Fannin's Place

MMC6612, Fall 2010

Online Shopping

with 6 comments

Here are my questions and their answers:

1. When was the first time that you made purchase online?

Try to describe the reason why you did so, and how was the experience?

Fanny: It was few years ago that I bought the textbook in US, because the price in the bookstore is more expansive. It’s comparatively cheaper purchasing textbook online and it didn’t take too long for shipping.

Karen: When I was in College, I bought jeans from clothing websites. The whole experience was smooth and fast.

Chung: I was attracted by the advertisement on the home page of Yahoo and found the clothes looked nice. The experience was okay. Though the clothes were not exactly like how they looked online, they were acceptable. And purchasing on line is really convenient.

2. Do you mostly purchase items from well known online shop, or from individual seller?

Fanny: Not specifically, I purchase items base on what I want to buy not based on brand

Karen: Prefer well-known online shops.

Chung: Prefer well-known online shops.

3. Do you check the seller’s review before you place the order?

Fanny: Never.

Karen: Yes.

Chung: No.

4. Do you have any unpleasant online purchasing experience?

Does it affect your later online purchasing behavior?


Fanny: I’ve bought something low quality, or was going to be expired. Since then I decided to purchase item mostly in a real store, unless it is really too urgent, or I won’t purchase online.

Karen: Yes. I bought a second handed coach bag from eBay but the product turned out to be very low quality. I decided to purchase products from individual seller more carefully.

Chung: No.

5. Have you ever encouraged a friend to purchase anything online?


Fanny: Yes, only for particular brand, because the mall in Gainesville doesn’t sell those.

Karen: Yes. I suggest my friend to buy text books from Amazon.

Chung: No.

6. Have you ever accept your friends’ suggestion to purchase anything online?

Was this friend a very close one or just an acquaintance?

Fanny: The close ones. Because good friends know me better than others, and they can provide proper advices for me.

Karen: Not a friend actually. It’s someone on the Internet. Maybe a blogger.

Chung: No.


According to Mutz’ article, there is certain trust developed during the online purchasing experience. I develop some questions trying to understand my friends’ purchasing behavior and how they’ve been affected by previous experiences. From the answers above, though not representative enough, but the general initial purchasing experience is “convenient”. Moreover, the low expectations do come as a result of satisfaction as Mutz said. However, my interviewees still mostly make purchase from well-known online shop instead of individual sellers. That might indicate that they yet have more faith in the online shops which have more items, and could have earned more trust. Contradictory, from the suspicious of their online shopping behavior, they don’t 100% check the sellers’ review. So, does big, well-known online store really gain more trust issue?

There is another interesting thing that base on their unpleasant purchasing experience, will not stop them from purchasing. My interviewees change their attitude towards it, one learns to be cautious, one still take advantage from its conveniences but just for some occasions. In this example, we should say that the trust certainly decrease, just like Mutz’ second experiment, “those who encounter a negative result experience online became less trusting as a result” (Mutz, p.452).

Then I find out that people talk about online shopping, face-to-face! They will share information together, giving suggestions, persuade others to purchase something online. Besides, one of my interviewee search critics from bloggers to make sure this item is worth buying. It really diminishes the boundaries between real life and virtual reality. We discuss opinions openly no matter online or face-to-face, and that’s what Mutz didn’t count in. We might influence by a friend to make purchase online, does that still belong to e-commerce? How do we define it?


Written by fanninchen

October 3, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. It’s really interesting you brought up the question of purchasing from individual sellers and reputable online stores. I really think Mutz should bring this into his research. Most people won’t have problems when they are buying stuff from official sites, but when it comes to individual sellers, some of them would hesitate because the risk is obviously much higher. And i also think that different risk-taking levels are influential to the increase of social trust. For instance, when a person who do not usually take risks purchased something from an online store, although with many struggles, he is very likely to change his attitudes towards online shopping once he has a pleasant experience.


    October 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm

  2. Perhaps your survey respondents don’t check seller reviews because they usually buy from the well-known online shops? And since they are familiar with them and have trust built for them already, they don’t feel the need to read the reviews? Or perhaps because they don’t trust the individual sellers, they don’t go to their stores to read their reviews to begin with? It’s an interesting point.

    The idea of being influenced by close friends and family to do online shopping is important, because then we leave the realm of social trust. It no longer becomes an issue of whether we trust in our society and other strangers to honor their agreements. Instead, it changes to be about if we value our friend or family member’s advice and experience enough to allow them to have an effect on our thoughts. That makes measuring social trust on its own a difficult task, I suppose.


    October 7, 2010 at 3:01 am

  3. It is interesting you brought up the famous blogger issue. That may create another issue relative to social trust. Since most of us all know that bloggers may be paid to write some recommendation of certain products. They recommend products based on interensts instead of sincere intention. If consumers buy products because of blogger’s recommendation and get the product which is not as good as the blogger described, will the experience decreade social trust? And should this be counted in the relationships between e-commerce and social trust? Just like you said, how do we define it?


    October 7, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    • I also thought that was an interesting issue to bring up. I have always heard that personal recommendations are the best form of advertising.

      The participants’ responses seem very much in line with what I have read from everyone else’s surveys.

      Did the participants really discuss online shopping face-to-face or did they actually communicate online about it? I find that a lot of my friends are “liking” brands or products on facebook. I’m sure some are doing it because they genuinely like the brand or product but companies also run promotions on items that you can only win or redeem if you click like on facebook. I think this could erode social trust.


      October 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm

  4. Your question 5 and 6 were very clever! They bring in a dimension of social recommendations to and from people we really know — not only the online customer reviews.

    Mindy McAdams

    October 10, 2010 at 6:02 pm

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