Perceived Risk, Trust and Familiarity of Online Multi-Sided Pure-Play Platforms Selling Physical Offerings in an Emerging Market

  • Marilise Carstens University of Stellenbosch Business School
  • Marius Ungerer University of Stellenbosch Business School
  • Gert Human University of Stellenbosch
Keywords: Multi-sided platforms, perceived risk, perceived trust, familiarity


Understanding how customers perceive trust and risk when engaging with online pure-play multi-sided platforms (MSPs), has become critical to the performance of digital marketing strategies. This study explored the relationship between perceived trust, perceived risk and user familiarity associated with MSPs. For the purpose of this study, MSPs are conceptualised as firms that operate only online, that seek to provide transacting services to buyers and sellers, and that sell physical offerings in an emerging market context. Primary data were collected through an online instrument across five MSPs and the study reported the results pertaining to differences and similarities between groups and platforms. The results show that while familiarity drives trust, its impact is moderated by perceived risk. Contrary to common belief, the results show gender differences, but do not confirm age differences in trust and the moderation effect of risk. Moreover, the results also show that the influence of familiarity is not significantly different across MSPs.

Author Biography

Gert Human, University of Stellenbosch

Department of Business Management, Professor