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Can the building of trust overcome consumer perceived risk online?

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Purpose ‐ To explore the role of trust and risk in consumers' apparent reluctance to convert from internet browsers to potential online purchasers. To consider how marketing planners in that environment can devise strategies that balance perceptions of risk against perceptions of trustworthiness. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The literatures of trust and risk were reviewed, with a focus on internet usage and online buying. Six components of organisational trust are used as the framework for a discussion of perceived risk, and of the tactics available to counterbalance perceptions of the riskiness of online buying with evidence of the trustworthiness of the online merchant. Findings ‐ The conclusion is that marketing planners can overcome the barrier of perceived risk if they find the means to generate sufficient trust among their potential customers. Research limitations/implications ‐ This presents no empirical evidence but does draw together the work of others and build from it a framework for understanding how the twin concepts of risk and trust work together. Fellow researchers are invited to test its propositions experimentally. Practical implications ‐ Planners of marketing campaigns for online suppliers of products and services can use the framework presented in this paper as a basis for the formulation of effective strategies to convert current web-browsers into future internet shoppers, and thereby benefit to the full from the advantages of online distribution channels. Originality/value ‐ Provides a general overview of a topic that is clearly relevant to gatherers of marketing intelligence and planners of marketing strategy, in the rapidly changing online environment.
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Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Internet; Marketing planning; Risk management; Trust

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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