A large body of literature on B-to-C EC has emerged in the last few years. As online retailing became an increasingly common social phenomenon, researchers started to explore the reasons behind this trend and ways to utilize this electronic channel more effectively for commercial purposes. Most of the studies took either a technology-centered or consumer-centered view as identified by Jarvenpaa and Todd (1997). The technology-centered view explains and predicts consumer acceptance of virtual stores by examining the technical specifications of a virtual store. These technical specifications include a virtual store's user interface features (e.g., Spiller & Lohse, 1997; Lohse & Spiller, 1998; Westland & Au, 1998), usability (e.g., Nielsen, 1998), ability to effectively have a dialog with consumers (e.g., Baty & Lee, 1995; Alba et al., 1997; Johnson et al., 1998), and security measures (e.g., Kakalik & Wright, 1996; Seldon, 1997). The technology-centered view believes that online shopping is currently impeded by virtual stores' unproductive use of technology.
The consumer-centered view, on the other hand, studies online shopping through consumers' perspectives by investigating consumers' salient beliefs about online shopping. These salient beliefs are supposed to influence retail channel selection decisions. Some broad categories of salient beliefs include product perception, service quality, trust, and shopping experience. The consumer-centered view also believes that socio-demographic factors play important roles in determining consumer acceptance of virtual stores. Studies have consistently found that gender, income level, computer experience, and use of other in-home shopping methods influence a consumer's propensity to shop online (Dillard, 1992; Bellman et al., 1999). The rationale behind the consumer-centered view is that electronic market success is determined by consumers' willingness to adopt it. Strader and Hendrickson's (1998) Ability-Motivation-Opportunity framework implies that in order to achieve e-market success, consumers must be given the opportunity, ability and motivation to participate. As the use of WWW becomes even more commonplace, the consumers' opportunities and ability to use e-markets are more easily fulfilled and consumers' motivation to use e-market becomes the primary concern of virtual stores.
Research projects adopting either a consumer-centered or a technology-centered view have produced valuable insights in identifying some of these obstacles in consumer motivation to use virtual stores. We are also compelled by these research projects to realize that virtual stores must take into account a wide array of technical, business and consumer issues when developing business strategies. To put all these complex issues in perspective, we choose to revisit some of the most influential adoption theories.