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Consumer trust in B2C e-Commerce and the importance of social presence: experiments in e-Products and e-Services


  • Gefen, David
  • Straub, Detmar W.


Reducing social uncertainty--understanding, predicting, and controlling the behavior of other people--is a central motivating force of human behavior. When rules and customs are not sufficient, people rely on trust and familiarity as primary mechanisms to reduce social uncertainty. The relative paucity of regulations and customs on the Internet makes consumer familiarity and trust especially important in the case of e-Commerce. Yet the lack of an interpersonal exchange and the one-time nature of the typical business transaction on the Internet make this kind of consumer trust unique, because trust relates to other people and is nourished through interactions with them. This study validates a four-dimensional scale of trust in the context of e-Products and revalidates it in the context of e-Services. The study then shows the influence of social presence on these dimensions of this trust, especially benevolence, and its ultimate contribution to online purchase intentions.

Suggested Citation

  • Gefen, David & Straub, Detmar W., 2004. "Consumer trust in B2C e-Commerce and the importance of social presence: experiments in e-Products and e-Services," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 407-424, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jomega:v:32:y:2004:i:6:p:407-424

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hosmer, LaRue Tone, 1994. "Why Be Moral? A Different Rationale for Managers," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 191-204, April.
    2. Morton Deutsch, 1958. "Trust and suspicion," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 2(4), pages 265-279, December.
    3. Remus, William, 1986. "Graduate students as surrogates for managers in experiments on business decision making," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 19-25, February.
    4. Gefen, David, 2000. "E-commerce: the role of familiarity and trust," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 725-737, December.
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