Product Variety and Endogenous Pricing with Evaluation Costs
One important decision firms must make is to select the product line (characteristics and number of products) to offer consumers. This paper explores the effect of the interaction between consumer evaluation costs and pricing on the optimal product line length to offer consumers. Before deciding to buy a product among all products offered, a consumer learns the product line length. Given the product line length, a consumer decides whether to evaluate the products available and their prices. This decision to evaluate depends on the expected consumer surplus after the evaluation being greater than the evaluation costs. When the firm offers few products, the firm may not attract many consumers because of lack of product fit and may be forced to offer low prices. When the firm offers many products, all consumers will find a great product fit; that is, the variance of consumer valuations per product chosen is lower. This allows the firm to charge high prices to extract ex post consumer surplus, resulting in lower ex ante expected consumer surplus, which may lead consumers not to evaluate the products in the first place. That is, by offering fewer products a firm can commit not to extract all possible consumer surplus. These two forces may then lead to the existence of an interior optimal number of products to offer. The optimal number of products offered is decreasing in the evaluation costs.
Volume (Year): 55 (2009)
Issue (Month): 8 (August)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA|
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, 2004.
"Willpower and Personal Rules,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 848-886, August.
- John T. Gourville & Dilip Soman, 2005. "Overchoice and Assortment Type: When and Why Variety Backfires," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(3), pages 382-395, July.
- Luc Wathieu & Marco Bertini, 2007. "Price as a Stimulus to Think: The Case for Willful Overpricing," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(1), pages 118-129, 01-02.
- J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2004. "Communication Strategies and Product Line Design," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(3), pages 304-316, January.
- Lal, Rajiv & Matutes, Carmen, 1994. "Retail Pricing and Advertising Strategies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67(3), pages 345-70, July.
- Duncan Simester, 1995. "Signalling Price Image Using Advertised Prices," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(2), pages 166-188.
- Lurie, Nicholas H, 2004. " Decision Making in Information-Rich Environments: The Role of Information Structure," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(4), pages 473-86, March.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2006.
"A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
2112, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2004. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2049, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine, 2005. "A Dual Self Model of Impulse Control," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000876, David K. Levine.
- Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 2006. "A Dual-Self Model of Impulse Control," Scholarly Articles 3196335, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
- Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
- Liang Guo, 2006. "Consumption Flexibility, Product Configuration, and Market Competition," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(2), pages 116-130, 03-04.
- Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, 03.
- Emir Kamenica, 2008. "Contextual Inference in Markets: On the Informational Content of Product Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2127-49, December.
- Shugan, Steven M, 1980. " The Cost of Thinking," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 99-111, Se.
- Birger Wernerfelt, 1994. "Selling Formats for Search Goods," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(3), pages 298-309.
- Ram C. Rao & Niladri Syam, 2001. "Equilibrium Price Communication and Unadvertised Specials by Competing Supermarkets," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(1), pages 61-81, June.
- Ben Irons & Cameron Hepburn, 2007. "Regret Theory and the Tyranny of Choice," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(261), pages 191-203, 06.
- Timothy Van Zandt, 2004.
"Information Overload in a Network of Targeted Communication,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 542-560, Autumn.
- Van Zandt, Timothy, 2001. "Information Overload in a Network of Targeted Communication," CEPR Discussion Papers 2836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Hauser, John R & Wernerfelt, Birger, 1990. " An Evaluation Cost Model of Consideration Sets," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 393-408, March.
- Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1987. "Some implications of a more general form of regret theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 270-287, April.
- Keller, Kevin Lane & Staelin, Richard, 1987. " Effects of Quality and Quantity of Information on Decision Effectiveness," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 200-213, September.
- Dmitri Kuksov, 2004. "Buyer Search Costs and Endogenous Product Design," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(4), pages 490-499, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:8:p:1338-1346. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.