Interaction Style of Virtual Shopping Agents: Effects on Social Presence and Older Consumers’
Experience in E-tail Sites
A growing stream of research has emphasized the important role played by virtual shopping agents in consumer experience in e-tail environments, particularly in the context of older consumers (Chattaraman et al., 2012). In a recent study, Keeling et al. (2010) found that style of agent communication (task- vs. social-oriented) is an important factor influencing user trust and patronage intention for online shopping. Specifically, the authors found that taskoriented communications is more effective for search goods/services (books), whereas socialoriented communication style contributes more to credence goods/services (insurance). The purpose of the current study was: 1) to examine effectiveness of social- and task-oriented interaction styles for older consumers and 2) to examine the moderating role of gender on the effects of social vs. task-oriented interactional style.