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The perils of selling online: Manufacturer competition, channel conflict, and consumer preferences


  • Lu Hsiao


  • Ying-Ju Chen



Internet channels have grown rapidly in recent years due to advances in information technology. However, many leading manufacturers opt not to sell online. In this paper, we construct a theoretical model with competing manufacturers and an active retailer to explain this market phenomenon. We document the possibility of asymmetric channel structure despite the ex ante symmetry between the manufacturers. Moreover, the increasing prominence of online shopping behaviors does not necessarily lead to the increased adoption of Internet channels. The prevalence of dual-channel strategies can be regarded as a form of prisoners’ dilemma, and the manufacturers may intentionally intensify the product or channel substitution to escape from this undesirable outcome. We explain how demand expansion and competition mitigation drive these unintended consequences and provide some general guidelines for the managerial choice of channel structures. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Lu Hsiao & Ying-Ju Chen, 2013. "The perils of selling online: Manufacturer competition, channel conflict, and consumer preferences," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 277-292, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:mktlet:v:24:y:2013:i:3:p:277-292
    DOI: 10.1007/s11002-012-9216-z

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gangshu (George) Cai & Yue Dai & Sean X. Zhou, 2012. "Exclusive Channels and Revenue Sharing in a Complementary Goods Market," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(1), pages 172-187, January.
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    4. Yuxin Chen & Ganesh Iyer & V. Padmanabhan, 2002. "Referral Infomediaries," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 21(4), pages 412-434, May.
    5. Nirvikar Singh & Xavier Vives, 1984. "Price and Quantity Competition in a Differentiated Duopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 546-554, Winter.
    6. Nanda Kumar & Ranran Ruan, 2006. "On manufacturers complementing the traditional retail channel with a direct online channel," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 289-323, September.
    7. Bernstein, Fernando & Song, Jing-Sheng & Zheng, Xiaona, 2008. ""Bricks-and-mortar" vs. "clicks-and-mortar": An equilibrium analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 187(3), pages 671-690, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecolet:v:174:y:2019:i:c:p:136-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:transe:v:118:y:2018:i:c:p:272-290 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Matsui, Kenji, 2017. "When should a manufacturer set its direct price and wholesale price in dual-channel supply chains?," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(2), pages 501-511.
    4. Scott Neslin & Kinshuk Jerath & Anand Bodapati & Eric Bradlow & John Deighton & Sonja Gensler & Leonard Lee & Elisa Montaguti & Rahul Telang & Raj Venkatesan & Peter Verhoef & Z. Zhang, 2014. "The interrelationships between brand and channel choice," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 319-330, September.
    5. Noriaki Matsushima & Tomomichi Mizuno, 2018. "Supplier encroachment and retailer effort," ISER Discussion Paper 1027, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    6. Matsui, Kenji, 2016. "Asymmetric product distribution between symmetric manufacturers using dual-channel supply chains," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 248(2), pages 646-657.
    7. Chen, Jingxian & Liang, Liang & Yao, Dong-Qing & Sun, Shengnan, 2017. "Price and quality decisions in dual-channel supply chains," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 259(3), pages 935-948.


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