Effects of Source of Customized Recommendations, Type of Product, and Amount of Choice on Consumers' Attitudes Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Kim, Yeuseung
    • Affiliation: Hussman School of Journalism and Media
  • Online shopping has gained tremendous popularity in the past decade, yet research is still needed on the psychological effects of the various elements that may affect consumers' attitudes toward online shopping websites. This dissertation examined the effects of customized recommendation sources, type of product, and amount of choice on consumers' attitudes toward a website. The interplay among the three variables was explored by asking participants to browse a shopping website and to report their perceptions of the site. Using a 2 (Product type: identity-signaling, non-identity-signaling products) x 2 (Recommendation source cue: experts, other consumers) between-subjects experimental design, study one showed that people have a more positive attitude toward a customized website with customized recommendations for identity-signaling products than for non-identity-signaling products. While the source of recommendations (experts and other consumers) did not affect attitudes toward the website, perceived website credibility was found to mediate the relationship between the source and attitude toward the website. In a 2 (Recommendation source: present, absent) x 2 (Amount of choice: high, low) between-subjects design, study two examined the main effects of the presence of explanation about the source of recommendations and amount of choice on attitude toward the website. As predicted, people had more positive attitudes toward the website when the source of recommendations was provided than when there was a lack of explanation as to how the recommendations were made. Contrary to the proposed hypothesis, greater number of choices did not have the expected positive effect on attitude toward the website. However, as predicted, when the source of recommendations was provided, people found recommendations more useful when asked to choose a product from a greater number of options but not when only a limited number of choices was provided. Overall, the findings of this dissertation add to the studies of customization and source of information. The results showed that the effect of providing customized service is not uniform and may be moderated by the type of product sold on an e-commerce site. While the source of recommendations did not have a direct effect on attitude toward the website, it influenced the overall credibility of the website, which is an important criterion for people when choosing a website to purchase products. Although study one did not show that different sources of recommendations have a varying effect on attitudes toward the website, study two showed that the presence of the source of recommendations has a positive effect on attitudes than the absence of one. Furthermore, making the source of recommendations clear to people had a positive effect on perceived usefulness of the recommendations when they were faced with a greater number of alternatives from which to choose.
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  • In Copyright
  • Kalyanaraman, Sriram
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2012

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