Consumer Behavior and Firm Competition
Understanding consumer behavior is critical for firms' decision making. How consumers make decisions about what they want and buy directly affect the profits of firms. Therefore, it is important to consider consumer behaviors and incorporate them into the model when studying the optimal strategy of firms and competition between firms. In this dissertation, I study rich and interesting consumer behaviors and their impact on firms' strategy in two essays. The first essay considers consumers' shopping cost which leads to their preference for one-stop shopping. I examine how store visit costs and consumer knowledge about a product affect the strategic store choice of consumers and, in turn, the pricing, customer service and advertising decisions of competing retailers. My analysis offers insights on how specialty stores can compete with big-box retailers. In the second essay, I focus on a well-established psychology phenomenon, cognitive dissonance. I incorporate the idea of cognitive dissonance into a model of spatial competition and examine its implications for selling strategy. I provide new insight on the profitability of advance selling and spot selling as well as the pricing of bundle and its components. Collectively, two essays in this dissertation introduce novel ways to model consumer behaviors and help to understand the impact of consumer behaviors on firm profitability and strategy.
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