Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 24 Number 4 2008 pp. 199-224

Explaining and Predicting the Impact of Branding Alliances and Web Site Quality on Initial Consumer Trust of E-Commerce Web Sites

Lowry, Paul Benjamin, Vance, Anthony, Moody, Gregory D, Beckman, Bryan, and Read, Aaron

ABSTRACT: Trust is a crucial factor in e-commerce. However, consumers are less likely to trust unknown Web sites. This study explores how less-familiar e-commerce Web sites can use branding alliances and Web site quality to increase the likelihood of initial consumer trust. We use the associative network model of memory to explain brand knowledge and to show how the mere exposure effect can be leveraged to improve a Web site's brand image. We also extend information integration theory to explain how branding alliances are able to increase initial trust and transfer positive effects to Web sites. Testing of our model shows that the most important constructs for increasing initial trust in our experimental context are branding and Web site quality. Finally, we discuss future research ideas, limitations, implications, and ideas for practitioners.

Key words and phrases: associative network model of memory, brand awareness, brand image, branding alliance, electronic commerce, information integration theory, Internet, trust, Web site quality