Social networking sites, e-word of mouth, e-reference groups, e-purchasing, fashion sector.
The Internet and social networking sites have provided many benefits to its users, because of its ability to connect large number of users all over the world; it is used as a marketing tool to promote different goods and services, including fashion. This study aimed to reveal the impact of social networking sites and their applications, e-word of mouth and e-reference groups in particular, on the e-purchasing process of fashion products. This process undergoes five consecutive stages (need recognition, information search, alternatives’ evaluation, e-purchasing, post-purchasing evaluation). In order to achieve the objectives of this study, analytical descriptive method was used and quantitative approach utilizing survey strategy was applied to test the three main hypotheses developed based on the literature review. Questionnaire was developed based on the previous studies and electronically distributed to a connivance sample of 601 online fashion buyers who have active Facebook accounts. 427 filtered and screened questionnaires were analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive analyses and regression analyses were performed to describe and test the hypotheses. The study found that the e-reference groups have slightly stronger impact on e-purchasing process in the fashion sector compared to e-word of mouth. The study recommended that e-stores should pay attention to consumers' experience to ensure positive feedback on social networking sites, and to the quality of information offered on fashion products. Recommendations for future research are provided.
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