Production and Operations Management

When Does a Retailer's Advance Selling Capability Benefit Manufacturer, Retailer, or Both?

Journal Article

Advance selling (AS) from a retailer to consumers is commonly observed in practice. With an AS capability, a retailer has the option to sell in advance or not. Having the AS option seems to increase flexibility and thus profit for a retailer. However, we show that the AS option can hurt the retailer's profit as well as supply chain performance. We identify two thresholds for a product's marginal production cost. A retailer's AS option benefits both the manufacturer and retailer when the marginal production cost is high, that is, above both thresholds. It benefits the manufacturer but hurts the retailer when the marginal production cost is moderate, that is, between the two thresholds. The result is ambiguous when the marginal production cost is low, that is, below both thresholds. We find that consumer valuation uncertainty under AS is the key driving force for the surprising result that having the retailer's AS option can hurt the retailer. When compared to the scenario where the retailer does not have the AS option, we find that the manufacturer's optimal wholesale price weakly decreases under the retailer's AS option if the marginal production cost is high. The statement is reversed if the marginal production cost is moderate or low.

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