T- test value of social ties manipulation

6. Limitations and future research

This study has certain limitations, which must be noted, despite the cautious steps that were taken during the theoretical deduction and data collection. First, the strength of social ties in the experimental cyber settings was manipulated in such a way that both friends and non-friends appeared in the brand communities, and the avatars of friends were set to be purely experimental. Thus, subjects may have perceived those “friends” as fictitious, resulting in inconsistent questionnaire results.

Second, future studies can be addressed by investigating (a) the influence of the size of brand community membership on subjects’ perceptions about the presence of their friends, and (b) the influence of various factors on consumers’

positive and negative emotions or brand selection. Third, as the selection of products only focuses on 5 brands of sports shoe, they were selected as the research product in this study. Future studies can focus on different products and conduct different comparisons, such as search products, experiential products, and credence products. Final, an online questionnaire survey was used to collect data in this study, thus, future research can use different methods and compare the experimental results obtained with different research methods.

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