The role of consumers' trust in online-shopping

Journal of Business Ethics 39 (1-2):43 - 50 (2002)
Many consumers are sceptical or suspicious about the functional mechanisms of electronic commerce, its intransparent processes and effects, and the quality of many products that are offered online. This paper analyses the role of consumer trust as a foundation for the diffusion and acceptance of electronic commerce. Starting from a functional perspective trust is seen as distinct but potentially coexisting mechanism for reducing the uncertainty and complexity of transactions and relationships in electronic markets. The analysis focuses on conditions of e-commerce transactions that are relevant for the formation of trust problems. Drawing on the theory of information two types of uncertainty are described: system-dependent and transaction-specific uncertainty. Finally different activities and instruments are described and categorized that Internet firms can use to establish and maintain trust.
Keywords electronic commerce  electronic markets  online-shopping  trust
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