Moon, J., Kim, E., Choi, S., & Sung, Y. (2013).
Keep the social in social media: The role of social interaction in avatar-based virtual shopping.
Journal of Interactive Advertising, 13(1), 14-26.
This study investigates how, in a virtual store environment, an avatar-mediated interaction with a salesperson and a peer consumer influences a consumer's shopping experience and brand evaluation. The study examines the effects of a consumer's interaction with the salesperson and peer consumer avatars and how these interactions affect the consumer's perceived social presence, shopping enjoyment, attitude toward the brand, and purchase intention. The results suggest that a consumer's social interaction with a salesperson and a peer shopper in the form of avatar-mediated communication enhances the consumer's social presence, enjoyment, brand attitudes, and purchase intention. Regarding the consumer's shopping enjoyment, the results also demonstrate that perceived social presence significantly mediates the effects of avatar-based social interaction. This in turn improves the consumer's brand attitude and purchase intention. In light of these findings, marketers in social virtual worlds should focus on creating a socially engaging shopping environment and on fostering a strong sense of social presence via social interaction among avatars.