Due to the large group of internet users who still lack the confidence to purchase online, in this dissertation we decided to investigate the factors that might reduce the feeling of distrust experienced by internet users during the process of browsing a web store’s page for the first time. We decided to focus our attention on the personal and external factors that might enhance internet users’ level of trust toward a new web store because we believe that the commercial success of an e-vendor derives from its ability to engender instant trust in e-visitors. To investigate what factors might be able to enhance internet users’ level of trust toward a new web store, we structured our work as follows:
In the first chapter, we focused our attention on the risks and benefits associated with online shopping to understand what factors might encourage or discourage econsumers’ purchase intention. Furthermore, we explained the important role of trust in reducing the feeling of risk associated with online transactions.
In the second chapter, we described the concept of trust from a general perspective by listing the evolutionary stages of trust (Calculus-Based, Knowledge-Based and Identification-Based) and the differences that characterise each stage. Furthermore, we described the concept of distrust and the different relationships that can exist between trust and distrust.
After describing the concept of trust from a general perspective, in the third chapter, we focused our attention on initial trust, the typology of trust that comes into play in the assessment of an unknown web store’s page. Furthermore, we described in detail the TrustBuilding Model of Initial Trust and the five dimensions that compose it to explain how these dimensions interrelate and what factors influence them.
In the fourth chapter, we listed the factors that in our opinion have the power to influence the e-visitor’s level of trust towards a new web store. The thirteen factors listed in this chapter are the result of a theoretical research that analysed different scientific studies with the objective of finding out the most relevant and frequently mentioned antecedent of e-consumers’ initial trust.
Finally, in the fifth and sixth chapters we reported the methodology and the result of our survey to describe the extent to which the factors listed in the fourth chapter have the power to enhance the e-consumers’ level of trust towards a new web store.