Title

Who Wins When Price Information is More Ubiquitous? An Experiment To Assess How Infomediaries Influence Price

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2009

Publication Source

Electronic Markets

Abstract

Internet retailers often make use of price search services (infomediaries) that have the effect of reducing consumer search and expanding seller market presence. Research on price and advertising suggests that this may not be a profitable strategy. We develop an experimental posted-offer market to estimate the impact of infomediaries on price of homogenous goods. We analyze panel data from a range of market conditions that address how infomediaries services affect both seller-level offered price as well as market-level transacted price. We find that, while sellers attempt to extract higher prices through a higher initial offer price when using an infomediary, they fail to successfully collect it; transacted prices remain largely unchanged. As a consequence the benefits of infomediaries fall primarily to the buyer who faces largely unchanged transacted prices, and substantially reduced search costs. Search costs are, in essence shifted to the seller. Sellers who participate in this sort of price comparison should be aware that they are following a high-volume/low profit per unit strategy.

Inclusive pages

151-162

ISBN/ISSN

1019-6781

Comments

Permission documentation is on file.

Publisher

Springer

Volume

19

Issue

2

Peer Reviewed

yes