Consumers' perceived risks associated with purchasing on a branded web site: The mediating effect of brand knowledge

Boshoff C. ; Schlechter C. ; Ward S.-J. (2011)


Research concerning online consumer behaviour has found that consumers are more inclined to utilise the Internet for information searching rather than actual purchasing. One reason proposed for this state of affairs is that potential buyers perceive buying on the Internet as a risky endeavour. The unique purchasing decision in an online environment is different from a traditional purchasing environment and as a result online transactions differ from the traditional 'bricks-and-mortar' environment. These differences may lead to risk perceptions among potential purchasers that are unique to online purchase intention. This study assesses the impact of the perceived risks associated with intention to purchase online from a well-established, branded web site on purchasing intentions. A secondary objective of the study was to assess whether the consumer's brand knowledge (brand awareness and brand image) mediates the impact of risk perceptions on the intention to purchase from the web site. It was found that both Performance risk and Social risk exert a strong negative influence on Intentions to purchase on a branded web site. Personal risk, however, do not impact on intentions to purchase on a branded web site. Furthermore, it was found that Brand knowledge does act as a mediating variable between Performance risk and Intentions to buy on a branded web site. Brand knowledge, however does not mediate the impact of Social risk on intentions to buy on a branded web site.

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