This paper aims to study a dominant e-retailer operating its own e-marketplace (B2C) to host peer competitor as well as acting as a traditional retailer (“dual-format” retailing as in Mantin and Krishnan 2014). The dominant retailer offers a two-part tariff charging scheme to a third-party seller. The seller decides whether to join the e-marketplace. The present paper is interested in addressing the following questions: What is the pricing equilibrium before/after the formation of the e-marketplace? What will be the “optimal” charging scheme? What is the impact on the e-marketplace operator if the third-party seller has the option to become “featured”.
This paper adopts a stylized model to capture the competition between the two retailers and applies game theory to solve the pricing equilibrium. The authors model the dual-format retailing in a two-stage decision: Stage 1, the e-marketplace operator offers a two-part tariff; Stage 2, if the other retailer is participating, they engage in a pricing competition. They assume that the e-marketplace operator is a profit maximizer by choosing its charging scheme subject to the condition that the participating retailer is no worse off.
The authors find that the e-retailer and the third-party seller in the e-marketplace are not always hurt by intensified price competition. They identify conditions under which higher expected prices are charged as a result of agglomeration effect. The authors’ model also provides theoretical evidence on this popular charging scheme, and shows the feasible region in which the e-marketplace operator could allocate the surplus resulted from the formation of the e-marketplace between itself and the participating retailer. Finally, the authors demonstrate that if the third-party seller has the option to become a “featured” retailer (He and Chen, 2006), it can be detrimental to the e-marketplace operator.
This work is different in three ways: First, the authors model an e-marketplace adopting a “dual-format” retailing, facing the trade-off between its direct retailing revenue and the rents collected from the member store, while the literature mainly focuses on e-marketplaces playing the intermediary role. Second, they explicitly model the “market expansion effect” caused by the agglomeration after the formation of the e-marketplace. The present study complements this stream of research by investigating and providing theoretical evidence on the charging scheme popularly adopted by the e-marketplaces and proposes ways to share the surplus to the participating store.
Su, P., Liu, S. and Lin, J. (2017), "Agglomeration effect and the “dual-format” e-marketplace pricing scheme", Journal of Modelling in Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 19-35. https://doi.org/10.1108/JM2-06-2016-0048Download as .RIS
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