Revealing the Influential Factors Driving Social Commerce Adoption

Ahmad Samed Al-Adwan
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 14  •  2019  •  pp. 295-324

This study aims to identify the main factors influencing consumers’ adoption of social commerce (s-commerce). Based on the socio-technical theory, the study suggests a research model that investigates the key social and technical factors driving consumers’ decision to purchase from social commerce websites. In addition, the research model explores the interactive relationship among these factors.

The phenomenon of social commerce (s-commerce) has emerged due to the increased penetration of social media and the rapid development of Web 2.0 technologies. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) companies have made significant efforts to shift their operations to s-commerce. Therefore, to facilitate their efforts to transform, various research has been conducted to investigate the main factor influencing the adoption of s-commerce. Most of these studies have emphasised the social aspects related to s-commerce design features to understand how the use of advanced web technologies influence how customers interact with each other in s-commerce environments. However, s-commerce is viewed as a socio-technical system that requires the investigation of both social and technical factors to help in the design of effective s-commerce platforms.

To validate the proposed research model, 418 paper-based and online questionnaires were collected from online shoppers in Jordan. The Structure Equation Modelling (SEM) approach was used to test the proposed hypotheses.

This study offers a research model that serves as a theoretical framework for investigating customers’ behaviour in s-commerce environment. It represents a strong context-specific model that includes both the technical and social facilitators of s-commerce. The research model participates in gaining an improved understanding of how customers’ intention, actual purchase and post-purchase experience are formed in the s-commerce environment.

The results of Structure Equation Modelling (SEM) reveal that s-commerce constructs, familiarity and user experience have a positive influence on the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use of s-commerce. In addition, perceptions of its usefulness and ease of use have a positive influence on trust, which in turn influences the purchase intention and the actual purchase. Finally, the post-purchase experience significantly influences both trust and purchase intention.

This study shows that social commerce constructs strengthen customers’ perceptions of usefulness. S-commerce service providers are required to provide their customers with various channels to seek social support. Both familiarity and user experience are key enablers of customers’ perceived ease of use. S-commerce service providers consider the variation in customers’ familiarity and experience with s-commerce websites because this has a significant influence on purchase intentions and behaviour. Consequently, system designers should offer useful and sufficient information and tutorials that effectively guide customers in their searching, decision-making and purchasing activities throughout the shopping process. S-commerce service providers should understand the importance of providing secure payment systems and make their privacy policies clear to customers. Post-purchase experience has an influential role in reinforcing customers’ trust and purchase intention. The findings confirm the important role of post-purchase experience in retaining customers by improving their trust and repurchase intention. Therefore, making a customer’s post-purchase experience pleasant should be a key priority for s-commerce service providers because it has a significant influence on customers’ trust and repurchase intentions.

This study offers a unidimensional conceptualisation of the design features of s-commerce. These features include three main forms: recommendations and referrals, communities and forums, and reviews and ratings. Such conceptualisation provides additional insights and an understanding of the activities of information sharing in s-commerce. The significance of the technical side of s-commerce is highlighted and empirical proof is provided that social interactions guided by social technologies enhance customers’ perceived usefulness of an s-commerce website, thus increasing their trust and intention to purchase which leads to an actual purchase. This offers insights into the various types of s-commerce characteristics that contribute to facilitating customers’ purchase behaviour on s-commerce websites.

The findings offer insights which have important implications for research and practice to help facilitate the adoption of s-commerce.

This study considered the s-commerce websites as a homogenous online environment. Additional research could collect data from diverse online communities, such as professional groups, to provide a comprehensive understanding of how a wider variety of user behaviour is affected. Second, this was a quantitative study based on data collected in a questionnaire. Further studies may consider using qualitative or mixed methodologies (i.e. focus groups and interviews) to explore other technical and social factors that influence the use of s-commerce.

social commerce, trust, e-commerce, post purchase experience, familiarity, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, TAM
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