CEC Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Maxine S Cohen

Committee Member

Laurie P Dringus

Committee Member

Sumitra Mukherjee

Abstract

Electronic commerce sales continue rising due to Internet growth. However, online retailers may not be doing enough to promote their products causing them to forego potential profits. Stimulating impulse purchase behavior, online retailing environments have the capability to increase profits. Research has not conclusively identified how Web site aesthetics impact perceived ease of use (PE) and perceived usefulness (PU) as antecedents of intention to purchase in impulse purchase behavior. Understanding this impact of Web site aesthetics will enable online retailers to design Web sites that engage users, leading to additional purchases.

Using the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), a framework frequently referenced and studied within information systems research, this study adapted the TAM to identify a model conceptualizing the effects of Web site color (CA), images (IA), and typography (TA) aesthetics on PE and PU for individuals among those exhibiting a higher than average impulse buying tendency (IBT). The TAM posits PE and PU contribute to an individual's behavioral intention. Research has shown Web site aesthetics have the ability to influence PE and PU.

This descriptive study developed and executed a Web-based experiment using a fictitious purchase scenario and post-experiment survey with a 32-item instrument measuring: CA, IA, TA, PE, PU, and IBT. A total of 301 responses were gathered. Data analysis using various statistical tests and simple path analysis was performed to propose a modified TAM. Consumer demographics, age and gender, were also considered.

The results demonstrated CA, IA, and TA correlated significantly with PE and PU. TA was found to be the largest contributor to PE and PU, followed by IA. CA was not found to contribute to PE or PU. Age was found to significantly affect PU only for 25-34 year olds, indicating the age group may be influenced easier by Web site aesthetics than other age groups. No significant differences were found in PU and gender, PE and age groups, or PE and gender despite prior literature concluding relationships existed. Research implications include recommendations for Web site design and the identification of an adapted TAM displaying the influence of Web site aesthetics on PE and PU.

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