IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/qmktec/v18y2020i3d10.1007_s11129-020-09225-8.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Can free-shipping hurt online retailers?

Author

Listed:
  • Ricard Gil

    () (Smith School of Business at Queen’s University)

  • Evsen Korkmaz

    (Data Scientist at Unilever)

  • Ozge Sahin

    () (Johns Hopkins Carey Business School)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate optimal pricing strategies for an online grocery retailer that derives its profits from delivery fees and grocery sales. We base our theoretical framework on the well-established work of Schmalensee (Bell Journal of Economics12(2), 445–466, 1981) in two-part pricing, while allowing for repeat purchase occasions. We derive testable implications that we take to data using a unique dataset detailing transaction information from an online grocery retailer in a Western European country. We find that an increase in the number of deliveries is associated with a greater-than-proportional increase in grocery sales, implying that preferences for deliveries and groceries are negatively correlated. Therefore, counter to the current popularity of free shipping, the observed strategy of discounting groceries and charging high delivery fees appears to be optimal in our empirical setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricard Gil & Evsen Korkmaz & Ozge Sahin, 2020. "Can free-shipping hurt online retailers?," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 305-342, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:qmktec:v:18:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s11129-020-09225-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11129-020-09225-8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11129-020-09225-8
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barry C. Smith & Dirk P. Günther & B. Venkateshwara Rao & Richard M. Ratlife, 2001. "E-Commerce and Operations Research in Airline Planning, Marketing, and Distribution," Interfaces, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 37-55, April.
    2. Eugenio J. Miravete & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2004. "Estimating Price-Cost Markups Under Nonlinear Pricing Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 526-535, 04/05.
    3. Richard Schmalensee, 1981. "Monopolistic Two-Part Pricing Arrangements," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 445-466, Autumn.
    4. Daniel R. Marburger, 1997. "Optimal ticket pricing for performance goods," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 375-381.
    5. Pradeep K. Chintagunta & Junhong Chu & Javier Cebollada, 2012. "Quantifying Transaction Costs in Online/Off-line Grocery Channel Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(1), pages 96-114, January.
    6. Ricard Gil & Wesley R. Hartmann, 2009. "Empirical Analysis of Metering Price Discrimination: Evidence from Concession Sales at Movie Theaters," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1046-1062, 11-12.
    7. Walter Y. Oi, 1971. "A Disneyland Dilemma: Two-Part Tariffs for a Mickey Mouse Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(1), pages 77-96.
    8. Yew-Kwang Ng & Mendel Weisser, 1974. "Optimal Pricing with a Budget Constraint—The Case of the Two-part Tariff," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 337-345.
    9. Cynthia Barnhart & Peter Belobaba & Amedeo R. Odoni, 2003. "Applications of Operations Research in the Air Transport Industry," Transportation Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(4), pages 368-391, November.
    10. Eric T. Anderson & Duncan I. Simester, 2010. "Price Stickiness and Customer Antagonism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 729-765.
    11. Owen R. Phillips & Raymond C. Battalio, 1983. "Two-Part Tariffs and Monopoly Profits When Visits Are Variable," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 601-604, Autumn.
    12. Michael Lewis & Vishal Singh & Scott Fay, 2006. "An Empirical Study of the Impact of Nonlinear Shipping and Handling Fees on Purchase Incidence and Expenditure Decisions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(1), pages 51-64, 01-02.
    13. Raghuram Iyengar & Kamel Jedidi & Skander Essegaier & Peter J. Danaher, 2011. "The Impact of Tariff Structure on Customer Retention, Usage, and Profitability of Access Services," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(5), pages 820-836, September.
    14. Ricard Gil & Wesley Hartmann, 2007. "The Role and Determinants of Concession Sales in Movie Theaters: Evidence from the Spanish Exhibition Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 30(4), pages 325-347, June.
    15. Rodney Fort, 2004. "Inelastic sports pricing," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 87-94.
    16. Baier, Daniel & Stüber, Eva, 2010. "Acceptance of recommendations to buy in online retailing," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 173-180.
    17. Rajiv Lal & David Bell, 2003. "The Impact of Frequent Shopper Programs in Grocery Retailing," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 179-202, June.
    18. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ricard Gil & Evsen Korkmaz & Ozge Sahin, 0. "Can free-shipping hurt online retailers?," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-38.
    2. Ricard Gil & Evsen Korkmaz & Ozge Sahin, 2014. "Optimal Pricing of Access and Secondary Goods with Repeat Purchases: Evidence from Online Grocery Shopping and Delivery Fees," Working Papers 14-10, NET Institute.
    3. Ahmadi, Iman & Skiera, Bernd & Lambrecht, Anja & Heubrandner, Florian, 2017. "Time preferences and the pricing of complementary durables and consumables," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 813-828.
    4. Yin, Xiangkang, 2004. "Two-part tariff competition in duopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 799-820, June.
    5. Ricard Gil & Wesley R. Hartmann, 2009. "Empirical Analysis of Metering Price Discrimination: Evidence from Concession Sales at Movie Theaters," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1046-1062, 11-12.
    6. Sara Hsu & David Kiefer, 2005. "Perfect Price Discrimination is not So Perfect," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2005_04, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
    7. Oliver, Matthew E., 2019. "Pricing flexibility under rate-of-return regulation: Effects on network infrastructure investment," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 150-161.
    8. Srzich, Antony, 2000. "The Effect of Income on Optimal Two Part Tariffs," Working Paper Series 3909, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    9. Wesley R. Hartmann & Harikesh S. Nair, 2010. "Retail Competition and the Dynamics of Demand for Tied Goods," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 366-386, 03-04.
    10. Mark L. Burkey & Alexandra Kurepa, 2016. "Spatial Nonlinear Pricing with Per-Trip versus Per-Unit Transportation Costs," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 46(3), pages 237-255, Winter.
    11. Sofia Berto Villas-Boas, 2007. "Vertical Relationships between Manufacturers and Retailers: Inference with Limited Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 625-652.
    12. A. Yeşim Orhun & Sriram Venkataraman & Pradeep K. Chintagunta, 2016. "Impact of Competition on Product Decisions: Movie Choices of Exhibitors," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(1), pages 73-92, January.
    13. Wang, Judith Y.T. & Lindsey, Robin & Yang, Hai, 2011. "Nonlinear pricing on private roads with congestion and toll collection costs," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 9-40, January.
    14. Eugenio J. Miravete, 2004. "The Doubtful Profitability of Foggy Pricing," Working Papers 04-07, NET Institute.
    15. Shastitko, A., 2012. "Competition on Aftermarkets: the Subject Matter and Policy Applications," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 104-126.
    16. Burkey, Mark L., 2010. "Geographic Access and Demand in the Market for Alcohol," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 40(2), pages 159-179.
    17. Ruxian Wang & Maqbool Dada & Ozge Sahin, 2019. "Pricing Ancillary Service Subscriptions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(10), pages 4712-4732, October.
    18. Ricard Gil & Wesley Hartmann, 2007. "The Role and Determinants of Concession Sales in Movie Theaters: Evidence from the Spanish Exhibition Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 30(4), pages 325-347, June.
    19. Schmalensee, Richard, 2015. "Pricing the razor: A note on two-part tariffs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 19-22.
    20. Dong C. Won & Young H. Lee, 2008. "Optimal dynamic pricing for sports games with habitual attendance," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(8), pages 639-655.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Metering; Price discrimination; Online grocery sales;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • M20 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:qmktec:v:18:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s11129-020-09225-8. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.