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Valacich_Paper - The Influence of Website Characteristics...

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The Influence of Website Characteristics on a Consumer’s Urge to Buy Impulsively 1 D. Veena Parboteeah College of Business Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM 88130 (voice) 505-562-2442 Joseph S. Valacich John D. Wells Department of Information Systems College of Business Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164 (voice) 509-335-5319 (fax) 509-335-5339 Contact: first author ( [email protected] ) October 18, 2007 ABSTRACT With the proliferation of e-commerce, there is growing evidence that online impulse buying is occurring, yet relatively few researchers have studied this phenomenon. This paper reports on two studies that examine how variations in a website influence online impulse buying. The results reveal some relevant insights regarding this phenomenon. Specifically, although many participants had the urge to buy impulsively, regardless of website quality, the likelihood and magnitude of this behavior was directly influenced by varying the quality of task-relevant and mood-relevant cues. Task-relevant cues include website characteristics, such as security, which facilitate the attainment of the online user’s shopping goal. Conversely, mood-relevant cues refer to the characteristics, such as visual appeal, that affects the degree to which a consumer enjoys browsing a website, but don’t directly support a particular shopping goal. The implications of the 1 All authors contributed equally to this work.
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results for both future research and the design of human-computer interfaces are discussed. Keywords: Impulse Buying, Electronic Commerce, Human-Computer Interface, Environmental Psychology, Website Characteristics, Scenario 1 Introduction The emergence of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce has motivated a number of information technology (IT) related research studies. A common thread across many of these studies is the challenge of understanding how traditional offline consumer behavior can be understood within an IT-mediated environment. Recent research, for example, has explored how various consumer-oriented marketing activities manifest themselves online, including establishing trust (Gefen et al., 2003) and facilitating a virtual product experience (Jiang and Benbasat, 2004). In the same vein, a consumer dynamic that is prevalent in an offline context, yet has received very limited attention from information systems (IS) researchers, is impulse buying. Preliminary evidence suggests that impulse buying is commonplace in an online context (e.g., Li et al., 2000). According to a study by User Interface Engineering (www.uie.com, 2001), a leading consulting firm in website usability, approximately 40% of the money spent on e- commerce websites is attributed to impulse purchases. Based on the evidence that impulse buying is prevalent in an online context, an opportunity exists to study this phenomenon.
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