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Exploding Offers and Buy-Now Discounts

Author

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  • Mark Armstrong
  • Jidong Zhou

Abstract

A common sales tactic is for a seller to encourage a potential customer to make her purchase decision quickly, before she can investigate rival deals in the market. We consider a market with sequential consumer search in which firms can achieve this either by making an exploding offer (which permits no return once the consumer leaves) or by offering a buy-now discount (which makes the price paid for immediate purchase lower than the regular price). We show that firms often have an incentive to use these sales techniques, regardless of their ability to commit to their selling policy. We examine the impact of these sales techniques on market performance. Inducing consumers to buy quickly not only reduces the quality of the match between consumers and products, but may also raise market prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Armstrong & Jidong Zhou, 2011. "Exploding Offers and Buy-Now Discounts," Economics Series Working Papers 575, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:575
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/5402/paper575.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Armstrong, Mark & Zhou, Jidong, 2010. "Conditioning prices on search behaviour," MPRA Paper 19985, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth, 2004. "Market Culture: How Norms Governing Exploding Offers Affect Market Performance," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000018, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Philippe Choné & Romain De Nijs & Lionel Wilner, 2012. "Intertemporal Pricing with Unobserved Consumer Arrival Times," Working Papers 2012-23, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    2. Armstrong, Mark & Zhou, Jidong, 2010. "Exploding offers and buy-now discounts," MPRA Paper 22531, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Maarten Janssen & Alexei Parakhonyak, 2014. "Consumer search markets with costly revisits," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(2), pages 481-514, February.
    4. Fernando Branco & Monic Sun & J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 2012. "Optimal Search for Product Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(11), pages 2037-2056, November.
    5. Zhou, Jidong, 2011. "Multiproduct search," MPRA Paper 37139, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Robert Sugden & Mengjie Wang & Daniel John Zizzo, 2015. "Take it or leave it: Experimental evidence on the effect of time-limited offers on consumer behaviour," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 15-19, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    7. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2012. "Price Negotiation in Differentiated Products Markets: Evidence from the Canadian Mortgage Market," Staff Working Papers 12-30, Bank of Canada.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumer search; Oligopoly; Price discrimination; High-pressure selling; Exploding offers; Buy-now discounts; Costly recall;

    JEL classification:

    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets

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