Standard vs. Custom Products: Variety, Lead Time, and Price Competition
In this paper, we study the standardization and customization decisions of two firms in a competitive setting, along with variety, lead time, and price decisions. We incorporate consumer heterogeneity both in firm preference (or store convenience) and in product attribute preferences. We find that the equilibrium outcome depends on the cost efficiencies of the production technologies as well as the consumer sensitivity to product fit and lead time. We develop an index that signifies the relative attractiveness of the standardization and customization strategies, and the potential outcomes. We identify the strategic roles of product variety and lead time in the competition. In contrast to the previous literature, we find that increasing the variety will not intensify the price competition if there is sufficient firm differentiation. Rather, it relieves the price pressure for the firm as it satisfies consumer needs better and enables higher price premiums. We also analyze the impact of asymmetric variable costs, fixed costs, and brand reputation on the equilibrium decisions.
Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (09-10)
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