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Abstract

Sensory enabling technology (SET) can deliver product information that is similar to the information obtained from direct product examination, thus reducing product risk. In addition, the interactivity and customer involvement created by sensory enabling technologies can enhance the entertainment value of the online shopping experience. The proposed model examined this dual role of sensory experience enablers in the online soft goods shopping process for three types of sensory enabling technologies that are widely applied in online retail sites. The results provided empirical support for perceived usefulness and perceived entertainment value as strong predictors of consumers' attitudes toward using all three of the sensory enabling technologies tested in this study. The impact of perceived ease of use differed by technology. Attitudes toward using sensory enabling technologies had a significant impact on the actual use of all three SETs; however, the impact of technology anxiety and innovativeness on the use of SET also appeared to differ by technology. Virtual try-on played a strong hedonic role, increasing the entertainment value of the online shopping process, whereas 2D views (larger view and alternate views) showed a strong functional role. The 3D rotation view served both functional and hedonic roles. The results indicate that each sensory enabling technology makes a unique contribution to online shopping—either by reducing product risk perceptions or by increasing perceived entertainment value. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.