Low-Price Guarantees in a Dual-Channel of Distribution

76 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2020

See all articles by Juncai Jiang

Juncai Jiang

University of Central Florida

Chuan He

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business

Date Written: July 14, 2020


Manufacturers routinely rely on retailers to reach potential customers. Concurrently, they often offer low-price guarantees (LPGs) to customers who purchase through their direct channel. That is, should consumers find a lower price from distribution partners, manufacturers promise to match or even beat the lower price. Many manufacturers, such as Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Goodyear, use price-matching guarantees (PMGs) against retailers. In the online travel industry, price-beating guarantees (PBGs) are prevalent among travel suppliers. In this paper, we develop a game-theoretic model to investigate the manufacturer's optimal choice of LPG policies and its implications for the manufacturer, retailer, and channel. Our analysis demonstrates that no LPG, PMG, and PBG can each emerge in equilibrium depending on consumer characteristics. While LPGs can improve channel profit, they may benefit the manufacturer at the expense of the retailer. As such, LPGs can intensify vertical channel conflict. However, both horizontal channel conflict and vertical channel conflict are present in dual channels. LPGs are not merely price discrimination device, they mitigate horizontal channel conflict. The benefit of LPGs in reducing horizontal channel conflict outweighs the loss from intensified vertical channel conflict under a wide range of conditions. Therefore, LPGs serve as channel coordination devices.

Keywords: Low-Price Guarantee, Price-Matching Guarantee, Price-Beating Guarantee, Dual Marketing Channels, Horizontal Channel Conflict, Game Theory

Suggested Citation

Jiang, Juncai and He, Chuan, Low-Price Guarantees in a Dual-Channel of Distribution (July 14, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3651349 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3651349

Juncai Jiang

University of Central Florida ( email )

P O Box 160000
Orlando, FL FL 32816
United States

Chuan He (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business ( email )

Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States

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