Purchasing through virtual market is different from the process that takes place in the traditional market. In this market, things are less tangible and more threatening. Therefore, trust becomes crucial and it is established in a different way. This study examined the effect of testimonials on the level of trust in e-commerce. It also examined the impact of product touch level and price on the effect of testimonials. Two mock e-commerce sites were used, one with testimonials and the other without. The experimental approach simulated a complete shopping process with students whose age was between 21 and 30, on a fully functional website, with subjective and objective behavioral measures. The subjective measures were based on two questions that participants were asked along the experiment. The objective measures consisted of metrics such as navigation patterns in the site, number of products in the shopping cart, and readiness to enter credit card number. The presence of testimonials had a greater impact on users with little internet-based shopping experience, was associated with increased trust, and was more significantly pronounced for price than for product touch level. In addition, the results showed that a decreased level of trust was associated with higher prices. The impact of testimonials is accounted for in terms of history sharing and building an online community.

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Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research
Department of Psychology

Spillinger, A. (Avishag), & Parush, A. (2012). The impact of testimonials on purchase intentions in a mock e-commerce web site. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, 7(1), 51–63. doi:10.4067/S0718-18762012000100005