Posted by: paulacunniffe | 09/29/2010

Online shopping – the good, the bad and the indifferent.

Meet Lauren (23, from Long Island, completing her master’s in December) and Emily (23, from Tampa, just started her master’s this Fall). Finally, meet Steve (20, from West Palm Beach, a Junior). Lauren and Emily are my roommates. Steve is Emily’s boyfriend. All three are UF students.

They were my three guinea pigs for this week’s blog post.


1. Have you purchased anything online? Do you shop online often?

2. How did you feel about purchasing online before your first purchase?

3. Describe your first online purchase?

4. How did you feel about online purchasing after your first purchase? Did your original view change?

5. If you had the opposite experience (i.e positive or negative) would your feelings be different?

6. What do you like and dislike about online shopping?


All three have shopped online. Lauren and Emily were both anxious and nervous before their first purchase. Both were worried about the security of their credit card. Lauren was also worried about the validity/authenticity of the products. Would she get what she ordered? I should mention that Steve is an incredibly laid-back person – it takes a lot to worry him! He said he wasn’t worried but it is a long time since he made his first purchase.

Lauren had a good first experience of shopping online. She bought books from the UF bookstore so she says she knew it was a ‘safe’ option. Emily also had a good first experience, but she adds that she recently had an awful experience. She didn’t get what she ordered and her money wasn’t refunded for over a week. She said this wouldn’t stop her from buying things online, but she won’t use that website again.

Lauren also said she has had terrible experiences, especially from one website, because she bought items that turned out to be bad quality. She is sceptical of buying things online now and avoids it when she can.

Steve has bought lots of things on eBay and is happy with his purchases. He said he checks the reputability of the sellers before he buys something. He likes buying things online because he’s lazy – he doesn’t like going to the store (that’s a quote!) His only criticism is that sometimes you can’t ask questions before buying.

Lauren and Emily both like that online shopping allows them to shop from stores not located locally. Their dislikes include not being able to try things on and having to wait for them to arrive.

The two girls were apprehensive about shopping online. Lauren still is and says she doesn’t shop online much. Her first purchase changed her view, increasing her intent to buy again, but subsequent bad experiences have turned her off. She doesn’t trust the ‘unknown person’ she is buying from. Steve has a high level of trust, but checks who he is buying from on sites like eBay. Emily had a good first experience and has a high level of social trust. She will still shop online despite having had a bad experience. Steve was the anomaly in the group (does it have anything to do with him being a guy I wonder?!) He had a high level of social trust before shopping online and continues to do so.

This goes along with Mutz’s findings that those who have a positive experience in their first online shopping experience have a higher intent of buying again and have increased social trust in those they do not know – online sellers. Bad experiences can lower this trust but it seems that people will still buy online – but perhaps not from the ‘bad’ website.




  2. Hmm, I’m wondering if your Steve is a guy who buys a lot of cameras … if so, I know him!

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