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Selling an opaque product through an intermediary: The case of disguising one's product

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  • Fay, Scott

Abstract

This paper models multiple service providers who use an intermediary to sell an opaque product. An opaque product is a product whose identity is concealed from consumers until after purchase. I find that an opaque good may allow finer segmentation of a service provider's customer base, lead to market expansion, and/or reduce price rivalry. However, if there is little brand-loyalty in an industry, an opaque good increases the degree of price rivalry and reduces total industry profit. The paper also discusses issues regarding channel structure and outlines managerial implications of this research.

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  • Fay, Scott, 2008. "Selling an opaque product through an intermediary: The case of disguising one's product," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 59-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jouret:v:84:y:2008:i:1:p:59-75
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jretai.2008.01.005
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    Cited by:

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    2. David Sayah & Stefan Irnich, 2019. "Optimal booking control in revenue management with two substitutable resources," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research (GOR);Nederlands Genootschap voor Besliskunde (NGB), vol. 89(2), pages 189-222, April.
    3. Dmitry Shapiro & Xianwen Shi, 2008. "Market Segmentation: The Role of Opaque Travel Agencies," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 803-837, December.
    4. Mao, Zhaofang & Liu, Wei & Feng, Bo, 2019. "Opaque distribution channels for service providers with asymmetric capacities: Posted-price mechanisms," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 215(C), pages 112-120.
    5. Cai, Gangshu (George), 2010. "Channel Selection and Coordination in Dual-Channel Supply Chains," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 22-36.
    6. Yongbo Xiao & Jian Chen, 2014. "Evaluating the potential effects from probabilistic selling of similar products," Naval Research Logistics (NRL), John Wiley & Sons, vol. 61(8), pages 604-620, December.
    7. Fay, Scott & Xie, Jinhong & Feng, Cong, 2015. "The Effect of Probabilistic Selling on the Optimal Product Mix," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 451-467.
    8. Ruomeng Cui & Hyoduk Shin, 2018. "Sharing Aggregate Inventory Information with Customers: Strategic Cross-Selling and Shortage Reduction," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(1), pages 381-400, January.
    9. Zhang, Yi & Hua, Guowei & Cheng, T.C.E. & Zhang, Juliang & Fernandez, Vicenc, 2020. "Risk pooling through physical probabilistic selling," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 219(C), pages 295-311.
    10. Dant, Rajiv P. & Brown, James R., 2008. "Bridging the B2C and B2B Research Divide: The Domain of Retailing Literature," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 84(4), pages 371-397.
    11. Joo, Mingyu & Mazumdar, Tridib & Raj, S.P., 2012. "Bidding Strategies and Consumer Savings in NYOP Auctions," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 180-188.
    12. Brown, James R. & Dant, Rajiv P., 2009. "The Theoretical Domains of Retailing Research: A Retrospective," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 113-128.
    13. Rice, Dan Hamilton & Fay, Scott A. & Xie, Jinhong, 2014. "Probabilistic selling vs. markdown selling: Price discrimination and management of demand uncertainty in retailing," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 147-155.
    14. Florencia Jaureguiberry & Mariano Tappata, 2015. "Game—The Hotel Game: Pricing Simulations with Opaque and Transparent Channels," INFORMS Transactions on Education, INFORMS, vol. 16(1), pages 24-38, September.
    15. Catherine Cleophas & Daniel Kadatz & Sebastian Vock, 2017. "Resilient revenue management: a literature survey of recent theoretical advances," Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 16(5), pages 483-498, October.
    16. Wang, Junjin & Liu, Jiaguo & Wang, Fan & Yue, Xiaohang, 2021. "Blockchain technology for port logistics capability: Exclusive or sharing," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 347-392.
    17. Feng, Bo & Mao, Zhaofang & Li, Hui, 2021. "Choices for competing service providers with heterogeneous customers: Traditional versus opaque sales modes," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    18. Robert Zeithammer, 2015. "Optimal selling strategies when buyers name their own prices," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 135-171, June.
    19. Grewal, Dhruv & Levy, Michael & Kumar, V., 2009. "Customer Experience Management in Retailing: An Organizing Framework," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 1-14.

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