Strategic Integration of the Online Shopping Facilitating Information in a Within-Website Online Shopping Process

Project: Research

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Online shopping facilitating information refers to the shopping decision aiding information that originates from a recommendation system and the descriptions of the assessment of a product composed by either product experts or customers who had previously purchased the merchandise (Li et al. 2008; Xiao et al. 2007). The presence of such information could potentially influence customary product branding, advertising initiatives, and purchase behavior (Chen et al. 2005). In the e-marketplace, online merchants are already actively providing a great volume of online shopping facilitating information on shopping websites, such as,, and (Forman et al. 2008). However, in such a situation consumers are confronted with mind-boggling shopping facilitating information during the shopping process. Hence, they are often unable to process such information systematically and instead opt to abandon the purchase (Chen et al. 2007). This scenario presents a pertinent and fundamental issue: how online shopping facilitating information can be strategically integrated in the within-website online shopping process to assist consumers in making purchase decisions. More elaborately, when merchants incorporate this information in their shopping websites, the question that arises is: Within an online shopping website, how is it possible to strategically integrate online shopping facilitating information originating from a recommendation system or product reviews (from experts and previous customers), with the aim of facilitating consumer purchase decision making in the online shopping process?Previous research on online shopping facilitating information often devoted to focusing on how such information influences consumers’ preferences and the assessment of its usefulness in decision making situations (Chen et al. 2007; Park et al. 2008; Savolainen 2009). Scholars have frequently regarded providing the online shopping facilitating information as a way in which consumers could unconditionally receive its influence (Chevalier et al. 2006). Moreover, when receiving a plethora of such information, consumers often lack the capacity to process such information systematically and hence their shopping decision performance is weakened (Peterson et al. 2003). In this regard, establishing a theoretical understanding of how to strategically incorporate the online shopping facilitating information into the within-website shopping process would be essential (Xia et al. 2008). From the practical perspective, there is a dearth of research for practitioners on how to provide the online shopping facilitating information efficiently and successfully (Chen et al. 2008; Hu et al. 2008). Adding insights to these perspectives, this project aims to address this research gap on the issue of strategic integration of the online shopping facilitating information in a within-website shopping process and its impact on the consumers’ decision-making performance.For this project, we adopt the theoretical lens of the sense-making theory to conduct a series of studies. Our project will consist of two parts. Part I will concentrate on the theoretical review of the online shopping facilitating information and the application of the theoretical foundation. Part II will focus on our progressive studies to examine how online shopping facilitating information could be incorporated into a website. Based on the empirical investigations, we will highlight managerial implications for merchants and service providers in Hong Kong (but not limited to this country) who are currently engaging in online businesses or contemplating such a move. In addition, our strategic integration plan of online shopping facilitating information would also serve as an important marketing strategic tool for commercial and research purposes.


Project number9041839
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1325/10/16