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Shopping Cost and Brand Exploration in Online Grocery

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Abstract

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.

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  • Andrea Pozzi, 2009. "Shopping Cost and Brand Exploration in Online Grocery," Working Papers 09-10, NET Institute, revised Sep 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0910
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    1. 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, June.
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    8. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, Fall.
    9. 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, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Steel, Will & Daglish, Toby & Marriott, Lisa & Gemmell, Norman & Howell, Bronwyn, 2013. "E-Commerce and its effect upon the Retail Industry and Government Revenue," Working Paper Series 4333, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    2. Pozzi, Andrea, 2013. "E-commerce as a stockpiling technology: Implications for consumer savings," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 677-689.
    3. Andrea Pozzi, 2011. "Who Is Hurt by E-Commerce? Crowding out and Business Stealing in Online Grocery," EIEF Working Papers Series 1114, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Sep 2011.
    4. Naumovska, Ljupka & Blazeska, Daliborka, 2016. "Public Relation Based Model Of Integrated Marketing Communications," UTMS Journal of Economics, University of Tourism and Management, Skopje, Macedonia, vol. 7(2), pages 175-186.
    5. Xu, Yan, 2017. "Essays on preference formation and home production," Other publications TiSEM b028fd7e-53ba-4ff6-97eb-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. Ribeiro, Ricardo, 2010. "Consumer demand for variety: intertemporal effects of consumption, product switching and pricing policies," MPRA Paper 25812, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:eee:joinma:v:31:y:2015:i:c:p:63-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:jouret:v:91:y:2015:i:2:p:217-234 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    retail; e-commerce; panel data; entry barriers;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics

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