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Product Customization and Price Competition on the Internet

Author

Listed:
  • Rajiv Dewan

    () (Simon School of Business, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627)

  • Bing Jing

    () (Stern School of Business, New York University, New York, New York 10012)

  • Abraham Seidmann

    () (Simon School of Business, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627)

Abstract

The Internet provides an unprecedented capability for sellers to learn about their customers and offer custom products at special prices. In addition, customization is more feasible today because of advances in manufacturing technologies that have improved sellers' manufacturing flexibility. We first develop a model of product customization and flexible pricing to incorporate the salient roles of the Internet and flexible manufacturing technologies in reducing the costs of designing and producing tailored consumer goods. We show how a monopoly seller may earn the highest profits by producing both standard and custom products and can raise prices for both types of products as customization and information collection technologies improve. Simultaneous adoption of customization in a duopoly reduces the differentiation between their standard products but does not intensify price competition. Compared with a two-facility monopolist, the duopoly may underinvest in customization. Consumer surplus improves after sellers adopt customization but does not monotonically increase as customization technologies advance. When firms face a fixed entry cost and adopt customization sequentially, the first entrant always achieves an advantage and may be able to deter subsequent entry by choosing its customization scope strategically.

Suggested Citation

  • Rajiv Dewan & Bing Jing & Abraham Seidmann, 2003. "Product Customization and Price Competition on the Internet," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(8), pages 1055-1070, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:49:y:2003:i:8:p:1055-1070
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.49.8.1055.16401
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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