How signaling mechanisms reduce “lemons” from online group buying (OGB) markets? A study of China

Mohammad Alamgir Hossain (School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Shams Rahman (School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Tamgid Ahmed Chowdhury (School of Business and Economics, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Caroline Chan (School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
Xiaoyan Yang (School of International and Continuing Education, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, Shanghai, China)
Qingxin Su (School of Information Systems, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, Shanghai, China)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Publication date: 6 August 2018

Abstract

Purpose

A major transformation in retail logistics over the few years is backed by enormous improvements in internet technologies. It is now easy for e-retailers to entertain delivery progression, or consumers can share use-experience with future customers and thereby reducing information asymmetry. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of different signals on consumer behavior in the presence of information asymmetry, in the context of online group buying (OGB) markets in China.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the lemon market theory (LMT) and signaling theory, the study develops a research model of the OGB consumers’ context in China, which is validated using data from an online survey. A total of 528 responses are used for data analysis applying structural equation modeling technique.

Findings

The findings of the study show that perceived vendor quality (PVQ) and perceived product quality (PPQ) have significantly positive effects on intention to purchase from OGB websites. PVQ is associated with perceived reputation and perceived trustworthiness (PT) of vendor, and the determinants of PPQ are quality assurance information of products, and information about mer-chants. Further, PT has a mediating effect, while asymmetry of information has a moderating effect.

Research limitations/implications

The research model is valid as a generic OGB model that can be investigated in other contexts to understand the generalizability of the findings. Future research is needed to incorporate additional relevant factors (e.g. price, advertising activity/investments) that may help increase the acceptability of the model to a wide range of e-commerce contexts. Two of the control variables (gender and prior internet experience) were found to be significant; this could be further examined in future studies to determine the relative impact on each causal relationship.

Originality/value

Whereas prior studies in the domain of consumer service proposed different signaling mechanisms that were believed to eliminate information asymmetry from a market, the study sheds light on the effectiveness of the signals in the OGB context. This is a unique effort that applies and extends LMT and signaling theory in OGB context by theorizing the associated dimensions and their causal effects.

Keywords

Citation

Hossain, M., Rahman, S., Chowdhury, T., Chan, C., Yang, X. and Su, Q. (2018), "How signaling mechanisms reduce “lemons” from online group buying (OGB) markets? A study of China", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 48 No. 7, pp. 658-681. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPDLM-02-2017-0113

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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