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Abstract

Consumer trust of Internet vendors is a major factor influencing the success of e-commerce. To enhance consumer trust, many e-retailers are experimenting with various trust-building strategies, including participation in third-party assurance programs. This study presents a model describing the relationship between third-party assurance seals, trust, and online purchasing intentions. Five manipulations of a simulated retail website were used to test eight model-derived hypotheses. Initial results do support hypothesized relationships between disposition to trust, trust of the e-retailer, perceived risk, attitude toward purchasing from the e-retailer, and intention to purchase. Hypotheses addressing a positive relationship between the viewing of assurance seals and consumer trust of a specific e-retailer are not supported. Contrary to early studies, post hoc results reveal that one seal type, the privacy assurance seal, did have a small, but significant, positive impact on consumer trust of an unfamiliar e-retailer.

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