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Research on the influencing factors of agricultural product purchase willingness in social e-commerce situation

Published Online: 22 Jul 2022
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Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2444-8656
First Published
01 Jan 2016
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

From the perspective of social e-commerce, this paper discusses the influencing factors and mechanism of purchase intention of agricultural products. Based on the stimulus–organism–response model, this paper constructs the relationship model of agricultural product characteristics, social trust, social stickiness, social support, social interaction, consumer perceived value and consumer purchase intention; the related hypotheses are found, and the hypothesis and the structural model are verified by analysing the data. The results show that the characteristics of agricultural products, social stickiness, social support, social interaction and consumer perceived value are the key factors that influence the purchase intention of agricultural products. Perceived value is the intermediary mechanism of social stickiness, social support, social interaction and purchase intention.

Keywords

Introduction

According to the 47th Statistical Report on China's Internet Development released by CNNIC, China's Internet users will reach 989 million in 2020, an increase of 85.4 million compared with the previous year. The Internet penetration rate is 70.4%, and the Internet industry is booming. At the same time, social applications are growing, with WeChat users reaching 1.09 billion and Weibo users over 600 million. Social media is playing an increasingly important role in the daily lives of people's, and social e-commerce, a new model of e-commerce that integrates social elements such as following, sharing and commenting, is also developing rapidly.

The development of ‘social e-commerce+’ has promoted the transformation and upgrading of various industries, while the development of ‘social e-commerce + agriculture, rural areas and farmers is a little behind, which is mainly determined by the characteristics of agricultural products, such as they are perishable and easily damaged, not durable for storage and have high transportation cost.

At present, development of agriculture, rural areas and farmers in China is facing an important transition period, when social e-commerce has become a powerful engine for high-quality agricultural development. In order to fully implement the general policy of giving priority to the development of agriculture and rural areas and bring about the modernisation of agriculture and rural areas, the transformation and upgrading of agriculture, rural areas and farmers need social e-commerce. It is necessary to discuss the influencing factors of purchasing intention of agricultural products under the context of social e-commerce, so as to facilitate the balanced listing of agricultural products and alleviate the contradiction between regional supply and demand. However, at present, few scholars have paid attention to the influencing factors of the purchasing intention of agricultural products in the context of social e-commerce; most of them have studied the purchasing factors of goods in social commerce.

Based on the stimulus–body–response (SOR) model, this paper constructs a relationship model of agricultural product characteristics, social trust, social stickiness, social support, social interaction, consumer perceived value and consumer purchase intention, and uses the SPSS and AMOS software for data analysis and structural equation model (SEM) testing.

This article mainly addresses the following questions: In social e-commerce, what are the key factors that affect consumers’ purchase of agricultural products? What are the implications? What are the influencing mechanisms and paths? The results of the study are conducive to enterprises to understand the influencing factors of consumers’ online purchase of agricultural products, clarify their existing needs, and dig deep into potential consumer demand; it is conducive to creating a friendly social communication e-commerce consumption atmosphere, promoting the transformation of consumer purchasing behaviour, and improving the transaction rate.

Theoretical basis and literature review
Socialised business

Social commerce is a derivative of the integration and development of e-commerce and social media. With network technology as the means and social media as the medium, social commerce encourages users to conduct social interaction, social trust, and user-generated content (UGC), and finally promotes the transformation of consumers’ purchasing behaviour [1]. The essence of social business is to realise and enhance business value. Some scholars believe that the essence of social commerce is to deliver business activities through online social interaction.

Clarifying the characteristics of social commerce is conducive to better understanding its essence. Therefore, in order to better explore the essence of social commerce, the characteristics of social commerce have been paid more and more attention by scholars. Dennison emphasised the important role of social commerce features such as social interaction, social relations and UGC in the development of e-commerce, thus dissecting the essence of social commerce [2]. Zhang Hong summarised the characteristics of social commerce as interactivity, personalisation and sociability, which he believed could fully reveal the essence of human–computer interaction and human–human interaction in social commerce [3]. Some domestic scholars also proposed that the characteristics of social business can be divided into technical and social characteristics. Between them, the technical characteristics are reflected in interaction and stickiness, while the social characteristics are reflected in word-of mouth recommendation, consumption experience and so on [4]. Therefore, in the final analysis, the most fundamental feature of social business is social interaction.

Social e-commerce

Social e-commerce is another new e-commerce model after social commerce. The founder of social e-commerce is Pinduoduo, the dark horse of e-commerce which has developed rapidly in recent years. Pinduoduo has achieved great success with its unique business model of ‘social networking + e-commerce’. People are also paying more and more attention to its operation, with ideas of integrating enterprising social elements into e-commerce. Wang Shilinsheng and Hu Lijia [5] believe that social e-commerce is a new business model in which merchants use social media software to weave a social network with attention, sharing and recommendation as the main elements, and actively release commodity information to increase exposure, so as to improve the transaction rate of commodities.

There are many similarities between social e-commerce and social commerce, but social e-commerce lays more emphasis on ‘socialisation’ and ‘e-commerce’, which is mainly reflected in the following aspects: under the context of social e-commerce, people are more active in interaction and more active in sharing information; the human–computer interaction and human–computer interaction are bidirectional, and so are the effects produced. Social trust continues to appreciate and becomes a key factor affecting the purchase intention of users. The trading place of business activities has shifted to online, and social e-commerce completes the trading activities in the virtual environment. The development of social e-commerce conforms to the development of the networked relation-based society, and at the same time has produced a huge influence. As Yan Huili and Peng Zhengyin have stated, social e-commerce has created a new space and opened a new road for the sustainable development of e-commerce in the Internet era [6].

SOR model

SOR was proposed by Mehrabian and Russell. The core idea is that individuals conduct a series of avoidance or approach behaviours to some characteristics of their environment, which are affected by the intermediary factors such as individual emotional state. Among them, environmental variable (S) is an external stimulus that influences individual cognition and emotional response, and then influences individual behaviour. Body variable (O) is the individual's cognitive and emotional state, including perceived risk, perceived value and so on. Response (R) is the final behaviour and result, including approach response and avoidance response [7].

It can be seen that the ‘S-O-R’ theoretical model is an important theoretical model that describes the mechanism of the influence of internal and external factors on consumer purchasing behaviour. The willingness to buy agricultural products in the context of social e-commerce is actually a process of internal psychological activity changes caused by stimuli and then reactive behaviour [8].

In view of the external stimulus of consumers’ online purchase intentions, many scholars have discussed them based on social trust, social stickiness, social support and social interaction [9]. Of them, Fang Wenkan and Zhou Tao believe that interpersonal trust has a significant impact on consumers’ social purchase intentions and social sharing willingness [10]; Harris and Dennis and others have found that the social stickiness caused by strong and weak relationships between users is an important factor [11]. Hu Qian, Lin Jiabao and others noted that social support (information support, emotional support) will have a positive impact on consumers’ willingness to buy, and there is an intermediary effect [4]; Qiu Lihong and Ma Yuhui confirmed that the more interactive it is, the more willing consumers are to share their shopping experience. The more it stimulates the purchase desire of other users [12], the more it positively influences consumers’ willingness to buy fresh agricultural products online [13]. However, it should not be ignored that the characteristics of agricultural products are still an important factor affecting consumers’ willingness to buy in the context of social e-commerce.

In addition, in the intermediate transition of consumers from perceived goods to willing to buy, the psychological mechanism (O) of consumers is driven by the perceived value. In the classification of perceptual value, many scholars divide perceptual value into functional value, hedonistic value, and so on [14]. Sweeney and South recognise Functional value as the effective perception of the consumer's ability to function, practicality and natural attributes of the product; hedonistic value is the utility value of the product that makes the customer feel emotional, and is the psychological and emotional feeling of consumption [15, 16]. Therefore, consumer perceived value can be used as an intermediate variable for external stimuli to affect consumers’ willingness to buy.

Research hypothesis and model construction

Based on the relevant theoretical basis of social commerce, social e-commerce and SOR models, this paper takes social trust, social stickiness, social support, social interaction and agricultural product characteristics as the external environmental stimulus variables(s). Perceived functional value and hedonic value as the internal state of the body (O), consumer willingness to buy as (R), to build ‘social trust, social stickiness, social support, social interaction and agricultural characteristics – the influence path model of ‘Perceived Value – Consumer Purchase Intention’ deeply explore the influence outcome and influence mechanism of agricultural product purchase intention under the social e-commerce scenario, and puts forward the following relevant research and hypotheses.

Research hypotheses
The influence of social trust on consumer perceived value

Simer proposed that social trust is a necessary condition for the development of human society, and a prerequisite for individual exchange and maintenance of the social network system [17]. As time goes by, social trust was gradually introduced into the field of social e-commerce as an important variable to discuss the influencing factors of consumers’ purchase willingness.

In the process of participating in online shopping, consumers often receive a lot of information related to social life, and these interactive information transmissions will improve consumers’ social trust, prompt them to have a sense of value identity and make them more likely to pay attention to agricultural products. It can be seen that social trust significantly positively affects consumers’ perceived functional value and hedonic value. In other words, the stronger the social trust is, the stronger the perceived value of consumers.

Based on this, we make the following assumptions:

H1a: Social trust positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.

H1b: Social trust positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment.

The influence of social viscosity on consumer perceived value

Social viscosity is the intimacy and contact frequency between individuals. The higher the intimacy and contact frequency is, the stronger the social viscosity and the closer the relationship between individuals. Wang et al. argued that user viscosity includes attitude viscosity and behavioural viscosity [18]. Attitude viscosity reflects the support of an attitude. For example, compared with popular bloggers, users prefer to choose agricultural products recommended by relatives and friends, and also prefer to spend time in learning about the information about the product. So this subjective choice intention is exactly attitude viscosity. As for user behaviour viscosity, Wang Huifen believes it as a feature of users joining the virtual brand community, that is, the frequency, depth and duration of community access [19]. Therefore, behaviour viscosity can reflect the user's loyalty and trust, or deeply reflect the user's sense of dependence and belonging on a commodity or merchant.

In the context of social e-commerce, users will think that the agricultural products recommended by friends are better, because this can not only save their purchase time and cost, but also enhance the pleasure and novelty of online agricultural products.

Based on this, we make the following assumptions:

H2a: Social viscosity positively affects the value of consumer perception function.

H2b: Social viscosity positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment.

The influence of social support on consumer perceived value

Social support is the personal perception of being cared for, being reacted and being helped. While the social support received in social networks is mostly virtual, Liang et al. believe that social support can be divided into two dimensions: information support and emotional support [20].

Emotional support is the emotional resonance of individuals by getting the care, understanding and encouragement of other users in social networks. In the context of social e-commerce, if users tend to ask social network friends for help, empathy users will also have a kind of emotional demand resonance. To some extent, social network friends can create a warm social atmosphere, allowing users to feel emotional support and belonging, thus having an impact on the fun and pleasure of consumers. Information support is a cognitive sense which is available for users to solve purchase problems, for example, social network friends shape information to provide powerful information support to help users questioned through text, pictures or video to provide a taste for agricultural products. And then to a certain extent impact consumers on the commodity function, the characteristic of cognition.

Based on these, we make the following assumptions:

H3a: Social support positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.

H3b: Social support positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment.

The influence of social interaction on consumer perceived value

Individual interaction is the starting point of the social network, which can connect the members of the scattered social network system into a concentric circle, playing a role of contacting the social members, enhancing mutual trust and viscosity, and thus forming the social interaction.

In the social e-commerce situation, social interaction mainly refers to the communication and interaction between individuals. Blanchard A's research shows that information exchange enhances people's perception of self-worth, and the stronger this self-efficacy perception is, the easier it is to persuade the self to accept product information from social interactions, thus impacting the perceived functional value [21].

In the online shopping environment, the ‘one-to-many’ form of communication between opinion leaders also plays a pivotal role. The opinions of opinion leaders will greatly affect consumers’ judgement and perception of products, making them closer to the opinion leaders’ views [22], while improving their sense of pleasure and enhancing their sense of immersion experience. As a result, social interactions have been shown to significantly influence the user's experience during use, that is, consumer perception of hedonic value

Based on these, we make the following assumptions:

H4a: Social interaction positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.

H4b: Social interaction positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment.

The influence of characteristics of agricultural products on consumer perceived value

In the social e-commerce situation, vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, milk and aquatic products belong to fresh agricultural products, but their commodity characteristics are obviously different from other products, and their own characteristics are the important factors affecting the perceived value of consumers, such as agricultural products fresh quality, price, appearance, taste, origin, brand, packaging, delivery time and so on, which will affect the psychological process of the consumer perception of goods.

Based on these, we make the following assumption:

H5a: Characteristics of agricultural products significantly affect the value of perceived function.

H5b: Characteristics of agricultural products significantly affect the value of perceived enjoyment.

The influence of consumer-perceived value on the willingness to buy agricultural products

Based on the SOR theory, social trust, social stickiness, social support, social interaction, and the characteristics of agricultural products are the bases for consumers to generate purchase intentions, and the consumer perceived value plays an intermediary role in regulating them.

That is to say, consumer perceived value indirectly or directly affects customer purchase decisions [23, 24]. Liu Xinmin and others confirmed in studying value-driven purchase decisions that in the process of transformation from social network and social needs to social business activities, the value-driven motivation of users to participate will not remain unchanged, and different types of perceived value will have different impacts on the final acceptance willingness and purchase behaviour [16]. Therefore, in the context of social e-commerce, the influencing factors of agricultural products online purchase intention are discussed from the two dimensions of perceived functional value and perceived pleasure value of consumers.

Based on this, we make the following assumptions:

H6a: Consumer perceived functional value positively affects the intention of agricultural products.

H6b: Consumer perception hedonic value positively affects the intention to buy agricultural products.

Fig. 1

Concept model of impact factors of social e-commerce

Model construction

In this paper, there are many potential variables that cannot be directly observed in the study of the influencing mechanism and path of agricultural product purchase intentions in the context of social e-commerce, so this paper designs the relationship model of various variables based on logical relationships, and selects the SEM to perform statistical analysis of the potential variables. The model includes 8 potential variables, of which social trust, social stickiness, social support, social interaction and characteristics of agricultural products are the premise variables, the perceived functional value and the perceived hedonic value are the intermediary variables, and the consumer's willingness to buy is the result variable: η=Bη+Γξ+ζ \eta = B\eta + \Gamma \xi + \zeta Y=Λyη+ϵ Y = \Lambda y\eta + \varepsilon X=Λxξ+σX=Λxξ+σ X = \Lambda x\xi + \sigma X = \Lambda x\xi + \sigma where Eq. (1) is the structural model and Eqs. (2) and (3) are the measurement models. X and Y are vectors composed of exogenous variables and endogenous variables, respectively; ξ stands for exogenous potential variables, such as social trust, social stickiness, social support, social interaction and agricultural product characteristics, and η stands for endogenous potential variables, Perceive functional value and perceive hedonic value. B and Γ are the structural coefficient matrix, ζ is the residual matrix, Λy is the factor composite matrix of the endogenous explicit variable on the endogenous potential variable, Λx is the factor composite matrix of the exogenous potential variable and ɛσ is the residual matrix.

Research results
Variable measurement

To verify the above hypothesis, this paper performs an empirical analysis through a questionnaire. The questionnaire includes two parts: the first is divided into personal basic information of the subject, and the second is a measurement scale of the variables related to the SEM. To ensure the validity of the questionnaire content, the variable section is measured using the Likert five-level scale, where 1–5 represent ‘very disagree’ to ‘very agree’. After the completion of the questionnaire design, two researchers in e-commerce were first invited to review the questionnaire, and revised the scale and questionnaire according to the feedback opinions to improve its quality. The final questionnaire was formed after repeated polishing and modification. Table 1 gives the final variables, indicators and their measurement items.

Final variables and index of the products

Variable Index Measurement item

Agricultural A1 Fresh quality
Products A2 The Price
Characteristics (A) A3 Appearance
A4 Taste
A5 Place of Origin
A6 Brand
A7 Packaging
A8 Shipping time
Social Trust (B) B1 I am more confident in buying the produce recommended by experience.
B2 I believe more in the produce that acquaintances share.
B3 Their recommended produce is also trustworthy for
B4 My social networking friends are trustworthy.
Social Viscosity (C) C1 My social networking friends are sincere.
C2 My social networking friends are committed.
C3 I think the products that popular bloggers share are more worth buying.
Social Support (D) D1 I often share emotions and care about each other with social networking friends.
D2 When I face difficulties, social networking friends comfort and encourage me.
D3 When I face difficulties, they help me find reasons and give advice.
Social Interaction (E) E1 I share with social networking friends when I buy produce.
E2 When I buy produce, I seek advice from social networking friends.
E3 I often discuss a certain produce or brand with social networking friends.
Perceived Functional Value (F) F1 Social networking platforms can help me get better, cheaper produce.
F2 Social platforms can help me save the time and cost of buying produce.
F3 Social platforms are informative and easy to get the produce information I want.
Percepted Hedonic Value (G) G1 Agricultural products online is fun.
G2 Agricultural products online is enjoyable, enjoyable.
The Will to Purchase (H) H1 On social platforms such as WeChat, I understand the agricultural products recommended by friends.
H2 I buy agricultural products recommended by friends.
H3 I will recommend friends to buy agricultural products online.

With the help of the questionnaire star, this paper released a questionnaire, which lasted for 1 month and recovered 513 questionnaires, including 445 valid questionnaires.

According to valid data, the proportion of male users is 31.78% and female users is 68.22%. Users aged 18–30 account for 85.85%, 9.5% aged 31–40, and then 40–50 and 50 years all above 0.39%. A total of 78% respondents had experience of online agricultural products, 85.27% respondents used Pinduoduo, while 61.24% used Little Red Book, and 39.92% used living goods (poison).

Reliability and validity analysis

In order to test the reliability and validity of the measured variables, the factor analysis using SPSS and incorporating the latent variables into the SEM for CFA analysis yield the results given in Table 2.

CFA calculation Results

Question item Alpha value Factor loading AVE CR

Agricultural characteristics (A) A1 0.721 0.682 0.423 0.851
A2 0.555
A4 0.485
A3 0.648
A5 0.742
A6 0.773
A7 0.745
A8 0.500
Social trust (B) B1 0.962 0.852 0.688 0.898
B2 0.851
B3 0.847
B4 0.764
Social viscosity (C) C1 0.838 0.621 0.377 0.645
C2 0.644
C3 0.576
Social support (D) D1 0.961 0.734 0.577 0.803
D2 0.767
D3 0.777
Social Interaction (E) E1 0.924 0.829 0.676 0.862
E2 0.827
E3 0.811
Perceived Functional Value (F) F1 0.940 0.810 0.627 0.835
F2 0.792
F3 0.775
Percepted Hedonic Value (G) G1 0.950 0.837 0.701 0.825
G2 0.838
Willingness to Buy (H) H1 0.944 0.807 0.716 0.883
H2 0.861
H3 0.869

AVE, average extraction variance

First, the Cronbach's Alpha values of agricultural product characteristics of social trust, social viscosity, social support, social interaction, perceived function value, perceived pleasure value, and purchase intention are 0.721, 0.962, 0.838, 0.961, 0.924, 0.940, 0.950 and 0.944, all greater than 0.7, which shows the questionnaire reliability and good consistency, stability and reliability.

Second, the average extraction variance (AVE) of most latent variables is greater than 0.5 and the standard factor load of most measured items is more than 0.7 and significant at the level of 0.001 (p<0.001), so the measured items of the questionnaire have good validity.

Finally, the CR of each latent variable is greater than 0.6, which indicates that the scale can consistently explain the potential variables, with a good building confidence.

Hypothesis and inspection

Based on the reliability and validity of the test data, AMOS software is used to conduct the structural equation analysis of the latent variables to verify whether the above assumptions are true.

First, evaluate the fit of the model, as shown in Table 3: CMIN = 2125.106, X2/df = 5.806, GFI = 0.761, RMR = 0.295, NFI = 0.854, CFI = 0.876, mostly greater than its recommended value, so the data and the model fit better.

Model fitting index and its actual value

Fitting Index Actual Value

CMIN 2124.097
χ2/df 5.819
GFI 0.761
RMR 0.295
NFI 0.854
CFI 0.876

Subsequently, under p<0.01, the significance examines the path coefficient of the model, with the results as shown in Figure 2. Among them, Social Trust for consumer-perceived functional value (β = 0.078, p<0.01) and consumer-perceived hedonistic value (β < 0.158, p<0.01) both showed significant positive effects. Value of social viscosity to the perceived function (β = 0.309, p < 0.01) and perceived pleasure value (β <0.125, p<0.01) both showed significant positive effects. Social support for value to perceived function (β = 0.125, p<0.01) and perceived pleasure value (β < 0.086, p<0.01) both showed significant positive effects; Value of social interaction to the perceived function (β = 0.403, p<0.01) and perceived pleasure value (β <0.510, p<0.01) both showed significant positive effects. Perceptual functional value and perceived pleasure value have an obvious positive impact on the willing to buy (β = 0.280, p<0.01) (β <0.721, p<0.01). However, the characteristics of agricultural products do not affect perceived value.

Fig. 2

Model assumption test results

Therefore, this hypothesis is supported except H5a and H5b. See the test results shown in Table 4.

Assume test results

H1a: Social trust positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.H1b: Social trust positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H2a: Social viscosity positively affects the value of consumer perception function.H2b: Social viscosity positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H3a: Social support positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.H3b: Social support positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H4a: Social interaction positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.H4b: Social interaction positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H5a: Characteristics of agricultural products significantly affect the value of perceived function.H5b: Characteristics of agricultural products significantly affect the value of perceived enjoyment. Not true
H6a: Consumer perceived functional value positively affects the intention of agricultural products.H6b: Consumer perception hedonic value positively affects the intention to buy agricultural products. Established
Main findings
The most important feature of social e-commerce is sociality

In the context of social e-commerce, external environmental factors such as social trust, social stickiness, social support and social interaction stimulate consumers to make complex psychological processes such as comparative evaluation, thus indirectly affecting their willingness to buy agricultural products. Among the above external stimulus factors, social interaction has the greatest influence on consumers’ purchasing intention of agricultural products, followed by social stickiness, social trust and social support. This is mainly because in the context of social e-commerce, consumers pay more attention to social interaction and friendly relations between each other, pay more attention to effective information transmission and communication, and tend towards a relaxed and happy consumption environment, which also reflects the sociality of social e-commerce.

The development trend of social e-commerce is practicality, usefulness and rationality

The level of purchasing intention of agricultural products directly depends on consumers’ perceived functional value and hedonic value. Perceived value is an internal psychological mechanism formed after consumers are stimulated by external stimuli, which directly affects their willingness to buy agricultural products. Different types of perceived value also have different effects on consumers’ purchasing intentions. Of them, perceived functional value has a greater impact, followed by hedonic value, which reflects the development trend of social e-commerce in its practicality, usefulness and rationality.

The characteristics of agricultural products have direct impact on consumers’ purchasing intention

The quality, appearance, origin, packaging and other characteristics of agricultural products are also external stimulus factors, but they have not been proved to directly affect the perceived value of consumers. This may be because in the e-commerce environment that emphasises socialisation, interaction and stickiness, especially in the live streaming e-commerce that is prone to impulse consumption, consumers pay more attention to the external factors such as the friendly communication atmosphere in the consumption environment (broadcast room), while the importance of the characteristics of agricultural products is weakened to a certain extent. However, the characteristics of agricultural products should have a direct impact on consumers’ purchasing intention, and then directly determine consumers’ purchasing decision-making behaviour to a certain extent.

Conclusion
Theoretical implications

Based on the perspective of social e-commerce, this paper studies and analyses the key factors affecting consumers’ willingness to buy agricultural products, constructs a model of external stimulus factors such as social trust and social stickiness, as well as consumers’ perceived value and purchase intention, and verifies the model assumptions empirically. Therefore, the theoretical contributions of this paper are as follows:

First, in the context of social commerce, exploratory research and analysis of agricultural products buying intentions influencing factors. Many existing literatures focus on the impact of social commerce on consumers’ purchase intention, while few works specify the products consumers buy as agricultural products. Therefore, this paper can provide a more theoretical basis for exploring the influence mechanism of online purchase of agricultural products and provide more enlightenment for it.

Additionally, this paper innovatively introduces ‘social stickiness’ as a stimulus factor of social environment, and deeply analyses the impact of social stickiness on consumers’ perceived value and purchase intention, which provides an important reference value for enriching social commerce with social trust, social support and social interaction as its main features. It provides a new way to study the influence mechanism of social commerce on consumers’ purchase intention.

Managerial implications

First, it provides new marketing ideas for social media operators of enterprises. For example, media operators should always detect and maintain user stickiness with target consumer groups, so as to ensure strong social relations with them and carry out community marketing. At the same time, users with strong social stickiness can be appropriately guided to expand the scope of the existing community by using their social relations.

Second, it is beneficial for enterprises to strengthen multi-channel and multi-media social interaction with target consumer groups and create a relaxed and pleasant consumption atmosphere. This not only enables agricultural product e-commerce enterprises to better understand existing and potential needs of consumers and their purchase influencing factors, but also enhances the intimacy, familiarity and trust between enterprises and consumers, promote the transformation of consumers’ purchasing behaviour and improve the transaction rate.

Finally, this paper conducts an in-depth study on the influencing factors of consumers’ purchase intention, which is conducive to enterprises’ better understanding of consumer psychology, so as to timely adjust marketing and promotion strategies, firmly grasp the users to improve the core competitiveness of enterprises, and improve the business model of social e-commerce enterprises.

Limitations and future research

Although this paper has contributed to the research on the influencing factors of purchasing intention of agricultural products in the context of social e-commerce, it is undeniable that there are still some defects. First, college students account for a large proportion of the respondents in the questionnaire, which will cause the similarity of the samples to some extent. Therefore, the scope of the respondents should be expanded. Second, based on social e-commerce, the types of agricultural products failed to be deeply segmented. Although the external stimulus factors are also social trust, social stickiness, social support and social interaction, consumers may have completely different purchasing intentions for different types of agricultural products. Finally, the characteristics of agricultural products are a very important external stimulus factor, and this paper failed to prove its influence on consumers’ perceived value. Future studies can introduce this variable to further explore its influence on the purchasing intention of agricultural products.

Fig. 1

Concept model of impact factors of social e-commerce
Concept model of impact factors of social e-commerce

Fig. 2

Model assumption test results
Model assumption test results

CFA calculation Results

Question item Alpha value Factor loading AVE CR

Agricultural characteristics (A) A1 0.721 0.682 0.423 0.851
A2 0.555
A4 0.485
A3 0.648
A5 0.742
A6 0.773
A7 0.745
A8 0.500
Social trust (B) B1 0.962 0.852 0.688 0.898
B2 0.851
B3 0.847
B4 0.764
Social viscosity (C) C1 0.838 0.621 0.377 0.645
C2 0.644
C3 0.576
Social support (D) D1 0.961 0.734 0.577 0.803
D2 0.767
D3 0.777
Social Interaction (E) E1 0.924 0.829 0.676 0.862
E2 0.827
E3 0.811
Perceived Functional Value (F) F1 0.940 0.810 0.627 0.835
F2 0.792
F3 0.775
Percepted Hedonic Value (G) G1 0.950 0.837 0.701 0.825
G2 0.838
Willingness to Buy (H) H1 0.944 0.807 0.716 0.883
H2 0.861
H3 0.869

Model fitting index and its actual value

Fitting Index Actual Value

CMIN 2124.097
χ2/df 5.819
GFI 0.761
RMR 0.295
NFI 0.854
CFI 0.876

Assume test results

H1a: Social trust positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.H1b: Social trust positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H2a: Social viscosity positively affects the value of consumer perception function.H2b: Social viscosity positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H3a: Social support positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.H3b: Social support positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H4a: Social interaction positively affects the value of consumer perceived function.H4b: Social interaction positively affects the value of consumer perceived enjoyment. Established
H5a: Characteristics of agricultural products significantly affect the value of perceived function.H5b: Characteristics of agricultural products significantly affect the value of perceived enjoyment. Not true
H6a: Consumer perceived functional value positively affects the intention of agricultural products.H6b: Consumer perception hedonic value positively affects the intention to buy agricultural products. Established

Final variables and index of the products

Variable Index Measurement item

Agricultural A1 Fresh quality
Products A2 The Price
Characteristics (A) A3 Appearance
A4 Taste
A5 Place of Origin
A6 Brand
A7 Packaging
A8 Shipping time
Social Trust (B) B1 I am more confident in buying the produce recommended by experience.
B2 I believe more in the produce that acquaintances share.
B3 Their recommended produce is also trustworthy for
B4 My social networking friends are trustworthy.
Social Viscosity (C) C1 My social networking friends are sincere.
C2 My social networking friends are committed.
C3 I think the products that popular bloggers share are more worth buying.
Social Support (D) D1 I often share emotions and care about each other with social networking friends.
D2 When I face difficulties, social networking friends comfort and encourage me.
D3 When I face difficulties, they help me find reasons and give advice.
Social Interaction (E) E1 I share with social networking friends when I buy produce.
E2 When I buy produce, I seek advice from social networking friends.
E3 I often discuss a certain produce or brand with social networking friends.
Perceived Functional Value (F) F1 Social networking platforms can help me get better, cheaper produce.
F2 Social platforms can help me save the time and cost of buying produce.
F3 Social platforms are informative and easy to get the produce information I want.
Percepted Hedonic Value (G) G1 Agricultural products online is fun.
G2 Agricultural products online is enjoyable, enjoyable.
The Will to Purchase (H) H1 On social platforms such as WeChat, I understand the agricultural products recommended by friends.
H2 I buy agricultural products recommended by friends.
H3 I will recommend friends to buy agricultural products online.

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