Editor’s Introduction 19(1)

Vladimir Zwass, Editor
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 9, Number 1, Fall 2014, pp. 5-10.

Trust underpins e-commerce. Its sources can be many, and the consequences of its absence can be deadly to the offeror of a good or service online. It is not surprising that the sources of trust and mistrust have been thoroughly researched in our field. And yet, new and significant contributions to our understanding of trust keep on emerging. Dan J. Kim presents such a contribution here, as he empirically studies trust in e-commerce as a multilevel construct in the intrapersonal, systemic, and interpersonal perspectives and as he considers trust building as a dynamic process that evolves with new evidence that buttresses or diminishes the trust reserve. The work opens new theoretical horizons and has practical implications. This is a paper that will resonate.

Online auctions are another well-trodden research domain, owing to the capabilities furnished by the Internet-Web, and in particular by the growing m-commerce, to aggregate the demand and supply necessary for a critical mass in these enterprises. Again, a novel contribution is offered here, as Achita (Mi) Muthitachareon, Mehmet Barut, and Khawaja A. Saeed deploy the cognitive effort theory to explain the relationship between the prices, or values, of products offered in an auction and the uncertainty the buyers face and the effort they perceive is needed to apprehend the consequences of a transaction. This, in turn, affects the price premiums. The results the authors obtain empirically may appear counterintuitive, yet when analyzed they are in agreement with the theoretical basis of the work.

Social influence affects the effectiveness of selling. As the authors of the next paper, Yung-Ming Li, Lienfa Lin, and Shih-Wen Chiu, stress, it also affects the effectiveness of advertising. They consequently propose an advertising mechanism that would deploy social amplification to raise the effectiveness of online advertising. The authors present and test empirically an ad-endorsement mechanism that acts within the context of a social network and leverages its influence. The work is theoretically motivated and has obvious practical applications.

Similarly, the authors of the next paper investigate the interplay between consumer reviews (endorsements when positive) and the recommendations provided by recommender systems. Daniela Baum and Martin Spann investigate empirically the effects of inconsistencies between these two recommendation sets and within the consumer-review set on the consumers’ decision-making process. Nuanced findings emerge that are certain to help e-tailers to understand the interrelated effects of the two recommendation sets.

The information technology (IT) industry, and consumer IT in particular, is rife with standards wars. Establishing a successful standard can lead to an overwhelming success at the expense of the competitors in such a “war.” Standards wars, and the intentions of consumers to switch to a new standard, are the subject of study by the authors of the concluding paper, Tung-Ching Lin and Shiu-Li Huang. These authors propose a three-pronged model of drivers that affect consumers’ actions, focusing on push, pull, and mooring (status quo) factors. They proceed to validate the model via survey-based empirics in the context of smartphones. The model may be found helpful by both the defenders and the attackers in standards contests, to be enacted to large audiences as the Internet-of-Things comes to fruition.