0.336245 0.428935
IB2 0.914386 0.565658 0.416146 0.436136
0.548889 0.883894 0.305867
0.448234 0.915987 0.303313
0.539845 0.904405 0.446229
0.755322 0.302961
0.769338 0.374047
0.872127 0.410002
0.778668 0.258269
0.880088 0.357648
T1 0.517561 0.450549 0.327314 0.814014
T2 0.345084 0.432535 0.180444 0.740661
T3 0.309901 0.425138 0.419940 0.732130
T4 0.323838 0.330553 0.216008 0.709575
T5 0.304397 0.461919 0.430928 0.782375
Notes: IB = intention to buy; PU = perceived usefulness; SM = social media; T= trust
is greater than the construct of them on any other factors. Therefore, the
validity of the research has been achieved to a satisfactory level.
Structural model
For analysis of the data, this research used SmartPLS software (Ringle
et al. 2005). The validity of the research model is assessed by the structural
paths and R2s (Chwelos et al. 2001). The path coefficients in the research
model are positively significant at the 0.05 level. According to the results
(shown in Figure 2), the R2 of intention to buy shows that almost 37%
of the variance in the intention to buy was accounted for by trust and
perceived usefulness. This means that intention to buy was affected
by social media and perceived usefulness. The R2 for trust means that
almost 19% of the variance in trust was accounted for by social media.
In addition, the R2 for perceived usefulness means that almost 34% of the
variance in this construct was accounted for by trust.
The results of path coefficients show that trust (0.237) and perceived
usefulness (0.439) both have significant impact on intention to buy.
International Journal of Market Research Vol. 56 Issue 3
Social m e d ia T ru st In te n tio n to b u y
Perceived usefulness
*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01 ; **»p < 0.001
Figure 2 Results o f th e PLS analysis
Therefore, H2 and H4 are supported. The effect of perceived usefulness
on intention to buy is higher than trust (0.44 vs 0.24). This result shows
that the perceived usefulness of a website encourages consumers to buy.
Social media also have a significant effect on trust (0.428) and this effect
is strong. Hence, H I is supported and shows that the interconnectivities
of individuals through social media produce trust in e-commerce. Finally,
trust has a significant effect on perceived usefulness (0.50). Therefore, the
results support H3. Figure 2 shows the P-value of constructs.
D is c u s s io n a n d c o n c lu s io n s
Recent advances on the internet and the development of social media
have facilitated the interconnectivity of consumers. Consumers have social
interactions through social media such as online forums, communities,
ratings, reviews and recommendations. These developments have
introduced a new stream in e-commerce, called social commerce, which
empowers consumers to generate content and influence others. These
interactions provide different values for both business and consumers.
Both are involved in the co-creation of value. The present study borrows
constructs from the technology acceptance model, and integrates them with
trust and social media concepts to propose a model to examine the role of
social media in e-commerce and social commerce adoption. The model has
been validated through a PLS-SEM method, indicating that social media
increase the level of trust in consumers and indirectly encourage intention
to buy through social networking sites. The results of data analysis reveal
A study of the impact of social media on consumers
that social media empower participants to generate content through online
communities, reviews and recommendations. Consumers, facilitated by
social media, generate online social support for their peers. Consequently,
these interactions establish trust in the networks used.
The results show that trust, encouraged by social media, significantly
affects intention to buy. When potential consumers are encouraged to trust
in vendors by their peers, and also to trust in the SNS itself, they are more
likely to buy through social networking sites. This confirms the related
hypothesis and answers the second question of the research. In addition,
perceived usefulness is the other construct of the research that significantly
affects intention to buy. When participants experience high levels of system
quality or information quality, they are more likely to buy through social
networking sites. Data analysis shows that perceived usefulness has more
influence than trust on intention to buy through social networking sites.
Hence, improving the quality of websites enhances perceived usefulness
in their consumers. The other data revealed by analysis confirms that
trust has a positive and significant effect on perceived usefulness. Once
participants accepted trust, not only had they more intention to buy, but
they also found increased perceived usefulness in the site. This highlights
the mediating role of trust in social commerce adoption. Therefore, trust
has a significant role in e-commerce by directly influencing intention to
buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.
This research shows that advancements in the internet and the
emergence of Web 2.0 along with social media have empowered
customers. In this climate, consumers create added value through
collaboration and social interactions on the internet. They support
business through the co-creation of value via their social interactions.
Consumers are now content generators through social media. They
share information and experiences with other consumers and have easy
access to one another’s information. This is a value that can be useful for
e-commerce adoption and social commerce intention. Because consumer
social interactions produce online social support, e-commerce adoption
is being promoted to establish trust and, consequently, users’ intention
to buy. In fact, social factors facilitated through social media develop
a supportive climate, which in turn attracts many more individuals to
come online and take part in social interactions.
The contribution of this research is to highlight the role of social media
and its influence on trust building in e-commerce. The research shows
how social media and social factors influence trust and intention to buy
through social networking sites.
International Journal o f M arket Research Vol. 56 Issue 3
Im p lic a tio n s , lim ita tio n s a n d fu tu re research d ire c tio n s
The theoretical implication of this research is integrating a technology
acceptance model, a popular theory in information systems, with trust
and social media to develop a model for adoption in social commerce.
Hence, this model is one that can be used as a new concept in e-commerce
and social commerce studies. The model examines the social factors in
e-commerce adoption. The results highlight the relevance of theory from
information systems and marketing disciplines to social media studies.
Consistent with previous research on the socialisation of consumers
through social media (Wang et al. 2012), the study shows that the social
interaction of individuals influences consumer attitude towards a product
or service. The research also provides some implications for managers.
This research has shown the key role of trust in e-commerce and social
commerce. Building and maintaining trust through social media for online
vendors is the main managerial implication of this study. This is consistent
with previous research (McCole et al. 2010) indicating the role of trust on
influencing consumer attitudes towards purchasing behaviour. Networking
on social media sites supports trust-building mechanisms in e-commerce
and social commerce adoption. E-vendors may encourage consumers to
come online and use social media to develop trust. This is value co-creation
with customers instead of value creation for customers. The results also
provide a managerial implication for e-vendors to enhance the quality of
their websites, as this research shows that improving a website’s quality
will enhance perceived usefulness in consumers. This research, like other
studies, is not without its limitations. Samples were mostly collected from
a single city and work needs to be expanded to include other areas. Further
studies could focus on a specific social networking site and the gathering
of data through their members. Future research should take further steps
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About the author
M. Nick Hajli is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Richmond
University. He is researching on social commerce and social media at
Birkbeck, University of London. Nick is the editor of Handbook of
Research on Integrating Social Media into Strategic Marketing.
Address correspondence to: M. Nick Hajli, 17 Young Street, High Street
Kensington, London, W8 5PN, England.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright of International Journal of Market Research is the property of Warc LTD and its
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