Online shopping: trust or risk ?

For this assignment, I interviewed my friends from undergraduate. They are all graduate students; they are Xin, male, 25, at East Tennessee States University; Dan, female 23, at University of Tennessee; Sisi, 24, University of Illinois.

Here are my questions and their answers:

1. Have you ever purchased anything online? If you do, please describe your online purchase habits.

They all had online purchase experience before and textbooks are what they all bought. Besides that, Xin also bought video games online, once a month; Sisi ordered skin care every one or two months; Dan likes to buy electronic devices through Internet and others staff according to her need.

2. What are the reasons you purchase online? What’s different from in-store purchase?

Apparently, all three respondents believe convenience is the most important reason for online purchasing and returning.  Xin said that not like in-store purchase, he could not really feel and see the goods online; Sisi said it was great deal to purchase online because of special sample and promotion of skincare is better than those in-store; Dan said it was good not having salesman involved.

3. What is the range of price about items you purchase online?

Xin and Sisi claimed their price range is from 10$ to 200$ while Dan is from 25$ to 1500$ since she likes to buy electronic device online.

4. Please describe your first online purchase. Have you ever concerned before making the very first purchase? Why?

The first purchase for Xin and Dan is textbook. Since the price is not high, they only concerned if the book would come on time or come at all. Sisi’s first purchase is Estee Lauder skincare. She did not worry at since the process is protected by the official website.

5. How did your first online purchase influence your following online purchase behavior?

All three respondents have positive purchase experience and all claimed their purchase encouraged their future online purchase.

6. Please describe a negative online purchase experience if you had one? How did that influence your following online purchase behavior?   

Xin bought a battery online and it turned out to be not fit. It makes him more careful for online purchase. Sisi’s negative experience is most about delayed shipment. She always checks the shipping time and choose priority or overnight shipping now. Dan does not confront any negative experience till now.

My interview results show that online purchase is not less popular than in-store purchase and most online purchase experience are positive. In their first purchase, there would be concerns about security but the successful transaction will encourage future purchase. But these following purchases seem to come from a “better deal” start. People go back and keep buying things online because it is cheaper and more convenient. There is no direct evidence shown in my investigation that successful online purchase will increase social trust.


October 2, 2010. Uncategorized.


  1. fanninchen replied:

    I found something interesting that your friend Dan said ” it was good not having salesman involved”. That’s an evidence that online shopping shows a characteristic of “independence” of decision making, and also people probably don’t enjoy face-to-face purchasing at all!! The assumption of face-to-face purchasing behavior has more social trust seems to occur an exception.

  2. Sijia replied:

    This is the thing (and I find it’s true with my own experience): sometimes we shop regularly online, maybe twice a week or every two month to get skin care products or video games (just as your resondents mentioned in their answers), but actually we are shopping from the same sellers. I had good experience with the sellers, and we stick to them.

    I used to buy dog food online every two months from the same person. I trusted the seller, I trusted his products, my dog liked it. So I’m happy to continue buying from him, without hesitation. But that doesn’t mean I trust all the online sellers or I trust all the people in the society. And in this case, there is really not much difference between shop online and offline.

  3. joneelauriel replied:

    I think it’s interesting that your friend Dan who got the bad battery was not detoured from online shopping all together rather saying he just needed to be more careful next time. So it appears social trust neither increases nor diminished as a result of online shopping which certainly doesn’t go with Mutz’s claims. I also found it interesting that even though the respondent’s had positive experience with online shopping and felt it was more convenient that would only explore this avenue of making purchases to a limit since they set price restrictions for purchases.

  4. Mindy McAdams replied:

    This post is very nicely formatted! The boldface questions make it very easy to read. 🙂

    Your people did not indicate anything about social trust, but look again at the questions you asked. Your questions did not encourage them to explore their ideas about trusting strangers or generalized social trust. So perhaps you would have found something different if you had asked different questions.

  5. Phylis Walen replied:

    Well this was good I actually got something out of it. By: Cheap Deals

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: