Exploring The Internet As A Unique Shopping Channel To Sell Both Real And Virtual Items: A Comparison Of Factors Affecting Purchase Intention And Consumer Characteristics


Jiyoung Cha


The U.S. online retail sector has been steadily growing in the past years, but it is noteworthy that many Internet users are still reluctant to use online channels for shopping frequently. Given this consumer resistance and the fierce competition among shopping channels, this study aims to provide managerial insights into how online merchants can reinforce and maximize unique and differentiated values in executing shopping services as an Internet-based system. To that end, this study compares two types of products/services that online merchants can market —“real” and “virtual” items — with respect to factors affecting purchase intention and consumer characteristics. Using a survey of 350 college students, this study reveals that college students apply different criteria in making the decision to use an online shopping channel, according to the product types. Perceived benefits and risks of online shopping are salient factors affecting intention to purchase real items through the Internet, but they do not have any impact on intention to purchase virtual items. Specifically, perceived usefulness, ease of use, enjoyment, security, social norm, flow, and gender affect intention to purchase real items through the Internet. Social norm and gender are the two predictors of intention to purchase virtual items.

Key Word: 

Published Date: 

May, 2011

Full File: