For entrepreneurs operating in an Internet-of-Things (IoT) environment, it is essential to monitor more systematically, both the interaction with the consumers and the sharing of information among the consumers. The purpose of this paper is to identify the antecedents of word-of-mouth (WOM) in the online SME’s context in terms of consumers “citing the site” to peers in personal communications. A research model integrates the determinants of retail website-specific positive WOM communication, and proposes that WOM about a particular website is influenced by: site-level variables, that is, website quality and interactivity; and consumer-level variables, these being the site user’s satisfaction with and commitment to the website. The research advances the study of IoT entrepreneurship.
Data were collected from graduate and undergraduate students with business and entrepreneurship majors from a reputed school in the Northeast region of the USA, using an online survey. The hypotheses were then tested with SEM using AMOS 18.0.
Findings suggest that in an IoT context, WOM is influenced by a variety of factors of which the e-satisfaction and attitude toward website constructs play important roles. The study highlights the importance of the e-satisfaction construct and its metrics. E-satisfaction is not only a critical outcome metric, but also a primary predictor of customer e-loyalty, measured in terms of the customer’s positive attitude, stickiness and propensity to spread positive WOM.
The paper contributes to the entrepreneurship and IoT literature with a comprehensive framework of information sharing, interactivity and WOM, showing that specific antecedents drive consumers to cite and advocate for a website to fellow customers. The framework helps retail SME entrepreneurs in the IoT context to design appropriate strategies to influence website visitors’ endorsement of the site to fellow customers.
The research is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (71472119, 71102030), the Shuguang Planning of Shanghai Education Development Foundation (14SG38), the National Social Science Foundation of China (13AZD015, 11&ZD035), the Project of Philosophy and Social Science of Shanghai (2014BGL013), and the Project of “Social Development of Metropolis and Construction of Smart City” (085SHDX001).
Yu, X., Roy, S.K., Quazi, A., Nguyen, B. and Han, Y. (2017), "Internet entrepreneurship and “the sharing of information” in an Internet-of-Things context: The role of interactivity, stickiness, e-satisfaction and word-of-mouth in online SMEs’ websites", Internet Research, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 74-96. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-02-2015-0060
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