Free access to Naval Research Logistics paper


  • Date: 12 August 2019

Each week, we select a recently published article and offer either free access or highlight a recent open access publication. This week's paper is from Naval Research Logistics and is available to read at the link below:

How to deal with consumers who group to request a discount?

Qijun Qiu and  Li Jiang

Naval Research Logistics, Volume 66, Issue 6, pp 469-484

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We investigate operations impacts of consumer‐initiated group buying (CGB), whereby consumers voluntarily form buying groups to negotiate bulk deals with retailers. This differs from regular purchasing whereby consumers visit retailers individually and pay posted prices. Upon the visit by group consumers, a retailer decides to forgo or satisfy their demand in its entirety. Turned down by a retailer, group consumers continue to visit other retailers. In the case where their group effort fails to conclude a deal, some group consumers switch to individual purchasing provided they receive a non‐negative utility by doing so. Even after a successful group event, the group consumers who forgo the event out of utility concern may switch to individual purchasing as well. Retailer competition, group size, and the chance that group consumers switch to individual purchasing upon unsatisfaction are crucial to how retailers adjust operations to deal with CGB. With retailer competition, the rise of CGB results in every consumer paying the same reduced price when group size is small but makes group consumers pay more than by purchasing individually when group size is large. This has mixed consequences on the profits for retailers in both absolute and relative terms.

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