by Yakov Bart, Venkatesh Shankar, Fareena Sultan, and Glen Urban
This research investigates the determinants and role of consumer trust in e-business. It examines consumer perceptions of trust in a Web site and addresses the following key research questions: What factors influence consumer trust in a Web site and what specific Web site trust cues are associated with these factors? How does trust affect consumer behavioral intent on a Web site? To address these questions, we develop a conceptual model that links consumer perceptions of Web site characteristics, consumer characteristics and demographics to perceptions of trust in a Web site, and trust to behavioral intent related to a Web site. We also examine whether trust mediates the relationship between Web site and consumer characteristics and behavioral intent related to the Web site. We test our hypotheses in a large-scale empirical study that estimates this model from 6831 consumers across 25 Web sites and eight industry categories. We validate the model using a holdout sample. The results show that Web site, consumer, category and demographic variables can explain 76% of the variance in trust. Web site characteristics such as privacy and security, navigation, presentation, brand, and advice account for as much as 98% of this explained variance in Web site trust. Surprisingly, over 80% of the explained variance in Web trust is due to factors other than privacy and security—mainly navigation, brand, advice, absence of errors, and presentation. We also find that trust mediates the relationships between Web site and consumer characteristics and behavioral intent related to Web sites. The results offer important implications for Web site strategies that include the manipulation of factors influencing Web site trust to favorably impact consumer behavior at the Web site.