The effect of virtual sales agent (VSA) gender – product gender congruence on product advice credibility, trust in VSA and online vendor, and purchase intention

Ardion Daroca Beldad, Sabrina Hegner, Sabrina Hegner, Jip Hoppen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Online vendors are increasingly using virtual sales assistants (VSA), either in the form of an animated picture or a photograph of a real person, to help customers with their product-related information needs. Currently, what is known is that the use of a VSA in an online web shop results in positive outcomes such as trust and purchase intention. What remains unknown, however, is whether or not VSA gender-product gender congruence has a positive effect on customers' attitude towards the product-related advice, the VSA, and the online vendor and on customers' online purchase intention. To determine the hypothesized effect of VSA gender-product gender on variables such as trust and purchase intention, a 2 (VSA gender: male vs female)–×–3 (product gender: male, female, and neutral) experiment with 183 inhabitants (between the age of 18 and 30) of the Netherlands was implemented. Results of the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) reveal that congruence between VSA gender and product gender (e.g. female VSA providing advice about a feminine product) positively influences customers' belief in the credibility of the product-related advice, their trust in the VSA and the online vendor, and their purchase intention. The separate main effects of VSA gender and product gender on the aforementioned dependent variables, however, are not statistically significant. Furthermore, customers' gender did not serve any moderating function in the relationship between VSA gender-product gender congruence and the dependent variables.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-72
JournalComputers in human behavior
Volume60
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • METIS-315981
  • IR-99514

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