Social Presence influences consumer behavior

When purchasing products, buyers are influenced by references. With their consuming behavior consumers symbolize with which groups they would like to be linked. A method to make this happen is by purchasing goods which have a superior status. The degree in which consumers behave towards the references relies upon 2 elements social presence and the persona of a individual; need to belong. This study concentrates on just how social presence and need to belong influence product rating and product choice in an online context. An experimental research was carried out to check the impact of social presence and need to belong on product choice and product rating. Needlessly to say, social presence carries a positive influence on the product rating, but only when respondents have a low need to belong. Respondents with a high need to belong, rate the products positive when there is no chat present. These outcomes are opposed to what was expected. The finding which chat applications favorably influence product rating indicates that it is fascinating for marketing experts to apply social presence in an online context to favorably influence product rating by customers. Further implications of this finding are talked about.

During the last decade the Internet has expanded greatly and became a new location for businesses to increase their market base and offer superior customer support. One of the key differences involving the online and traditional shopping environment is that the offline environment features a number of feelings including social interactions between humans through several sensory channels. According to Kumar and Benbasat (2002) “shoppers have become guests, shopping has become an experience and malls are becoming entertainment centers with communities”. But on the other hand the majority of virtual stores have little emotional or social appeal, although in the present age of “social media”, a change towards more social shopping on the web is smart. Due to the restricted social appeal, e-commerce may be considered lacking human warmth, since it is more impersonal, anonymous, and automated than traditional person-to-person commerce (Head, Yuan & Archer, 2001). Developing a digital shopping experience which will attract the masses must engage both the cognitive and social sides of the consumer. Because of the minimal social appeal of the majority of websites, buyers experience more uncertainty. The experience of uncertainty has a damaging impact on purchasing products on the internet. Trust is surely a crucial element in lowering or taking away uncertainty completely. Trust is also an essential element in the formation of attitude towards shopping on the web. Due to this, plenty of research is dedicated to identifying which factors affect the trust of individuals in the service industry. A research matter which has been brought up to improve trust is “Social Presence”. Social presence theory has also been drawn on by experts to understand more about the deficiency of human warmth on the web. This indicates that social presence is a fascinating topic for research and that the presence of social presence in an e-commerce environment increases the online buyer experience.

Source: University of Twente

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