Online Consumers’ Attribute Non-Attendance Behavior: Effects of Information Provision

Leonard Maaya, Michel Meulders, and Martina Vandebroek
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 24, Number 3, 2020, pp. 338-365.


In online shopping, e-consumers often choose one among many websites on which to place their orders. The choice depends on key attributes such as trust labels. Presence of such a label shows that the website has been independently certified for online security and privacy. However, consumers may not search for websites with security and privacy seals if they do not know the importance of trust certificates. This behavior of ignoring attributes is called attribute non-attendance. Consumers’ attention to attributes can be increased through provision of information. We investigate the attribute non-attendance switching behavior when information on attributes is provided. Studies have modeled the impact of providing attribute information through changes in preference parameters. We show that an alternative approach is to model the impact via changes in attendance probabilities. We propose that an attribute’s attendance probability post-information depends on its attendance pattern pre-information. Applied to webshop choice data, we find that the proposed model gives a better fit compared with standard approaches. Providing information on attributes led to increases in consumers’ attention to the concerned attributes. Additionally, we found that consumer characteristics affect the shifts in attribute attendance behavior. We show that when assessing effects of providing information, considering the effect on attributes’ attention is important. We provide evidence that availing information on key attributes can give brands a competitive advantage.