Building trust with customers is essential for the success of business-to-consumer e-commerce (B2C) ventures. Entrepreneurial B2C e-commerce ventures face a particularly daunting challenge in building trust given the liability of newness and legitimacy concerns arising from lack of name recognition in the marketplace. To address this issue, recent research has suggested that certain online information cues may be useful in influencing perceptions of new/small e-commerce vendor trustworthiness. Perplexingly though, such research has paid scant attention to whether gender differences exist with regard to the effectiveness of such trust building information cues. Hence, the present study adds to the literature by using a sample of 536 potential internet shoppers to examine whether gender differences exist in the effectiveness of online B2C trust building information cues. Participants were asked to assess the importance of 14 different trust building information cues in influencing their perceptions of e-commerce vendor trustworthiness. Factor analysis reduced the data to four factors representing different aspects of perceived trustworthiness. Results of the study show that, when controlling for internet usage, disposition to trust, trust in the Internet and trust in e-commerce, women reported statistically significant higher values on three of the four factors examined. Specifically, women reported higher values on factors related to communication (or information flow), security, and functionality than did their male counterparts. Study results suggest that entrepreneurial B2C online ventures may promote themselves more effectively to women in particular by carefully managing information cues on or about their website.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.