Strategic Waiting for Consumer-Generated Quality Information: Dynamic Pricing of New Experience Goods
43 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013
Date Written: September 1, 2013
In this paper, we study the impact of consumer-generated quality information (e.g., consumer reviews) on a firm's dynamic pricing strategy in presence of strategic consumers. Such information is useful, not only to the consumers that have not yet purchased the product, but also to the firm. The informativeness of the consumer-generated quality information depends, however, on the volume of consumers who share their opinions and, thus, depends on the initial sales volume. Hence, via its initial price, the firm not only influences its revenue but also controls the quality information flow over time. The firm may either enhance or dampen the quality information flow via increasing or decreasing initial sales. The corresponding pricing strategy to steer the quality information flow is not always intuitive. Compared to the case without consumer-generated quality information, the firm may reduce the initial sales and lower the initial price. Interestingly, the firm may get strictly worse off due to the consumer-generated quality information. Even when the firm benefits from consumer-generated quality information, it may prefer less accurate information. Finally, consumer surplus can also decrease due to the consumer-generated quality information, contrary to the conventional wisdom that word-of-mouth should help consumers.
Keywords: Strategic consumer behavior, price skimming, two-sided learning
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