Customer dropout represents a critical challenge to online vendors and has significantly hindered the proliferation of B-to-C e-commerce. In this study, we investigate the relationship between customers’ trust in an online vendor and their decisions to exit of the vendor’s website along the general consumer decision process. We analyze important salient trust antecedents for each stage of the decision process and empirically test them and their correlation with the dropout decision by conducting an online study that involves undergraduate business students from two major universities in the U.S. and Hong Kong, respectively. Our comparative analysis results are fairly consistent and suggest that customers’ trust in an online vendor has significant effects on their decisions to exit of the vendor’s website, and that important salient trust antecedents appear to vary in different stages of the consumer decision process. Interestingly, our findings show that customers tend to rely on general, subjective antecedents that pertain to personal traits or perceptions about the website’s ease of use for assessing the trustworthiness of an online vendor in the early stages but focus on specific, objective, transaction-oriented antecedents specific to their purchase decision making in the later stages. Our results show little differences between the investigated countries and have important implications for e-commerce research and practice, which are discussed in the paper.
Cha, Patrick Y.K; Hu, Paul Jen-Hwa; Lee, Bill L.P; and Ng, Rosseita M.H, "Customers’ Trust in Online Vendors and Their Dropout Decisions: A Cross-Country Study" (2006). PACIS 2006 Proceedings. 89.