Can media-rich embedded social-cues enhance initial trust in online shopping context?

by Farhod Karimov 


E-commerce retailers are eagerly integrating diverse social media applications such as virtual embedding of photographs, video streaming, and generating blogs in popular social networking sites as a possible marketing strategy to boost consumer trust. However, little is known about the effectiveness of these online social media applications. To address this gap, we examined the role of these social media applications in stimulating consumer’s initial trust towards unfamiliar e-commerce vendors by means of an experiment. While confirming positive impacts of each of the manipulated social media applications (i.e., a facial photo, a video stream, and social networking sites), we found a significant three-way interaction effect of the predictors in enhancing consumers’ initial trust. The results generally support our main assumption that social media applications have the ability to enhance consumers’ initial trust, which in turn leads to favorable purchase intentions towards unfamiliar e-retailers.