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Cognitive Lock-In Effects on Consumer Purchase Intentions in the Context of B2C Web Sites


  • The author would like to thank the anonymous referees and Professor Nataraajan for their valuable comments and suggestions on the early version of this paper. This research received financial support from the Taiwan National Science Council, NSC 100–2410-H-364–003.

Correspondence regarding this article should be sent to: Hung-Pin Shih, Department of Information Management, Hsuan Chuang University, No. 48, Hsuan Chuang Rd., 300 Hsinchu City, Taiwan (


The perspective of power law of practice and human capital model asserts that cognitive search costs, cognitive transaction costs, and cognitive switching costs are three lock-in mechanisms that a business-to-consumer (B2C) Web site holds to retain customers. Whether the ability of customer value or the lock-in mechanism is more dominant for retaining online shoppers has received recent attention, but remains unresolved in the literature. This study sheds light on perceived value and cognitive lock-in to develop a research model to predict consumer purchase intentions. Empirical results obtained from a survey of customers of a B2C Web site are used to examine the proposed model. Implications of cognitive lock-in and product cues for increasing purchase intentions are also discussed.