Electronic commerce is more impersonal, anonymous and automated than traditional person-to-person commerce, and as such, typically lacks human warmth and sociability. This paper explores how human warmth and sociability can be integrated through the Web interface to positively impact consumer attitudes towards online shopping. An empirical study was undertaken to investigate the impact of various levels of socially-rich text and picture design elements on the perception of online social presence and its subsequent effect on antecedents of Website attitude. Higher levels of social presence are shown to positively impact the perceived usefulness, trust and enjoyment of shopping Websites, leading to more favourable consumer attitudes. Implications of these finding for practitioners and future research are outlined.
Hassanein, Khaled and Head, Milena, "Instilling Social Presence through the Web Interface" (2004). SIGHCI 2004 Proceedings. 9.