Customers' perceived benefits of interacting in a virtual brand community in China

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

38 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-66
Journal / PublicationJournal of Electronic Commerce Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


This study examines how customer interactions in virtual brand community (VBC) affect perceived benefits and brand loyalty. We propose an integrated framework to conceptualize the relationships between VBC interactions, perceived benefits, participation and loyalty, with brand identity as moderating variable. Given the popularity of Apple's products in China, Mcfans, a VBC frequented by Apple customers, was chosen as study platform to administer an online survey to 207 Mcfans members. Results were analyzed by Partial Least Squares method, revealing (1) different customer interactions (i.e. product-content, human-computer, & interpersonal) have different effects on perceived benefits (including cognitive, social-integrative, personal-integrative and affective); (2) customer VBC interactions significantly influence future participation and brand loyalty; (3) brand identity has positively moderating effects on the links from interpersonal VBC interactions to perceived cognitive, social-integrative, personal-integrative and affective benefits; and (4) brand identity also negatively moderates the impacts of product-content VBC interactions on perceived cognitive and personal-integrative benefits. This research addresses a literature gap in relation to VBC participation and its benefits, from both customers' and managers' perspectives. Findings offer practitioners actionable measures for facilitating VBC interactions and boosting desired benefits for customers and the brand.

Research Area(s)

  • Brand identity, Brand loyalty, Customer interactions, Perceived benefits, Virtual brand community in China