Document Type





Initial online trust, Trust building process, Social learning theory, Brick and click strategy






A customer’s trust in an online seller is considered to be an important factor for ecommerce success. The extant research has addressed the question of what online trust is and why some factors such as reputation are helpful to trust building. However, the question of where customers collect information about an online firm to base their trust on has not been addressed. In this study, we investigate different processes through which evidences are collected and trust is built. A framework of four “learning-processes ” is proposed based on social learning theory. To demonstrate the utility of the framework, we apply it to the initial online trust building for brick-and-click firms. As a result, four customer experiences are identified to affect the initial perception of the trustworthiness of a firm’s online operation, i.e., the experience with the website, the experience with the offline establishment, reputation, and general experience with the Internet. Our results suggest that the social learning theory is a viable tool to understand customer’s trust building process. In the context of brick-and-click firms, it helps uncover the significant as well as in significant learning processes. Satisfaction with offline purchase experience is found to be insignificant. This might be due to the lack of integration between online and offline operations. Implications of the study’s findings are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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