A Hybrid Firm’s Pricing Strategy in Electronic Commerce Under Channel Migration

Robert J. Kauffman, Dongwon Lee, Jung Lee, and Byungjoon Yoo
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 14, Number 1, Fall 2009, pp. 11.

Abstract: Achieving an effective business design across the Internet and the off-line channel is a critical concern for a hybrid firm’s choice of pricing strategy. Two pricing models are proposed to examine how consumer channel migration (one-way channel interaction from the traditional sales channel to the Internet) affects pricing strategy. One model has no interaction between the Internet and off-line channels. The other includes the possibility of one-way migration to the Internet channel and incorporates consumers’ channel-switching costs and loyalty to the firm. The two models offer interesting results for understanding traditional and Internet-based selling. A high level of channel migration leads a firm to manage the two channels as one. With low channel migration, in contrast, the firm should optimize and manage each channel separately. The models had two main findings: (1) the level of channel migration determines a hybrid firm’s pricing strategy; (2) a hybrid firm’s price-level choice should be determined by the on-line demand proportion of its business. The modeling results were validated with empirical analysis for 10 large South Korean e-commerce firms by comparing prices in different product categories for various types of hybrid firms and Internet-only firms. This research offers new marketing strategy insights for managers of hybrid firms who wish to optimize price-setting decisions based on interactions between distribution channels and the intensity of the firm’s involvement in the on-line channel.

Key Words and Phrases: Business policy, channel migration, channel-switching costs, e commerce, empirical research, hybrid firm, loyalty, marketing, on-line channel, pricing models, pricing strategy.