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Journal cover: Internet Research

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Online from: 1991

Subject Area: Information and Knowledge Management

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Online experiences and virtual goods purchase intention

Document Information:
Title:Online experiences and virtual goods purchase intention
Author(s):Echo Huang, (Department of Information Management, National Kaohsiung First University of Science & Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC)
Citation:Echo Huang, (2012) "Online experiences and virtual goods purchase intention", Internet Research, Vol. 22 Iss: 3, pp.252 - 274
Keywords:Customer behaviour, Flow, Interactivity, Involvement, Purchase intention, Social identity, Social networks, Virtual goods
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/10662241211235644 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:This paper has benefited from the feedback provided by the two anonymous reviewers. The author would like to thank Professor Ching-Wen Chen for his assistance in the data analysis section. This study was funded by National Science Council under project number NSC 98-2416-H-327-002.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of interactive and social features on users' online experiences and their purchase intention of virtual goods from a social network site.

Design/methodology/approach – A banner with a hyperlink that connected to the author's web survey was posted on the homepage of Facebook. Of the 258 responses returned, 176 were fully completed. Measurement items were adapted from previous literature. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to evaluate the research model and hypotheses testing.

Findings – The results of an empirical study supported the use of the stimuli-organism-response (S-O-R) model in a social networking site and showed how environmental features should be incorporated to enhance users' online experiences and purchase intentions. Specifically, social identity showed the strongest influence on involvement and flow. More specifically, affective involvement showed the greatest influence on purchase intention compared to flow and cognitive involvement.

Practical implications – The relative importance of both interactivity and social identity in platform features in shaping consumers' online experiences should not be ignored. The author suggests online games or apps. Additionally, platform providers should advance social identity features that show a strong positive impact on users' online experiences.

Originality/value – With the proliferation of online social gaming, there is growing evidence for virtual goods consumption; however, relatively few studies have discussed this phenomenon. This paper draws on hypotheses from environmental psychology; specifically, users' intentions to purchase are modeled on user responses to the online stimuli of a Web platform and the online experience that such an environment elicits.

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