This paper focuses on the social shopping community (SSC), an emerging e-commerce business model of youth entrepreneurship that generates revenues through facilitating online purchase. We develop a model based on the stimulus-organism-response (S-O-R) framework and use it to investigate how website characteristics, which we describe as sociability and self reference, of social shopping environment influence consumers’ cognitive and emotional trust in SSCs, as well as how trust in turn affects their purchase intention. The results of our survey of 405 members of Meilishuo, a Chinese SSC, indicate that sociability and self reference features significantly influence cognitive and emotional trust, and in turn the likelihood and magnitude of online purchase. Moreover, the emotional trust plays a greater role in influencing consumers’ intention to purchase through the SSC than cognitive trust, and participant involvement moderates the relationship between trust and purchase intention. This work contributes to our understanding of the dynamics that govern consumer behaviour in SSCs and adds to the broader line of research on social commerce. It also provides insights into how young entrepreneurs can tap the economic values of social commerce.
Keywords: social shopping, youth entrepreneurship, website characteristics, trust, sociability, personalisation, self reference, purchase intention, S-O-R framework