On and Off-line Purchase Intention: the Role of Brand Trust as Moderator of Risk Perception


On and Off-line Purchase Intention: the Role of Brand Trust as Moderator of Risk Perception


Marcello Tedeschi, Giovanna Galli, Maria Cristiana Martini,

Classification JEL



Interpersonal trust is considered a risk moderator in choice under uncertainty (Einhorn, Hogarth, 1988) so it can help people to make decisions otherwise considered too risky (Galli, Nardin, 1997). Specifically, trust has been defined as a multi-dimensional construct, with cognitive and affective dimensions playing a different role to reduce perceived risk in low or high complexity tasks. In marketing field, trust has received increasing interest and research on brand trust scale validation has restated the multi-dimensionality of the construct, with a first detection of two crucial dimensions -competence and benevolence- (Delgado, 2003, 2004). Further research has enclosed other two dimensions, honesty and empathy (Martini, Galli, Arseni, 2016), and has hypothesised an evolutionary pattern, with cognitive dimensions preceding emotional ones in brand trust strengthening. With these premises, the research is aimed to evaluate the role of brand trust as moderator of risk perception in different buying contexts, characterized by increasing perceived complexity of the task. More specifically, the hypotheses are: purchase intention decreases when perceived complexity of the task increases; decreasing purchase intention is due to increasing risk perception; brand trust, with its cognitive and affective dimensions, is able to reduce risk perception and to moderate its impact on purchase intention. To test hypotheses, 432 Italian respondents to a structured online questionnaire had to declare their intention to buy a pair of Nike shoes, facing three different buying contexts: a traditional off-line store, the official online brand store and a famous on-line retailer. The results confirm that buying online is more complex than buying offline, with a corresponding increasing of risk perception and decreasing of purchase intention. Brand trust can reduce risk perception in both off and online contexts, with cognitive dimension playing a crucial role in offline context and emotional dimension in online one.


Online buying behaviour, Perceived risk, Perceived complexity, Brand trust.

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Please cite this article as: etimm (2017) On and Off-line Purchase Intention: the Role of Brand Trust as Moderator of Risk Perception. Journal of Emerging Trends in Marketing and Management. http://www.etimm.ase.ro/?p=175