In an online environment the customer relies heavily on cues that indicate that an electronic vendor (e-vendor), can be trusted (especially in comparison with an offline shopping environment). Several studies investigated the factors that reduce mistrust in an online environment. However, little is known about the effects of colour on the process of establishing trust between e-vendor and consumer, and purchase intention. The current body of studies on the effects of, specifically, the colour blue on trust in an online environment also show contrasting results. Further, the literature review revealed that (value) variations of colours have different effects on human behaviour, or perception. It was also argued that the effect of blue on trust and behaviour would be greater for people from cultures that are generally more risk averse. The aim of the present study, therefore, was to investigate the effect of two different values of blue (i.e. lighter and darker valued) on trust and the intention to book an accommodation, differentiated by culture. In an online experiment 91 Chinese and 125 Dutch respondents (average age 27 years) were presented with an accommodation offer displayed within either a predominantly darker, or lighter valued blue environment. The results showed an indirect (mediating) effect of trust on the relationship between the predominantly darker coloured blue environment and booking intention. There was no evidence for the hypothesized moderating effect of culture. To conclude, this study contributes to a better understanding of the effects of (value) variations of colour in an online environment on human behaviour, and perception. The use of dark blue colour schemes in an online environment can be recommended to e-vendors. Especially in online environments in which the customer is more involved (e.g. financially) or vulnerable in the (purchasing) process, and thus more cues are needed to win a visitor’s trust.
- Online consumer behaviour
- persuasion marketing