Perceived ethics of online retailers and consumer behavioral intentions: The mediating roles of trust and attitude

Yam B. Limbu, Marco Wolf, Dale Lunsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of consumers' perception of online retailers' ethical behavior on consumer purchase and revisit intentions. Design/methodology/approach: A sample of 259 online shoppers was employed to test the relationships between perceived ethics of online retailers and the intention to revisit and purchase. The measurement model and structural relationships were estimated using AMOS 18. Findings: Results show that perceived ethics of an Internet retailer's website significantly affect consumers' trust and attitudes to the retailer's website that eventually have positive impacts on purchase and revisit intentions. Website trust was positively related to attitude toward the site. The results do not show support for a direct effect between perceived ethics and behavioral intentions, but attitude and trust toward the website mediate these effects. Practical implications: The findings support the idea that despite the physical distance between online retailers and customer, behaving ethically has an effect on revisit and purchase intentions. This suggests that online vendors should invest in methods that strengthen consumers' trust of websites. To convey a sense of ethics of the website, websites should ensure that privacy policies are easy to understand, explain clearly how customer information is used, offer secure payment methods, display clearly the terms and conditions of the online transactions, fulfill the orders, and avoid deceptive practices and exaggerations of product characteristics. Originality/value: Research integrating perceived ethical conduct of retailers and consumer behavior is still in the beginning, and has not explored all outcomes of perceived ethics. This study is an initial attempt to investigate the effects of perceived ethics of retailers on revisit and purchase intentions. This study contributes to the knowledge of consumer perceived ethics and behavioral intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-154
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Research in Interactive Marketing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Attitude toward site
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Electronic commerce
  • Ethics
  • Purchase intention
  • Retailer ethics
  • Retailers
  • Revisit intention
  • Trust of site


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