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Facilitating the Commercialization of Collaborative Consumption Websites: Effects of Free Trial Strategy and Price Transparency on Users' Behavioral Intentions, Attitudes, and Emotions.

Wiesner, J. (2017) Facilitating the Commercialization of Collaborative Consumption Websites: Effects of Free Trial Strategy and Price Transparency on Users' Behavioral Intentions, Attitudes, and Emotions.

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Abstract:The rise of the sharing economy over the last decade is a disruptive megatrend that is profoundly transforming consumer behavior. This study investigates the case of collaborative consumption (CC) platforms, which enable the peer-to-peer-based exchange of goods and services facilitated by information and communications technologies (ICT). In doing so, it seeks to address the problem of user backlashes in the context of a start-up platform’s commercialization. The aim of this paper is to identify effective measures to counteract user resentment and user migration as negative consequences of a payment scheme introduction. Specifically, the effects of different types of trialability strategies (freemium vs. time-locked free trial) and different levels of price transparency (low vs. high) on users’ perceived risk, trust, future usage intention, word-of-mouth intention, brand attitude, and brand affect are assessed. To put these considerations into practice, a 2x2 scenario-based experiment was carried out by means of an online survey. A fictitious CC marketplace start-up formed the basis of the data collection. The gathered sample (N = 219) was balanced in terms of age distribution, gender, and educational background and consisted of German individuals. After applying structural equation modeling, the results revealed significant main effects for price transparency on all above mentioned outcome variables. Moreover, interaction effects of trialability strategy and price transparency as predictors on CC platform users’ perceived risk and trust were detected. Risk and trust in turn function as mediators in the model: While perceived risk was found to negatively impact trust, trust determined users’ behavioral intentions, attitudes, and emotions in regard to the portrayed CC platform. This study underlines the importance of a marketing approach geared towards cultivating long-term consumer-brand relationships on the basis of trust. CC platforms may achieve this by implementing a communication strategy with consistent high levels of price transparency. Firstly, companies should reveal both current and future accruing fees as early as at the time of a user’s initial registration. Secondly, this pricing information should be presented in a salient manner, while being supported by appropriate formatting and graphical elements. Thirdly, platforms can profit from deliberately pairing high price transparency with a certain type of trialability strategy: In order to stimulate trust while reducing perceived risk, employing the time-locked free trial promises optimized results. Future studies are advised to focus on investigating other useful risk-reducing and trust-building measures, which may promote more positive user responses in regards to the commercialization of CC platforms. Keywords: sharing economy, collaborative consumption, platform commercialization, trialability strategy, freemium, time-locked free trial, price transparency, brand trust
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/71822
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