Journal Articles

Boiling Frogs: Pricing Strategies for a Manufacturer Adding a Direct Channel that Competes with the Traditional Channel

2006, Production and Operations Management

Kyle Cattani, Wendell Gilland, H. Sebastian Heese, J. M. Swaminathan

Abstract

We analyze a scenario where a manufacturer with a traditional channel partner opens up a direct channel in competition with the traditional channel. We first consider that in order to mitigate channel conflict the manufacturer, who chooses wholesale prices as a Stackelberg leader, commits to setting a direct channel retail price that matches the retailer's price in the traditional channel. We find that the specific equal-pricing strategy that optimizes profits for the manufacturer is also preferred by the retailer and customers over other equal-pricing strategies. We next consider the implications of the equal-pricing constraint through a numerical experiment that indicates that the equal-pricing strategy is appropriate as long as the Internet channel is significantly less convenient than the traditional channel. If the Internet channel is of comparable convenience to the traditional channel, then the manufacturer has tremendous incentive to abandon the equal-pricing policy, at great peril to the traditional retailer.

Citation

Cattani, K., W. Gilland, H. S. Heese, and J. M. Swaminathan (2006), “Boiling Frogs: Pricing Strategies for a Manufacturer Adding a Direct Channel that Competes with the Traditional Channel,” Production and Operations Management, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 40-56. 

Kelley School of Business

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