CONSUMER PERCEIVED RISK AND ONLINE SHOPPING IN GHANA: THE MODERATING ROLE OF ELECTRONIC-WORD OF MOUTH

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ABSTRACT

Despite increase in technology and convenience associated with online shopping, the progress of acceptance has been very slow in Ghana. There is a theoretical argument that the perceived fear people associate to technological innovations serves as a barrier for it acceptance. However, in Ghana, perceived fear and online shopping adoption been under researched. The current study examined how different dimensions of consumer perceived risk influence online shopping behaviours in Ghana. A total of 200 online shoppers were conveniently selected from the Accra Metropolis in Greater Accra region of Ghana. Data was collected through cross-sectional survey and analysed using structural equation modelling. Findings showed that participants have been engaging in online shopping behaviours in the last five years, with majority of them shopping online in the last two years. Consumer perceived risk constructs had negative effect on online shopping behaviours. Specifically, financial, privacy and delivery risks had significant negative impact on online shopping behaviour. Perceived financial risk had the greatest effect on online shopping behaviours among the participants. E- word of mouth moderated the effect of perceived risk on online shopping behaviours, such that an increase in e-word of mouth reduces the negative impact of perceived risk on online shopping behaviours. The findings are discussed within the context of promoting online shopping in Ghana.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

     Background of the Study

Globalization and the emergence of technological innovation have changed the business landscape. Nowadays, many businesses have sort to rely on information technology when it comes to provision of services that customers need (Arora & Rahul, 2018; Doolin, Dillon, Thompson & Corner, 2005). With the advent of internet and its related activities, organizations are putting in efforts and measures to utilize the benefits that the internet brings with it. In current times, advancement in the internet technology has offered customers wide range of choices, but also an integral way of shopping. For this, businesses have align strategies to fully take advantage of it. One of such is the selling of goods and services online known as online shopping (Chang & Wu, 2012; Faqih, 2013; Masoud, 2013).

Online shopping is becoming an increasing phenomena in the business landscape over the years coupled with its benefits that comes with it such as convenience, prior online experiences (Li & Huang, 2009; Tsai & Yeh, 2010), usage usefulness and other motives such as coverage, delivery of information based products and after sales service (Hsieh & Tsao, 2014; Wu & Ke, 2015), becoming a possible threat to traditional form of shopping (Zendehdel & Paim, 2012). Hence, online shopping removes geographical barriers that traditional brick and mortar firms face. Moreover, firms adapting online platform have the ability to easily customize according to a customer’s preference (Dillon, Buchanan & Al- Otaibi, 2014) which some studies have confirmed to encourage confidence and in the long run leads to an increase in purchase intentions (Tsai & Yeh, 2010). Now, shopping online has become a viable way of purchasing products and is now posing severe competition to traditional shopping channels, in certain product areas (Dillon, et al., 2014).

In Ghana, the overall internet penetration rate increased from forty percent to forty-point seven percent as at the end of August, 2013(Kwarteng & Pilik, 2016). Ghana has witnessed rapid technological changes having impact on people’s lives and commerce (ISSER Report, 2007). Making it possible for organizations to infuse technological innovations into their operations. In recent times many online shopping companies have sprang-up and more developing. However, considering the population of Ghana with over 27 million (Internet World Statistics, 2017) it is expected that the numbers in online shopping should have increased proportionally to the population.

Telecommunication and bank companies have been at the forefront of providing online shopping behaviours in the Ghanaian market. The challenge is that, Ghanaians perceive online shopping as risky due to what happened in 1995 a report by the US Federal Bureau Investigations about fraudulent activities by some internet users which tarnished the image of some Ghanaian online shoppers (Alemma & Ndanu 2005; Olatunji-Osei, 2010).  Many people doubt the security of their accounts (Credit Cards) while shopping online, others include high cost, time loss, high levels of electronic fraud, high levels of illiteracy. This generates a situation that imitate the effort to accelerate the growth of online shopping in Ghana (Awiagah et al., 2016; Boateng, et al., 2011).