Online Trust and it’s Antecedents

We’ve discussed the use of online shopping and gender previously. Especially women are skeptical towards online shopping, they tend to fear risks and threats associated with online shopping. The acceptance of online transactions depend on the perceived risks involved, the technology used for the online transactions and the organizations as the other parties in the transactions.

A recent review discusses the research of the determinants of online trust within e-commerce, e-government and e-health.

The antecedents of online trust:

  • Propensity to trust facilitates or moderates the impact of other attributes on trust information such as the system used, the websites used.
  • Those with a higher level of experience tend to have a decline in trust for online transactions probably due to the accumulation of knowledge about how things can go wrong with online transactions. Things going wrong increases their anxiety for privacy and security violations.
  • The ease of use of the website with good navigation, search functions, product indices and the overall design improves trustworthiness. Low levels of usability generate technical errors which increases feelings of distrust and anxiety
  • The information on the website should be free from errors e.g. spelling should be correct, information should be accurate, current and complete. This is especially true for e-health
  • Colors of low brightness and used symmetrically as well as 3d graphics on the website increase trustworthiness, data from only one study.
  • Social presence or the degree of feeling, perception, and reaction of being connected by computer-mediated communication to another intellectual entity through a text-based encounter also increases trustworthiness.
  • The ability to tailor products, services to the users is also of importance and can increase reliability of the vendor although data are scarce
  • Strong privacy policies and good transaction security on a company’s website results in a higher perception of trustworthiness
  • Guarantees from third parties and security certifications can improve online trustworthiness
  • The positive experiences expressed online or by word-of-mouth, positive referrals also increases clients’ trust in online organizations. A flame war online is disastrous for a company
  • Offline presence of a company with a good reputation also increases trust in the companies online business
  • Good online experiences improve trustworthiness of that company

A limited number studies were found on the antecedents of e-government and e-health websites in contrast to the subject of e-commerce, the authors therefor conclude:

Understanding some of the determinants of trust in online economic exchanges could also inform research interests in online trust within e-government and e-health.
Beldad, A., de Jong, M., & Steehouder, M. (2010). How shall I trust the faceless and the intangible? A literature review on the antecedents of online trust Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2010.03.013