The purpose of this paper is to determine if consumers in two countries (Israel and the USA), which have experienced violence in the retail environment, would perceive risk in shopping on the internet and if so, to what extent. If there were perceptions of risk for shopping online, this paper wanted to report what differences there might be between Israeli and US consumers.
Surveys were distributed to 641 US consumers and to 50 Israeli consumers with a few modifications for differences in terms. The respondents ranged in age from 14 to 86. These surveys were distributed throughout the New York City tri‐state area and in Israel in a convenience sample using a snowball approach. The surveys were collected by the researchers and returned for analysis.
Women in the USA do consider buying online when concerned with physical safety, while Israeli women were very specific in their consideration of the type of site. For them, international sites like eBay were considered to be a safer alternative when the country was on a high‐security alert. Significantly more men are concerned about the possibilities of identity theft and financial fraud online than women while women think positively about buying online when concerned about physical.
In future research, it would be interesting to follow this focus of social norms for a preference for group social interaction and social norms for independent or individualization and the speed with which e‐commerce is infused within the culture versus using the internet to gather information or to communicate via e‐mail or blogs.
Consumers seem to want to reduce their overall perceived risk and evaluate what actions will lead to a lower total perceived risk. There are good reasons for a store to have both an online presence and a storefront. Stores with a physical presence that are known to the shoppers are more likely to be considered as safe for shopping online.
This is one of the first papers to contrast consumers from a country which has had years of experience with violence in the retail environment with the consumer experiences and perceptions in the USA.
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