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Brand and Price Advertising in Online Markets

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  • Baye, Michael
  • Morgan, John

Abstract

We model a homogeneous product environment where identical e-retailers endogenously engage in both brand advertising (to create loyal customers) and price advertising (to attract "shoppers"). Our analysis allows for "cross-channel" effects; indeed, we show that price advertising is a substitute for brand advertising. In contrast to models where loyalty is exogenous, these cross-channel effects lead to a continuum of symmetric equilibria; however, the set of equilibria converges to a unique equilibrium as the number of potential e-retailers grows arbitrarily large. Price dispersion is a key feature of all of these equilibria, including the limit equilibrium. While each firm finds it optimal to advertise its brand in an attempt to "grow" its base of loyal customers, in equilibrium, branding (1) reduces firm profits, (2) increases prices paid by loyals and shoppers, and (3) adversely affects gatekeepers operating price comparison sites. Branding also tightens the range of prices and reduces the value of the price information provided by a comparison site. Using data from a price comparison site, we test several predictions of the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Baye, Michael & Morgan, John, 2004. "Brand and Price Advertising in Online Markets," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9760k3hz, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:compol:qt9760k3hz
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    2. Yonghong An & Michael R. Baye & Yingyao Hu & John Morgan & Matt Shum, 2010. "Horizontal Mergers of Online Firms: Structural Estimation and Competitive Effects," Economics Working Paper Archive 564, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    3. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Oleksandr Talavera, 2017. "Price Setting in Online Markets: Basic Facts, International Comparisons, and Cross-Border Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(1), pages 249-282, January.
    4. Stühmeier Torben, 2015. "Price Disclosure Rules and Consumer Price Comparison," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 815-835, April.
    5. Yang, Yupin & Lu, Qiang (Steven) & Tang, Guanting & Pei, Jian, 2015. "The Impact of Market Competition on Search Advertising," Journal of Interactive Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 46-55.
    6. Chioveanu, Ioana, 2008. "Advertising, brand loyalty and pricing," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 68-80, September.
    7. Kai A.Konrad, 2010. "Merger Profitability in Industries with Brand Portfolios and Loyal Customers," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 26, pages 5-26.
    8. Florian Morath & Johannes Münster, 2018. "Online Shopping and Platform Design with Ex Ante Registration Requirements," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(1), pages 360-380, January.
    9. Moraga-Gonzalez, Jose L. & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2011. "Comparison sites," IESE Research Papers D/933, IESE Business School.
      • Jose Luis Moraga-Gonzalez & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2011. "Comparison Sites," Working Papers 2011-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    10. Michael R. Baye & Babur De los Santos & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2016. "Search Engine Optimization: What Drives Organic Traffic to Retail Sites?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 6-31, March.
    11. Yonghong An & Michael R. Baye & Yingyao Hu & John Morgan & Matt Shum, 2017. "Identification and Estimation of Online Price Competition With an Unknown Number of Firms," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(1), pages 80-102, January.
    12. Häring, Julia, 2005. "The Virtual Location of E-Tailers: Evidence from a B2C E-Commerce Market," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-52, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    13. Assarzadegan, Parisa & Hejazi, Seyed Reza, 2021. "A game theoretic approach for analyzing the competition between national and store brands by considering store loyalty," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    14. Charlson, G., 2020. "Searching for Results: Optimal Platform Design in a Network Setting," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 20118, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    15. Balachander Subramanian & Kannan Karthik & Schwartz David G, 2009. "A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Alternate Auction Policies for Search Advertisements," Review of Marketing Science, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-51, December.
    16. De los Santos, Babur, 2018. "Consumer search on the Internet," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 66-105.
    17. Onesun Steve Yoo & Rakesh Sarin, 2018. "Consumer Choice and Market Outcomes Under Ambiguity in Product Quality," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(3), pages 445-468, May.
    18. Baye, Michael R. & De los Santos, Babur & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2016. "What’s in a name? Measuring prominence and its impact on organic traffic from search engines," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 44-57.
    19. Lindgren, Charlie & Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Rudholm, Niklas, 2021. "Pricing In Retail Markets With Low Search Costs: Evidence From A Price Comparison Website," HFI Working Papers 18, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).
    20. Simon P. Anderson & André De Palma, 2009. "Information congestion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 688-709, December.
    21. Martin Natter & Ana-Marija Ozimec & Ju-Young Kim, 2015. "Practice Prize Winner—ECO: Entega’s Profitable New Customer Acquisition on Online Price Comparison Sites," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(6), pages 789-803, November.
    22. Shahryar Gheibi, 2020. "Low-Cost-Driven Leadership: A Theory for Price Dispersion in Competitive Markets," International Journal of Business and Economics, School of Management Development, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 19(1), pages 61-76, June.
    23. Yi Song & Bin Hu & Zhihan Lv, 2018. "A computational analysis of capital chain rupture in e-commerce enterprise," Electronic Commerce Research, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 257-276, June.
    24. David Ronayne, 2021. "Price Comparison Websites," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(3), pages 1081-1110, August.
    25. Mathur, Sameer & Sinitsyn, Maxim, 2013. "Price promotions in emerging markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 404-416.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price dispersion;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • M3 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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