India has a large internet savvy population that is not only accessing the internet but also buying online. With a revolution in the very basics of transaction from a physical store format to a non-store one, the retail industry has begun to understand the indispensability of the internet as a medium of transaction. However, the rate of diffusion and adoption of the new phenomenon amongst consumers is still relatively low. Trust on online transactions is one of the key barriers to vendors succeeding in online transactions. A lack of trust discourages consumers from participating in online buying. With the internet advancing new opportunities, it is important to understand the factors that generate trust of Indian consumers in the online buying system. The purpose of this paper is to explore the determinants of trust in online buying behavior of consumers. This paper is a theoretical attempt at conceptualizing “trust” as a construct, in the context of online buying and testing it empirically. The objective of the study is to explore the critical online trust-creating factors that influence the online buying decision of people, and to establish their causal impact, if any, through developing an integrated model. – The study, descriptive, diagnostic, and causal in nature, was conducted in the context of online buying of railway tickets in India. In the first phase, a pilot survey was conducted on a sample of 100 users of the online railway reservation. After having tested the survey instrument for validity and reliability, the second phase of the study was conducted on a sample of 327 users of online railway reservation facilities. A series of multiple regressions analyses was conducted to determine the causal impacts of critical consumer trust parameters on online reservation of railway tickets by users in the Indian context. The analysis of demographics based on gender and age groups was also made to capture the cross-comparisons of critical online trust-related attributes. – The factor analysis had grouped the items into four constructs with a total of 11 items. The item total correlations to each construct were found significant. All the critical online trust based constructs were found to have a significant impact on the intention of buyers of booking/purchasing railway tickets online in India. The analyses of demographics established that all the critical consumer trust-based attributes to online buying intention have no significant differences for gender, whereas for age groups some of the attributes were found significant and others were not. – The process of online trust formation among the potential buyers depends on a host of factors. This present study has only explored a select number of constructs and remains a major limitation. Notwithstanding this limitation, there are significant theoretical implications for critical online trust constructs of consumers on online buying behavior in the Indian context. – By examining the various dimensions explored and established in this study, the concerned authority can develop a better understanding of consumer needs and expectations. Academicians and researchers can use this study for assessing consumer trust towards online reservation of railway tickets in the Indian context, and identifying such attributes that would lead to the generation of online consumer trust towards online reservation of railway tickets. It provides insight into the impact of trust in online buying and the relationship between trust and buying behaviour. The policy decision makers of railway authority may also use the findings of this study as a resource, while constructing, managing, and evaluating their marketing strategies in the Indian context.
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