Effects of source credibility and information quality on attitudes and purchase intentions of apparel products : A quantitative study of online shopping among consumers in Sweden
Nowadays rapid development of information and communication technologies induced changes in many spheres of society. Digital media gives an access to diverse information sources ensuring vast available information. However, it became more difficult to evaluate credibility of these sources and quality of information provided by them. Issues of source credibility and information quality are particularly important in the context of online shopping. Consumers have to rely on information provided by online retailers and other sources in order to make a right purchase decision. The purpose of this master thesis is to examine effects of source credibility and information quality on attitude toward using the information source and purchase intention. Previous research investigated these effects only for one information source, thus, this study addresses this gap by exploring three online information sources: retailer source, eWOM source and neutral source. Furthermore, the theoretical framework is applied to the context of online apparel shopping, as no similar studies have beenconducted in this area before. We have formulated the following research question: What kind of effects do source credibility and information quality have on attitude toward using information source and purchase intention of apparel products? We used Theory of Reasoned Action and Information Adoption Model to develop a conceptual model. Data was collected from a sample of 180 respondents, who completed the online survey. Empirical findings demonstrate that factors of source credibility such as trustworthiness, expertise and attractiveness have positive effects on the attitude toward using eWOM source, while only trustworthiness and expertise positively affect the attitude toward using neutral source. For eWOM and neutral source relationships between factors of information quality and the attitude toward using the information source were found insignificant. On the contrary, for retailer source only factors ofinformation quality, accuracy and relevance, show positive effects on the attitude toward using retailer source. For all three sources attitudes toward using the information source and subjective norms positively affect purchase intentions. This work contributes to the existing knowledge by examining three online information sources in one study, which enables to discover differences in effects of source credibility and information quality on the attitude toward using the information source and purchase intention among sources. Furthermore, this paper provides recommendations for practitioners regarding improvement of perceived credibility and information quality ofeach information source in order to increase the number of consumers willing to use the source during information search.
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