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Teltzrow et al.:Multi-Channel Consumer Perceptions - page 2 / 14





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Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, VOL 8, NO.1, 2007

traditional retail stores and then buy online – up from 50.3 percent in 2001. The surveys indicate that there are distinct cross-channel effects between online and offline retailing. Theoretical contributions discuss multi-channel retailing and demand further empirical work to analyze how the use of multiple channels affect a firm and its customers [Gallaugher 2002, Goersch 2003, Gulati and Garino 2000, Steinfield 2002, Stone, Hobbs and Khaleeli 2002].

Numerous empirical studies suggest trust as one of the most decisive antecedents of consumers’ purchase intentions at Internet-only retailers [Grabner-Kräuter and Kaluscha 2003]. We refer to trust as “individual-level internalization of norms of reciprocity, which facilitates collective action by allowing people to take risks and to trust that fellow citizens will not take advantage of them” [Grabner-Kräuter and Kaluscha 2003, p. 672]. Using multivariate models, the studies suggest how the perception of certain variables influences consumers’ trust and willingness to buy at Internet-only retailers. However, only very few of these studies explore antecedents of trust in a multi-channel scenario. Stewart [2003] used experimental analyses to measure how users react to a picture of a physical store shown on a website. She introduced the antecedents perceived interaction and perceived business tie and found evidence that people transfer trust from the traditional shopping channel to a Web-based organization. Milliman and Fugate [1988] also found that trust may be transferred from different kinds of sources (e.g. from an organization to an individual salesman).

The literature review indicates that more detailed and actionable antecedents of trust supporting consumers’ trust transfer from physical stores to the Internet are required. Therefore, well-known studies exploring antecedents and consequences of consumer trust in an Internet-only context have been analyzed in order to find possible antecedents that could be tested in the multi-channel domain.

Jarvenpaa, Tractinsky and Vitale [2000] developed an Internet trust model that tested the influence of the two independent variables perceived size and perceived reputation on customers’ evaluation of trust in a website. The study was validated by Heijden, Verhagen and Creemers [2001]; findings from an earlier cross-cultural study by Jarvenpaa [1999] also supported this notion. Jarvenpaa concluded from her findings that perceived reputation had a much stronger effect on trust as perceived size. Moreover, the model suggested that trust has a direct influence on attitude and risk, which again have an influence on willingness to buy. Jarvenpaa, Tractinsky and Vitale suggest that the effect of perceived size and reputation on consumer trust should be tested in a multi-channel context. Beside the conclusions outlined above, their results also indicated that risk perception - defined as a functional or psychosocial risk a consumer feels he/she is taking when purchasing a product - and trust are in inverse proportional correlation to each other.

Chellappa [2001] extended the model of Jarvenpaa et al. and proposed that in addition to perceived reputation, consumers’ perception of privacy and security influence trust in online transactions. These hypotheses received significant support in an empirical evaluation. Further aspects of privacy and its influence on trust at Internet-only retailers have been tested by Belanger, Hiller, and Smith [2002]. Recent work has identified privacy as one of the main requirements for successful e-commerce [Ackerman, Cranor and Reagle 1999, Cranor, Reagle and Ackerman 1999, Culnan and Bies 2003, Tang and Xing 2001].

We build our work on these studies and analyze the perception of trust in a multi-channel context. Moreover, we test our model on different subsets of visitors from a multi-channel retail site, who differed in their familiarity with the company in terms of previous visits and/or purchases to either store or site. Familiarity also has been used as a predictor of trust in empirical studies [Bhattacherjee 2002, Gefen 2000, Luhmann 1988].

3. Hypotheses

From the described models for Internet-only retailers, we used the repeatedly cross-validated antecedents of trust, perceived reputation and perceived size as suggested by Jarvenpaa, Tractinsky and Vitale [2000] to analyze effects on trust and willingness to buy in a multi-channel setting. In contrast to the model by Jarvenpaa dealing with Internet-only retailers, our research goal aims at finding out how perceived reputation and size of physical stores influence trust in an e-shop. Our second research goal focuses on the impact of privacy perception of the e-shop on trust as tested by Chellappa [2001]. Thus, we extend the model by Jarvenpaa, Tractinsky and Vitale [2000] by transferring it to the multi-channel domain and by including the antecedent of trust perceived privacy by Chellappa [2001]. This allows us to analyze the strengths of the relationships when the three antecedents of trust perceived reputation of stores, size of stores and perceived privacy are measured simultaneously.

We will briefly introduce the adapted theoretical concepts from the literature [Chellappa 2001, Heijden, Verhagen and Creemers 2001, Jarvenpaa 1999, Jarvenpaa, Tractinsky and Vitale 2000] and explain our modifications. For a more elaborate discussion of the underlying theory we refer to the original publications.

Jarvenpaa and colleagues [2000] use the concept of trust in the sense of beliefs about trust-relevant characteristics of the Internet merchant. In two empirical studies they found support for a significant influence of

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