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Abstract

In this research, an online experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of the mere presence of digital third-party organization (TPO) endorsement and the quality of information conveyed by a digital TPO, referred to as the endorsement information value effect. Involvement and institution-based trust were tested as moderators of the endorsement information value effect. The results confirm the intuitive belief of managers that the mere presence of a digital TPO endorsement benefits websites by reducing risk perceptions, improving attitudes and increasing choice likelihood. The findings from this research revealed that effectiveness of digital TPO endorsement information value was contingent upon the level of involvement with the effects being found only among high involvement consumers but not among low involvement consumers. Similarly, effectiveness of digital TPO endorsement information value is also contingent on institution-based trust, with the effect of endorsement information value emerging only for low institution-based trust consumers but not for high institution-based trust consumers. Thus, a higher information value digital TPO will increase choice over a low information value digital TPO only if the consumer is highly involved or has low institution-based trust.

 

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