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Why do micro and small merchants use mobile payment systems? A grounded theory study in China

Xiaogang Chen (Faculty of Business Administration, School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Shu Li (Faculty of Business Administration, School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Libo Su (Faculty of Business Administration, School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)
Ting Huang (Faculty of Business Administration, School of Business Administration, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China)

Nankai Business Review International

ISSN: 2040-8749

Article publication date: 20 August 2021

Issue publication date: 8 September 2021

208

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to reveal the decision-making process that micro and small merchants (MSMs) may go through when deciding on the mobile payment system (MPS) adoption and usage and explore how relevant factors may impact this process.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses the grounded theory approach. Specifically, this paper conducts individual, semi-structured interviews with MSMs in China. Each interview was focused on an MSM’s decisions on initial adoption and continued use of MPSs. The paper then coded the interviews to derive conceptual categories and integrated the categories to form a cohesive framework to explain how MSMs make decisions on MPS adoption and usage.

Findings

MSMs make decisions on MPS adoption and usage in three phases: first, due to variations in social and economic surroundings, some merchants develop intentions to adopt MPSs, whereas others do not. Second, merchants developing adoption intentions in phase one have to select which MPS brands to adopt and then begin using them. The brand value affects their selection. Finally, the use of MPSs of their initial choice has consequences for business operations. Merchants with different levels of personal innovativeness evaluate the consequences differently. Satisfied merchants continue using the initial MPSs, while dissatisfied merchants switch to other brands.

Originality/value

The findings first give a more complete depiction of how MSMs make MPS adoption and usage decisions; second show that MSMs’ MPS adoption intention is solely influenced by pro-mobile-payment surroundings and explain what constitutes pro-mobile-payment surroundings and through what mechanisms the surroundings influence adoption intentions; third reveals that selecting which MPS brand to adopt is an important decision phase; fourth explain both why merchants may continue using MPSs and why they may switch from one MPS brand to another.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Data availability statement: The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author, Xiaogang Chen. The data are not publicly available due to their containing information that could compromise the privacy of research participants.

Citation

Chen, X., Li, S., Su, L. and Huang, T. (2021), "Why do micro and small merchants use mobile payment systems? A grounded theory study in China", Nankai Business Review International, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 157-172. https://doi.org/10.1108/NBRI-11-2020-0061

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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