|Prof. Charles Dennis|
The background to this paper is that shoppers, particularly women, are motivated by a variety of different reasons, including socialising and enjoyment. Despite the growth of Internetretailing (e-retailing), these social needs are largely unmet in e-shopping. In the high street, women do most of the shopping but online shopping (e-shopping) tends to be dominated by male shoppers. At the same time, social networking is growing fast and is especially popular amongst young females. The purpose of this paper is to draw on prior research about why people shop in order to explore the concept of social e-shopping, based on combining eshopping with social networking. We propose that shoppers, particularly young females, will prefer social e-shopping to traditional e-shopping. We carried out a qualitative study for our
propositions with a comparison experiment, semi-structured questionnaire and focus group, to compare a traditional e-shopping website with a social e-shopping one. The findings reveal that young women prefer social e-shopping sites. Both utilitarian and hedonic young adult female shoppers found social e-shopping enjoyable and useful. However, although many participants found the social e-shopping site more difficult to use, this was outweighed by their enjoyment of the site and its usefulness. The study demonstrates the potential value of the concept of social e-shopping for future research. The findings have practical implications in that social e-shopping can be a valuable strategy for e-retailers wanting to gain competitive advantage and to positively increase the e-shopping behaviour intentions of young women.
This study is original in being the first academic study of which we are aware to propose the concept of social e-shopping and examine the influences of social e-shopping on consumer shopping behaviour.