Exploring Drivers of Consumer Purchase Behaviours in Social Commerce: Barriers and Opportunities

  • Abdulwali Senan Abdulwali Al-Aji

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Social commerce incorporates the transactional process of sales of goods and services using various social media platforms organisations. Given the newness of social commerce, limited studies have explored its antecedents and consequences for business despite the huge marketing implications for organisations. This thesis explores the concept of social commerce and the factors that influence it. Specifically, it focuses on potential drivers for consumer purchase behaviour through social commerce and identifies challenges faced in its implementation. Drawing upon trust theory, this research further explores the role of social media influencers in facilitating social commerce outcomes and reducing the challenges consumers encounter.
The thesis is based on an interpretivist philosophical stance and adopts qualitative methods in the investigation. 25 semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants who are residents of Qatar, including social commerce users and individuals that worked for organisations that use social commerce in their business processes. Data were analysed using thematic approaches, given their advantage in meaningfully facilitating the synthesis of relevant data.
The findings indicate that the instant purchase feature of social media is an important element that impacts the use of social commerce. Additionally, the results show that unique features of social commerce, its ability to facilitate specific demographic marketing, and the ease with which information is transmitted and becomes viral, are important elements that impact social commerce. The findings also demonstrate that cultural sensitivity in social commerce is an important factor that influences social commerce by affecting consumer's purchase intentions. Furthermore, technological elements, particularly those related to the security of social commerce websites and the aesthetics of social commerce platform designs, emerged as significant drivers of social commerce.
Finally, the results demonstrate that regulatory controls, preference for traditional purchasing techniques, and anxiety over the perceived quality of purchased goods significantly impact the success of social commerce. Consumer preference for conventional brick-and-mortar shopping, perceptions of the quality of products and services, and regulatory controls affect social commerce by negatively impacting consumer purchase decisions. The study also sheds light on the role of social media influencers, who can positively impact consumer's purchase
decisions via social commerce due to their unique capability of fostering trust. From a theoretical standpoint, the findings contribute to the extant literature on social commerce by identifying the factors that influence social commerce. The results show that design elements of social commerce platforms, including visual design characteristics, cultural sensitivity issues, transaction purchase features, consumer preference, perceptions relating to product or service quality, regulatory controls, and the nature of technology, are factors that impact consumer decisions to purchase using social commerce.
Date of Award11 Jun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorSelcuk Can (Supervisor) & Diletta Acuti (Supervisor)

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