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Exploring social networking sites for facilitating multi-channel retailing

Research paper by Yu-Teng Jang, Shuchih Ernest Chang, Po-An Chen

Indexed on: 24 Mar '13Published on: 24 Mar '13Published in: Multimedia Tools and Applications



Abstract

This study aims to explore how social networking sites (SNS) can be used to influence consumer behavior in the context of multi-channel retailing. A research framework with ten hypotheses was proposed to study important relationships between various consumer behaviors related to trust on physical stores, access to SNS fan pages, physical-store purchase, online information search, and online purchase. An empirical test was conducted by using PLS, a second-generation multivariate analysis tool, to analyze survey data collected from 205 SNS users. Our findings revealed that consumers’ intention to online information search would significantly influence their intention to online purchase. Trust on physical stores would affect consumers’ attitudes toward not only purchasing at physical-store but also joining retailers’ SNS fan pages. In addition, attitude toward joining SNS fan pages was found to affect consumers’ intention to online information search and physical-store purchasing. Moreover, consumers’ physical-store purchasing would also affect their intention to related online information search. Based on the validated research model and corresponding findings, retail managers are suggested to use SNS fan pages to enhance consumers’ purchase at physical stores and information search on their online stores, thus increasing overall sales. Retail managers should build and maintain consumer trust on their stores, since such trust significantly affects consumers’ attitude to access SNS fan pages.