APJIS Asia Pacific Journal of Information Systems

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The Journal for Information Professionals

Asia Pacific Journal of Information Systems (APJIS), a Scopus and ABDC indexed journal, is a
flagship journal of the information systems (IS) field in the Asia Pacific region.

ISSN 2288-5404 (Print) / ISSN 2288-6818 (Online)

Editor : Byounggu Choi / One-Ki (Daniel) Lee

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Past Issue

Date December 2014
Vol. No. Vol. 24 No. 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.14329/apjis.2014.24.4.493
Page 493~513
Title The Effects of LBS Information Filtering on Users Perceived Uncertainty and Information Search Behavior
Author Xiaolin Zhai, Il Im
Keyword Location Based Services, Buyer Uncertainty, Search Behavior, Search Cost
Abstract With the development of related technologies, Location-Based Services (LBS) are growing fast and being used in many ways. Past LBS studies have focused on adoption of LBS because of the fact that LBS users have privacy concerns regarding revealing their location information. Meanwhile, the number of LBS users and revenues from LBS are growing rapidly because users can get some benefits by revealing their location information. Little research has been done on how LBS affects consumers’ information search behavior in product purchase. The purpose of this paper is examining the effect of LBS information filtering on buyers’ uncertainty and their information search behavior.When consumers purchase a product, they try to reduce uncertainty by searching information. Generally, there are two types of uncertainties – knowledge uncertainty and choice uncertainty. Knowledge uncertainty refers to the lack of information on what kinds of alternatives are available in the market and/or their important attributes. Therefore, consumers knowledge uncertainty will have difficulties in identifying what alter-natives exist in the market to fulfil their needs. Choice uncertainty refers to the lack of information about consumers’ own preferences and which alternative will fit in their needs. Therefore, consumers with choice uncertainty have difficulties selecting best product among available alternatives..According to economics of information theory, consumers narrow the scope of information search when knowledge uncertainty is high. It is because consumers’ information search cost is high when their knowledge uncertainty is high. If people do not know available alternatives and their attributes, it takes time and cognitive efforts for them to acquire information about available alternatives. Therefore, they will reduce search breadth. For people with high knowledge uncertainty, the information about products and their attributes is new and of high value for them. Therefore, they will conduct searches more in-depth because they have incentive to acquire more information. When people have high choice uncertainty, people tend to search information about more alternatives. It is because increased search breadth will improve their chances to find better alternative for them. On the other hand, since human’s cognitive capacity is limited, the increased search breadth (more alternatives) will reduce the depth of information search for each alternative. Consumers with high choice uncertainty will spend less time and effort for each alternative because considering more alternatives will increase their utility.LBS provides users with the capability to screen alternatives based on the distance from them, which reduces information search costs. Therefore, it is expected that LBS will help users consider more alternatives even when they have high knowledge uncertainty. LBS provides distance information, which helps users choose alternatives appropriate for them. Therefore, users will perceive lower choice uncertainty when they use LBS.In order to test the hypotheses, we selected 80 students and assigned them to one of the two experiment groups. One group was asked to use LBS to search surrounding restaurants and the other group was asked to not use LBS to search nearby restaurants. The experimental tasks and measures items were validated in a pilot experiment. The final measurement items are shown in Appendix A.Each subject was asked to read one of the two scenarios – with or without LBS – and use a smartphone application to pick a restaurant. All behaviors on smartphone were recorded using a recording application. Search breadth was measured by the number of restaurants clicked by each subject. Search depths was measured by two metrics – the average number of sub-level pages each subject visited and the average time spent on each restaurant.The hypotheses were tested using SPSS and PLS. The results show that knowledge uncertainty reduces search breadth (H1a). However, there was no significant correlation between knowledge uncertainty and search depth (H1b). Choice uncertainty significantly reduces search depth (H2b), but no significant relationship was found between choice uncertainty and search breadth (H2a). LBS information filtering significantly reduces the buyers’ choice uncertainty (H4) and reduces the negative relationship between knowledge uncertainty and search breadth (H3).This research provides some important implications for service providers. Service providers should use different strategies based on their service properties. For those service providers who are not well-known to consumers (high knowledge uncertainty) should encourage their customers to use LBS. This is because LBS would increase buyers’ consideration sets when the knowledge uncertainty is high. Therefore, less known services have chances to be included in consumers’ consideration sets with LBS. On the other hand, LBS information filtering decrease choice uncertainty and the near service providers are more likely to be selected than without LBS. Hence, service providers should analyze geographically approximate competitors’ strength and try to reduce the gap so that they can have chances to be included in the consideration set.


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