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Platform or Wholesale? Different Implications for Retailers of Online Product

Author

Listed:
  • Young Kwark

    () (Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida)

  • Jianqing Chen

    () (Jindal School of Management, The University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Srinivasan Raghunathan

    () (Jindal School of Management, The University of Texas at Dallas)

Abstract

Online retailing is dominated by a channel structure in which a retailer either buys products from competing manufacturers and resells to consumers (wholesale scheme) or lets manufacturers directly sell to consumers on its platform for a commission (platform scheme), and is characterized by easy access to product reviews to facilitate consumers' purchase decisions. We study how different types of information revealed by reviews affect the retailer under the wholesale scheme and platform scheme. We find that information provided by reviews on quality dimension homogenizes consumers' perceived utility differences between products and increases upstream competition, which benefits the retailer under the wholesale scheme but hurts the retailer under the platform scheme. Information provided by reviews on fit dimension heterogenizes consumers' estimated fits to products and softens upstream competition, which hurts the retailer under the wholesale scheme and benefits the retailer under the platform scheme. Together, we demonstrate that the quality information and fit information play very different roles in changing upstream competition, and whether the retailer benefits from reviews critically depends on its pricing scheme choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Young Kwark & Jianqing Chen & Srinivasan Raghunathan, 2013. "Platform or Wholesale? Different Implications for Retailers of Online Product," Working Papers 13-14, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1314
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online Product Reviews; Pricing Scheme; Competition;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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