Impacts of user interactions on trust development in C2C social commerce

Wilson K.S. Leung (Department of Finance and Decision Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)
Si Shi (Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Wing S. Chow (Department of Finance and Decision Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Publication date: 6 August 2019



The purpose of this paper is to understand the effect of two types of reciprocity (restricted reciprocity and generalized reciprocity) on customers’ trust in social commerce (s-commerce) and trust performance (purchase intention and word-of-mouth intention). Furthermore, this study examines how individual and contextual moderators (personal shopping experience and community shared language) could impact the trust development process.


This study adopted a survey method and obtained data from 287 users in a customer-to-customer (C2C) s-commerce platform. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the research hypotheses.


The results demonstrate that two types of reciprocity positively affect trust in s-commerce. Customers’ trust performance is significantly affected by trust in s-commerce. Additionally, shopping experience in s-commerce is found to positively moderate the relationship between restricted reciprocity and trust in s-commerce.

Research limitations/implications

The findings help to understand the nature and role of reciprocity in influencing trust and trust-related behaviors in the context of C2C s-commerce. The research also helps to explore the individual and contextual moderators that impact the effect of reciprocity on trust development.

Practical implications

The results offer a comprehensive view of trust building strategies for s-commerce practitioners, including shoppers, vendors and managers of s-commerce platforms.


This study is among the first few research studies that offers a theory-based conceptualization of reciprocity in C2C s-commerce and provides empirical support for the impact of reciprocity on customers’ trust in C2C s-commerce. In addition, this study devises a broader view of reciprocity based on restricted and generalized exchange principle to represent the interaction of vendor–shopper and shopper–shopper, respectively.



Leung, W., Shi, S. and Chow, W. (2019), "Impacts of user interactions on trust development in C2C social commerce", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

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