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Selected recent publications in the top management and economics journals

A Model of Brand Architecture Choice: A House of Brands vs. A Branded House

( Yu, Jungju )



Some firms that operate in multiple product markets use the same brand in different markets, whereas others use different brands in different markets. This research investigates in which product markets a firm should use the same or different brands and how this decision depends on the relatedness of product markets. To answer this question, I propose a framework of market relatedness that characterizes the relationships among distinct product markets from the supply side (e.g., shared production technology) and demand side (e.g., correlated customer preferences). This framework is applied to a model of reputation in which a multiproduct firm's product quality is jointly determined by its hidden capability type (i.e., adverse selection) and hidden choice of effort level (i.e., moral hazard) in each product market. Consumers obtain noisy information about the firm by observing its track record, that is, product quality produced in the past. Umbrella branding allows consumers to pool the firm's track record across different product markets and form expectations about the product quality based on market relatedness. The analysis shows that umbrella branding is optimal if supply-side relatedness is high and demand-side relatedness is not too high. However, if the product markets are closely related in both dimensions, then independent branding may be optimal because, as an umbrella brand, the firm faces a temptation to exploit positive information spillover across product markets through its shared brand name. By using different brand names, a firm can credibly commit to investing in all product markets and thereby earn higher profits. Finally, this paper provides implications for an umbrella brand's customer relationship management strategy whether to serve the same or distinct customer segments with its products.

How Does the Mobile Channel Reshape the Sales Distribution in E-Commerce?

( Park, Yongjin | Bang, Youngsok | Ahn, Jae-Hyeon )



Despite the prolitcratiun of studies on sales distributions in e-commerce, little is known about how such a distribution in online markets is affected by the presence of mobile channels, which have become a significant conduit for e-commerce. Using a large transaction data set from a leading e-marketplace in South Korea, this study empirically investigates (1) how the sales distribution in the mobile commerce channel is different from the sales distribution in the traditional personal computer (PC) channel and (2) how mobile commerce channel adoption (as a search and purchase channel) affects e-market users' search intensity and their aggregate sales distribution. Our analysis in comparing the sales distributions between the PC and mobile channels shows that transactions in the mobile channel are more concentrated on "head" products compared with PC channel sales. The subsequent user-level analysis, based on a difference-in-differences approach, reveals that mobile channel adopters search more but are less (more) likely to choose "tail" (head) products. This finding is contrary to our previous belief that more search activities lead to more tail product sales. The relationship between search intensity and head (tail) product sales, however, largely depends on the product categories. In the case of preference goods such as books, CDs, toys, and fashion items, adoption increased e-market users' search activities and resulted in more tail product sales. For quality goods such as PCs, phones, cameras, and digital appliances, however, adoption intensified the search activities but resulted in more head product sales. Finally, for convenience goods such as home supplies and processed foods, adoption discouraged search activities and decreased the choice of tail products. We discuss the theoretical implications of our findings.

Information Externalities and Voluntary Disclosure: Evidence from a Major Customer's Earnings Announcement

( Cho, Young Jun | Kim, Yongtae | Zang, Yoonseok )



We examine the relation between information externalities along the supply chain and voluntary disclosure. Information transfers from a major customer's earnings announcement (EA) can substitute for its supplier's disclosure. Conversely, if the customer's EA increases uncertainties regarding the supplier's future prospects, it can increase the demand for disclosure. After controlling for information incorporated in supplier returns, we find that the supplier is more likely to issue earnings guidance after the customer's EA when the EA news deviates more from the market's expectation. The positive effect of the customer's news on earnings guidance is weaker when common investors, supply-chain analysts, or a common industry allow investors to better understand the value implications of the news, while the effect increases with the importance of the customer to the supplier. The effect is also stronger when EA news is negative rather than positive. Collectively, the results suggest that supply-chain relationships influence voluntary disclosure.

When Loyalty Goes Mobile: Effects of Mobile Loyalty Apps on Purchase, Redemption, and Competition

( Son, Yoonseock | Oh, Wonseok | Han, Sang Pil | Park, Sungho )



Avenues for the delivery of loyalty programs have rapidly shifted from plastic card schemes to mobile app-based initiatives, yet our understanding of the economic value presented by the latter (i.e., loyalty apps) has not kept pace with this development. We examine the effects of loyalty app adoption on customers' offline purchase patterns, reward redemption, and deal-prone behaviors as well as store-level competition in a multivendor loyalty program (MVLP) context, where multiple offline brands collaborate in the operation of point-sharing initiatives. Mobile-driven loyalty apps substantially lower consumer search costs, thereby enhancing on-demand information accessibility and facilitating the monitoring of reward points. Based on a unique data set that comprises information on customers' loyalty app adoption status, loyalty point redemption patterns, and purchase behaviors in MVLP environments, we investigate how the transition from plastic-based programs to loyalty apps influences the out-of-pocket spending and point redemption patterns of consumers. Our findings reveal that the adoption of loyalty apps is associated with an increase in purchases and the predilection for point redemption. Despite these positive outcomes, however, potential adverse consequences may arise in the form of deal-susceptible behaviors and reduced store-specific loyalty. Loyalty app adopters tend to be more vulnerable to deals, with these customers selectively buying highly discounted products of low margin. Additionally, loyalty app consumers visit more stores but spend less in a focal store, thereby diminishing loyalty to this specific store. These results have managerial implications on optimal mobile-based loyalty program designs and implementation, reward-driven platform strategies, and risk management initiatives in an MVLP setting.

Different but Equal? A Field Experiment on the Impact of Recommendation Systems on Mobile and Personal Computer Channels in Retail

( Lee, Dongwon | Gopal, Anandasivam | Park, Sung-Hyuk )



The benefits of recommendation systems in online retail contexts have received much attention in prior work. Much of this work has been conducted in personal computer (PC)-based settings, although mobile devices are becoming increasingly central to the online shopping experience. It remains to be examined if the effects of recommendation systems in retail differ across these two channels, in terms of customer-level decision outcomes. In this paper, we examine these differences in some detail, studying how product views and sales attributed to a recommendation system are different across mobile and PC-based channels. Further, we examine how the effect of a recommendation system across channels influences sales diversity, an important outcome in the retail industry. We conduct our analysis using a randomized field experiment, conducted in partnership with an online retailing firm in South Korea, where the experimental treatment is access to a recommendation system. Our results show that the use of recommendation systems enhances customer-level outcomes, such as views and sales of recommended products, clickthrough rate, and conversion. More importantly, the marginal impacts of the recommendation system are significantly higher for mobile users, indicating that the higher search costs imposed through mobile devices are more effectively reduced through recommendation systems. With respect to sales diversity, we observe that although the mobile channel leads to more diverse sales, we see no interaction effects of the recommendation system and mobile use on sales diversity. These results provide boundary conditions for the efficacy of recommendation systems in retail contexts where online sales occur across both PC-based and mobile channels. We discuss the managerial implications of these results for online retailers and conclude with opportunities for further research.

Contact : Joo, Sunhee ( shjoo2006@kaist.ac.kr )

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