Product Assortment and Price Competition Under Multinomial Logit Demand
36 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 2014
The role of assortment planning and pricing in shaping sales and profits of retailers is well documented and studied in monopolistic settings. However, such a role remains relatively unexplored in competitive environments. In this paper, we study equilibrium behavior of competing retailers in two settings: i.) when prices are exogenously fixed, and retailers compete in assortments only; and ii.) when retailers compete jointly in assortment and prices. For this, we model consumer choice using a multinomial Logit, and assume that each retailer selects products from a predefined set, and faces a display constraint. We show that when the sets of products available to retailers do not overlap, there always exists one equilibrium that pareto-dominates all others, and that such an outcome can be reached through an iterative process of best responses. A direct corollary of our results is that competition leads a firm to offer a broader set of products compared to when it is operating as a monopolist, and to broader offerings in the market compared to a centralized planner. When some products are available to all retailers, i.e., assortments might overlap, we show that display constraints drive equilibrium existence properties.
Keywords: assortment planning, competition, choice models, multinomial Logit, pricing
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