ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (5): 884-904.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.00884

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The persona effect of virtual sales agent

HENG Shupeng1, ZHAO Huanfang1, SUN Lijun2, ZHOU Zongkui3()   

  1. 1 College of Education, Xinxiang Normal University, Xinxiang 453007, China
    2 College of Psychology, Xinxiang Medical University, Xinxiang 453003, China
    3 Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior, Ministry of Education; School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
  • Received:2018-08-15 Online:2019-05-15 Published:2019-03-20
  • Contact: ZHOU Zongkui


Virtual sales agents (VSA) on e-commerce and online retail Web sites, representing animated embodiments that respond to users through verbal and non-verbal communication, most often serve a search support function by presenting product and service information, or a basic decision support function. Recent researches have demonstrated the persona effect of VSA, that is the integration of social cues (i.e., cues based on humanlike sales agents) into retail Web sites may heighten the perception of employee presence and feeling of being served, which thus enhance consumers’ online shopping experiences. Theories related with the persona effect of virtual sales agent hold different points. The persona effect of VSA could be influenced by the VSA’s characteristics, consumer factors and product factors. Its mechanism includes social presence, sense of personalization, perceived social support, trust and perceived risk. On this basis, we point out the future research direction.

Key words: online shopping, virtual sales agent, persona effect, psychological mechanism

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