Since technology adopters are sensitive to perceived ease of use, online shoppers who are novices to a product category may be particularly sensitive. We developed a predictive model of decision quality centered on perceived ease of use for online shoppers who are novices to a product category. The antecedents of perceived ease of use in this study are novice category knowledge, perceived time pressure and purchase involvement. We had undergraduate students interact with multiple-stage shopping engines (MSSEs) of varying effort-accuracy tradeoffs in our purpose- built Web store. Both novice category knowledge and perceived time pressure negatively impacted purchase involvement and perceived ease of use of the MSSEs. Perceived ease of use of the MSSEs positively impacted their perceived usefulness. Perceived usefulness positively impacted decision quality, which was measured objectively, with data envelopment analysis, and subjectively, with the weighted additive method. Six of the seven hypotheses were supported. Surprisingly, there were no significant differences among the MSSEs and purchase involvement did not positively impact perceived ease of use. The results, analyzed via partial least squares, demonstrate the potential value of giving multiple-stage shopping engines to online shoppers who are novices to a product or service category.


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pp. 3-27
Launched on MUSE
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