Examining customers' trust in online vendors and their dropout decisions: An empirical study

Patrick Y.K. Chau, Paul Jen Hwa Hu, Bill L.P. Lee, Anson K.K. Au

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Customer dropouts represent a critical challenge to online vendors and have severely constrained the proliferation of electronic retailing, which greatly depends on the customer eventually clicking on the "confirm purchase" button. In this study, we investigate the relationship between customers' trust in an online vendor and their dropouts in different stages of the purchase process. Using a well-established consumer decision-making process, we analyze salient online trust antecedents for each purchase stage, develop specific hypotheses, and test them empirically. Our results suggest that customers' trust in an online vendor has significant effects on their decisions to exit from the vendor's website, and that salient trust antecedents vary in different stages of the consumer decision process. According to our findings, customers by and large depend on general, subjective antecedents pertaining to personal traits or perceptions about the website's ease of use to assess the trustworthiness of an online vendor in the early stages but focus on specific, objective, transaction-oriented antecedents directly related to their purchase decision making in the later stages. Our results have important implications for research and practice which are also discussed in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
Number of pages12
JournalElectronic Commerce Research and Applications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer decision process
  • Consumer dropout
  • E-commerce
  • Trust
  • Trust antecedents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Marketing
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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