This study reports the results of an experiment that examined alternative forms of web assurance for “B2C” e‐commerce. Specifically, using a repeated measures design, variations in purchase intent were examined across four within‐subjects web site conditions (two MP3 players and two digital cameras from different web sites) and five between‐subjects assurance conditions (undirected or directed retailer disclosures, VISA, TRUSTe, and WebTrust™). The effects of assurance (present vs. absent) on purchase intent were studied relative to the roles of retailer disclosures, information risk (security, disclosure, and product risk), and familiarity (with the retailer and product). Control variables encompassing previous Internet and online purchase experiences, general intent to buy online, and web site design were also incorporated in the study. No differences in intent to purchase were found for the three assurance conditions and they were combined for further data analysis. Results indicate that higher intent to purchase is associated only with web assurance when consumers did not observe retailer disclosures and product familiarity was lower. When consumers did observe retailer disclosures, intent to purchase was not significantly associated with web assurance. Results also indicate that familiarity with vendor and information risk were not associated with intent to purchase. However, several of the control variables, including comfort with the Internet, general intent to buy online, and web site design, were significantly associated with higher intent to purchase.

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