Shopping: believe in any stranger?

3 Oct

The three subjects I chose to interview are: Jenny, Yu-Shan and Sam. Jenny and Yu-Shan are both my roommates. They are female and graduate students at UF. Yu-Shan is a Biomedical Science PhD student. Jenny is a second year Master student major in ISOM. Sam is male and a Master student in Finance at UTDallas.

The six questions I conducted in my survey are following:

1.          Have you ever purchased anything online in past 6 months?

Jenny, Yu-Shan and Sam: Yes.

2.          How frequently did you purchase online in past 6 months?

Jenny: About 3 times in 6 months.

Yu-Shan: one time in 6 months.

Sam: 4-6 times in 6 months.

3.          Please describe the reason(s) which made you deciding to purchase online.

Jenny: Lower price, Convenience

Yu-Shan: Can compare price easily, Convenience

Sam: Lower price, Convenience

4.          Did you ever have a negative online purchasing experience? If YES, please describe the situation.

Jenny: Yes. “I bought an used book at Amazon and didn’t get it. After few times e-mail communicating with the seller, I got full refund.”

Yu-Shan: Yes. “Overpaid.”

Sam: No.

5.          Will the positive/negative online purchasing experiences affect your next online purchasing intention? How?

Jenny: No. “The negative experience was just an independent case to me.”

Yu-Shan: Yes. “I may do more research online before purchasing. And I won’t buy anything from the same seller again.”

Sam: “From my positive experiences, I purchased a lot online.”

6.          What price limitation can you accept purchasing online?

Jenny: No limit. “As long as the online price is cheaper than substantial store price, I will buy it online.”

Yu-Shan: Depends. “I may buy expensive electronic products online which usually have quality assurance. However, I won’t buy expensive clothes or daily goods online.”

Sam: Less than $2,000. “Air tickets are the most expensive thing I ever purchased online.” “Because I think airline companies are reliable, I won’t buy expensive things from some random sellers.”

First of all, from the results of my interview, I find out that negative purchasing experiences will not stop consumers purchasing online. Despite two of my respondents had negative online purchasing experiences, they still continued online purchasing behavior. Yu-Shan may change her behavior by doing more researches. But she still thought that she will purchase online. And Jenny optimistically thought that the negative experience she had was just an independent event which did not affect her at all. To Sam, he never had negative online purchasing experience. Therefore that makes him to do more online purchasing behaviors.

Second, both Yu-Shan and Sam thought that they only do online purchasing from well-known seller or products with quality assurance. Even though Sam did not have any negative experience purchasing online, he still has doubt toward strange sellers. On the contrary, Jenny is optimistic.

To sum up, I do not totally agree with Mutz’s hypothesis that “internet commerce should have a net positive effect on generalized social trust.” Through positive online purchasing experiences, it may generalize some people’s social trust. We can see that from my respondents’ experiences. However, from the results of my survey, the growth of social trust through online purchasing seems having limit. Social trust does not grow without limitation. When it comes to large amount of money, most people still tent to believe the people they trust in real world instead of random stranger.


4 Responses to “Shopping: believe in any stranger?”

  1. luckymaggie October 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    I like your comment “social trust does not grow without limitation”. If we were in the initial stage when online shopping was firstly introduced, many factors might have impacts on “distrust” in Mutz’s article. Today we are much more familiar with this new shopping method and most of us enjoy it very much. I think causes for explaining why people have begun to consider and accept online shopping are more than increasing trust level. The pervasive internet penetration is also a contributor. Moreover, when talking about online shopping, for me and maybe for most of potential buyers, famous companies like Amazon, Macys, Saks stand out. However, if we target individual sellers, whether the trust level increases or decrease is still questionable.

  2. fanninchen October 5, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    I also find out that my interviewee consider well-known online shops are more trust worthy than others. But to me, there are still possibilities that one seller can design his/her website looks like a famous online shop. In that case, if we don’t check up reviews of this seller, we might possible be a victim of a fraud. So it still comes back to the “trust” issue. Does purchasing online means I trust e-commerce more? Does trust really can be evaluated? I still hold skepticism for online purchasing and security, but I shop online and own an e-banking account.Besides, I still don’t trust my neighbors. What would Mutz say about this?

  3. Mindy McAdams October 10, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Your first two questions could be combined into one, so it’s as if you wasted one question. You know I said questions that can be answered yes or no are not good questions.

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