Impacts of user interactions on trust development in C2C social commerce: The central role of reciprocity

Wilson K.S. Leung, Si Shi*, Vincent W S CHOW

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    67 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand the effect of two types of reciprocity (restricted reciprocity and generalized reciprocity) on customers’ trust in social commerce (s-commerce) and trust performance (purchase intention and word-of-mouth intention). Furthermore, this study examines how individual and contextual moderators (personal shopping experience and community shared language) could impact the trust development process. Design/methodology/approach: This study adopted a survey method and obtained data from 287 users in a customer-to-customer (C2C) s-commerce platform. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the research hypotheses. Findings: The results demonstrate that two types of reciprocity positively affect trust in s-commerce. Customers’ trust performance is significantly affected by trust in s-commerce. Additionally, shopping experience in s-commerce is found to positively moderate the relationship between restricted reciprocity and trust in s-commerce. Research limitations/implications: The findings help to understand the nature and role of reciprocity in influencing trust and trust-related behaviors in the context of C2C s-commerce. The research also helps to explore the individual and contextual moderators that impact the effect of reciprocity on trust development. Practical implications: The results offer a comprehensive view of trust building strategies for s-commerce practitioners, including shoppers, vendors and managers of s-commerce platforms. Originality/value: This study is among the first few research studies that offers a theory-based conceptualization of reciprocity in C2C s-commerce and provides empirical support for the impact of reciprocity on customers’ trust in C2C s-commerce. In addition, this study devises a broader view of reciprocity based on restricted and generalized exchange principle to represent the interaction of vendor–shopper and shopper–shopper, respectively.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)335-356
    Number of pages22
    JournalInternet Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Communication
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics and Econometrics

    User-Defined Keywords

    • C2C s-commerce
    • Generalized reciprocity
    • Restricted reciprocity
    • Trust
    • WeChat


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