Exploring risks, advantages and interpersonal trust in buyer-salesperson relationships in direct selling in a non-western country

Patrick POON, Gerald ALBAUM, Cheng-Yue YIN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the dimensions of interpersonal trust which would affect the buyer-salesperson relationship in a direct selling situation. It also investigates consumers’ perceived risk and advantages of direct selling. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire survey of consumers (and also non-consumers) of direct selling companies in Hong Kong was performed by means of mall-intercept interview. The major measurements were perceived risk, perceived advantages, trust dimensions, and repurchase intention. Findings: The results show that there are six dimensions of interpersonal trust in the buyer-seller relationship in direct selling, but only one dimension (i.e. honesty) has a significant relationship with repurchase intention. The ability to shop at home is found to have the highest advantage rating of direct selling. In addition, direct selling is perceived to have a lower level of risk than unsolicited telephone call such as telemarketing. Originality/value This is the first study to investigate the effects of different dimensions of interpersonal trust on consumer buying behavior under a direct selling situation in Asia. The study also serves as a foundation for studying the applicability and usefulness of all trust measures in other western or non-western cultures/nations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-342
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017



  • Buyer-seller relationship
  • Direct selling
  • Repurchase intention
  • Trust

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