Social Influence Bias in e-Commerce: Exploring the Role of Social Information

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Kathrine Lindskov Pedersen
4. semester, Informationsvidenskab (, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
For the past ten years the Internet position as a retail platform has become more predominant, which has generated a steady growth in the number of e-Commerce websites. This increase has not just affected the online retail sector, but also caused the traditional offline retailers to create new and alternative marketing strategies in order to keep up with the new consumption patterns. On the other hand, consumers are embracing the possibilities of e-Commerce and spending more and more money in these virtual stores. With this development also comes a new type of social influence, which appears in almost every corner of an e-Commerce website. And is this type of influence grounded in opinion information created by the consumers themselves, which we, with this Masters thesis set out to examine.

With this thesis we aimed to investigate how social influence impacts purchasing decisions made on online shopping websites. By looking into this field this we sought to gain insights into the significance of opinion information, founded in our PS and four RQ’s. These questions firstly led us through a review of related literature on the subject, which supported our knowledge of the field of inquiry and made up a foundation for our inquiries made in the RQs. In order to build a solid experimental research we further made use of an array of theories and methods, which throughout Chapter 3, help us, construct a survey design for the research of the phenomenon.

After having tested our survey design using a pilot study group, we conducted the main study on a sample population, recruited online. This left us with an extensive amount of sample data, which was organized and analysed (Chapter 4) with the purpose of answering the PS and RQs.

The analysis of our data led to the main insight that there seemingly is a distinct divergence between the believed effect of social influence in e-Commerce, and the effect, which we detected through our research. Here we found that the respondents were not as highly influenced by the presence of opinion information as we had initial assumed. Our research exposed there this was in fact little to no connection between the intention to purchase or recommend a product solely based on opinion information.

Keywords: Social influence bias · Online shopping · e-Commerce · Opinion information
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2015
Antal sider52
ID: 213264498