The role of website quality and social capital in building buyers’ loyalty

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1563-1574
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Information Management
Issue number1
Online published29 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


Buyers’ loyalty is critical for the success and survival of any online seller. Prior research regards social capital as an important determinant of an individual's behavior. However, current knowledge on how social capital is built in the Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) e-commerce context is incomplete. Drawing on signaling theory and social capital theory, this study proposes a model to investigate how sellers’ website quality (i.e., information quality, system quality and service quality) affects the development of social capital between buyers and sellers, which in turn improves buyers’ loyalty in the C2C online shopping context. Data collected from 307 buyers on TaoBao, China's largest C2C online shopping platform, was used to empirically test the research model. The results indicate that not all of these three dimensions of website quality are positively related to cognitive and structural capital. Furthermore, although cognitive and relational capital are positively related to buyers’ loyalty, structural capital is not associated with buyers’ loyalty. Our findings bridge the literature gap about the formation of social capital in the C2C e-commerce context by demonstrating how website quality dimensions exert different effects on cognitive and structural capital. For online sellers, the results suggest that they should strategically offer appropriate website quality dimensions to build social capital with buyers in order to maintain buyers’ loyalty. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Information quality, Loyalty, Service quality, Social capital, System quality