Due to the increasing and intensifying competition in the Internet shopping market, it has been recognized as very important to develop an effective policy and strategy for acquiring loyal customers. For this reason, web site designers need to know if a new Internet shopping mall(ISM) will be accepted. Researchers have been working on identifying factors for explaining and predicting user acceptance of an ISM. Some studies, however, revealed inconsistent findings on the antecedents of user acceptance of a website. Lack of consideration for individual differences in user ability is believed to be one of the key reasons for the mixed findings. The elaboration likelihood model (ELM) and several studies have suggested that individual differences in ability plays an moderating role on the relationship between the antecedents and user acceptance. Despite the critical role of user ability, little research has examined the role of user ability in the Internet shopping mall context. The purpose of this study is to develop a user acceptance model that consider the moderating role of user ability in the context of Internet shopping. This study was initiated to see the ability of the technology acceptance model(TAM) to explain the acceptance of a specific ISM. According to TAM, which is one of the most influential models for explaining user acceptance of IT, an intention to use IT is determined by usefulness and ease of use. Given that interaction between user and website takes place through web interface, the decisions to accept and continue using an ISM depend on these beliefs. However, TAM neglects to consider the fact that many users would not stick to an ISM until they trust it although they may think it useful and easy to use. The importance of trust for user acceptance of ISM has been raised by the relational views. The relational view emphasizes the trust-building process between the user and ISM, and user`s trust on the website is a major determinant of user acceptance. The proposed model extends and integrates the TAM and relational views on user acceptance of ISM by incorporating usefulness, ease of use, and trust. User acceptance is defined as a user`s intention to reuse a specific ISM. And user ability is introduced into the model as moderating variable. Here, the user ability is defined as a degree of experiences, knowledge and skills regarding Internet shopping sites. The research model proposes that the ease of use, usefulness and trust of ISM are key determinants of user acceptance. In addition, this paper hypothesizes that the effects of the antecedents(i.e., ease of use, usefulness, and trust) on user acceptance may differ among users. In particular, this paper proposes a moderating effect of a user`s ability on the relationship between antecedents with user`s intention to reuse. The research model with eleven hypotheses was derived and tested through a survey that involved 470 university students. For each research variable, this paper used measurement items recognized for reliability and widely used in previous research. We slightly modified some items proper to the research context. The reliability and validity of the research variables were tested using the Crobnach`s alpha and internal consistency reliability (ICR) values, standard factor loadings of the confirmative factor analysis, and average variance extracted (AVE) values. A LISREL method was used to test the suitability of the research model and its relating six hypotheses. Key findings of the results are summarized in the following. First, TAM`s two constructs, ease of use and usefulness directly affect user acceptance. In addition, ease of use indirectly influences user acceptance by affecting trust. This implies that users tend to trust a shopping site and visit repeatedly when they perceive a specific ISM easy to use. Accordingly, designing a shopping site that allows users to navigate with heuristic and minimal clicks for finding information and products within the site is important for improving the site`s trust and acceptance. Usefulness, however, was not found to influence trust. Second, among the three belief constructs(ease of use, usefulness, and trust), trust was empirically supported as the most important determinants of user acceptance. This implies that users require trustworthiness from an Internet shopping site to be repeat visitors of an ISM. Providing a sense of safety and eliminating the anxiety of online shoppers in relation to privacy, security, delivery, and product returns are critically important conditions for acquiring repeat visitors. Hence, in addition to usefulness and ease of use as in TAM, trust should be a fundamental determinants of user acceptance in the context of internet shopping. Third, the user`s ability on using an Internet shopping site played a moderating role. For users with low ability, ease of use was found to be a more important factors in deciding to reuse the shopping mall, whereas usefulness and trust had more effects on users with high ability. Applying the EML theory to these findings, we can suggest that experienced and knowledgeable ISM users tend to elaborate on such usefulness aspects as efficient and effective shopping performance and trust factors as ability, benevolence, integrity, and predictability of a shopping site before they become repeat visitors of the site. In contrast, novice users tend to rely on the low elaborating features, such as the perceived ease of use. The existence of moderating effects suggests the fact that different individuals evaluate an ISM from different perspectives. The expert users are more interested in the outcome of the visit(usefulness) and trustworthiness( trust) than those novice visitors. The latter evaluate the ISM in a more superficial manner focusing on the novelty of the site and on other instrumental beliefs(ease of use). This is consistent with the insights proposed by the Heuristic-Systematic model. According to the Heuristic-Systematic model, a users act on the principle of minimum effort. Thus, the user considers an ISM heuristically, focusing on those aspects that are easy to process and evaluate(ease of use). When the user has sufficient experience and skills, the user will change to systematic processing, where they will evaluate more complex aspects of the site(its usefulness and trustworthiness). This implies that an ISM has to provide a minimum level of ease of use to make it possible for a user to evaluate its usefulness and trustworthiness. Ease of use is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the acceptance and use of an ISM. Overall, the empirical results generally support the proposed model and identify the moderating effect of the effects of user ability. More detailed interpretations and implications of the findings are discussed. The limitations of this study are also discussed to provide directions for future research.
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