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User interfaces and consumer perceptions of online stores: The role of telepresence

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As competition in B2C e-commerce becomes more fierce, online stores have made efforts to attract consumer attention by adopting state-of-the-art technologies. Specifically, virtual reality (VR) has recently been gaining prominence on the Internet because it enables consumers to experience products over the web, an activity that plays a key role in obviating consumers' lack of real physical contact with products. VR simulates direct experiences in mediated environments, and it can generate a compelling sense of telepresence . The present study proposes a research model to analyse and evaluate the impact of telepresence on consumer perception, based on existing theories of telepresence and consumer learning. A laboratory experiment with three user interfaces – multiple pictures, video clips and VR – has been conducted to test the model. The VR interface produced the highest level of telepresence, as expected. Telepresence in turn generally augments consumers' product knowledge, attitudes and purchase intentions, and reduces consumer perceptions of product risk and discrepancies between online product information and actual products, directly or indirectly.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Business, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea 2: Office of General Affairs, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

Publication date: 01 March 2006

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