Under the impact of the epidemic prevention extra-long holiday after the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the era of “national live broadcast” is coming. Webcast has become a new digital economy model of “online clout chasing + offline consumption”, opening up a brand-new and huge market space. Different from traditional e-commerce, webcast can make the audience interact with streaming media in real time through the real-time transmission of images and sounds, and bring unique immersive “social presence” shopping experience. Social presence reflects the real psychological state of users’ online interaction, and is the concrete representation of virtual co-existence, psychological involvement and behavior participation, which will affect users’ behavior willingness when using media to communicate with others. Therefore, based on the theory of social presence, this paper deeply explores the mechanism of social presence of webcast on users’ continuous use and recommendation willingness. At the same time, considering the potential value of the stable relationship between the platform and users and the difference of users’ acceptance of science and technology products, this paper combines the relationship marketing theory with the technology acceptance model, and pays attention to the boundary influence of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use while introducing user commitment to explore the mediation mechanism.
In this paper, the users of webcasting platform are investigated, and the data are collected by applying the survey method. A total of 387 questionnaires were collected. After eliminating the questionnaires with random filling, short filling time, certain regularity and too many neutral options, 349 valid questionnaires were finally obtained. The empirical results used confirmatory factor analysis, correlation analysis, regression analysis and Bootstrap analysis.
The results show that social presence is positively correlated with users’ continuous use and recommendation willingness of webcast; social presence positively affects users’ continuous use and recommendation willingness by improving user commitment; perceived usefulness enhances the positive impact of social presence on user commitment, and further promotes users’ continuous use and recommendation willingness. However, perceived ease of use does not affect the relationship between social presence and user commitment, as well as users’ continuous use and recommendation willingness. The possible reason is that the current webcasting platform has created a “fool-like” media operation, which results in a generally high perceived ease of use for all users. To sum up, this paper verifies the positive impact of social presence on users’ continuous use and recommendation willingness under the situation of webcast, expounds the mediation role of commitment, and tests the important moderating variable of perceived usefulness.
The main theoretical contributions of this paper are as follows: First, it takes social presence as the theoretical basis to study the continuous use and recommendation willingness of webcasting users, broadens the application scope of social presence theory, and puts forward important academic propositions about the impact of social presence on webcasting users’ behavior, which enriches the connotation of social presence theory. Second, it introduces commitment, the core concept of relationship marketing, into the research of webcast, develops the theoretical and empirical basis of the relationship between social presence and webcasting users’ behavior, reveals the mediation influence of user commitment on the perception and behavior of webcasting users, and enriches and deepens the related research of consumer commitment. Third, it integrates the related variables of technology acceptance model: perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use, into the research of social presence, which provides a complete idea for further improving the explanatory function of social presence. At the same time, by integrating the technology acceptance model and the social presence theory into the framework of analyzing webcasting users’ behavior, the explanatory strength of the model is also greatly improved.