Shopping Cost and Brand Exploration in Online Grocery
This paper explores differences in consumers' grocery shopping behavior when they shop online and in a brick-and-mortar store. To do so, I assemble a new scanner dataset that tracks customers' grocery purchases in-store and on the Internet. This allows comparison in behavior of the same households, shopping in the same chain, for identical items and for identical prices, eliminating many possible confounding factors. I focus on the breakfast cereals category, and start by documenting that brand exploration is systematically more prevalent in-store than online. I propose three possible explanations for this finding: (i) shocks to the instantaneous utility of time correlated with the decision to shop online (ii) features of the grocer's website; and (iii) difficulty in assessing quality of unknown items while shopping online. I then continue by developing and estimating a model of consumer behavior that allows me to quantify each effect. I find that all of these effects contribute to hamper trial of new brands online. The counterfactual shows that altering the design of the website to remove potential obstacles to new trials increases brand exploration by 23%. More generally, in contrast to the conventional wisdom of the Internet reducing entry barriers, my work points to features of the online environment that in certain contexts actually could make entry of new brands more difficult.
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.:
- Andrew Kato & Ginger Jin, 2004.
"Dividing online and offline: A case study,"
Natural Field Experiments
00276, The Field Experiments Website.
- Matthew Shum, 2004. "Does Advertising Overcome Brand Loyalty? Evidence from the Breakfast-Cereals Market," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 241-272, 06.
- J. Yannis Bakos, 1997. "Reducing Buyer Search Costs: Implications for Electronic Marketplaces," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(12), pages 1676-1692, December.
- Lesley Chiou, 2009. "Empirical Analysis of Competition between Wal-Mart and Other Retail Channels," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(2), pages 285-322, 06.
- Brown, Jeffrey, 2000.
"Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry,"
Working Paper Series
rwp00-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
- Jeffrey R. Brown & Austan Goolsbee, 2002. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 481-507, June.
- Austan Goolsbee, 2001.
"Competition in the Computer Industry: Online Versus Retail,"
in: E-commerce, pages 487-499
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Goolsbee, Austan, 2001. "Competition in the Computer Industry: Online versus Retail," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 487-99, December.
- Barry L. Bayus, 1992. "Brand Loyalty and Marketing Strategy: An Application to Home Appliances," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 11(1), pages 21-38.
- Train,Kenneth E., 2009.
"Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555, November.
- Burke, Raymond R, et al, 1992. " Comparing Dynamic Consumer Choice in Real and Computer-Simulated Environments," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 71-82, June.
- Scherer, F M, 1979. "The Welfare Economics of Product Variety: An Application to the Ready-to-Eat Cereals Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 113-34, December.
- repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:257-275 is not listed on IDEAS
- Il-Horn Hann & Christian Terwiesch, 2003. "Measuring the Frictional Costs of Online Transactions: The Case of a Name-Your-Own-Price Channel," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(11), pages 1563-1579, November.
- Aviv Nevo & Catherine Wolfram, 2002. "Why Do Manufacturers Issue Coupons? An Empirical Analysis of Breakfast Cereals," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(2), pages 319-339, Summer.
- Han Hong & Matthew Shum, 2006. "Using price distributions to estimate search costs," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(2), pages 257-275, 06.
- Gregory Lewis, 2011. "Asymmetric Information, Adverse Selection and Online Disclosure: The Case of eBay Motors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1535-46, June.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
- Shopping Cost and Brand Exploration in Online Grocery (AEJ:MI 2012) in ReplicationWiki
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0910. 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: (Nicholas Economides)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.