This paper studies the pricing of delivery services and its impact on the market structure in the-commerce sector. We focus on one of the ongoing trends, namely the development of marketplaces. A retailer may not just sell its own products; but also provide a marketplace for other sellers, offering a variety of services including delivery. Marketplaces create a "secondary" market which undermines the delivery operator's abilityto differentiate prices. We study the subgame perfect equilibrium of a sequential game with two operators where retailer 0 may potentially develop a marketplace. The delivery operator and retailer 0 bargain over the delivery rate. Then, retailer 0 chooses the per-unit rate and the fixed fee at which it is willing to sell its delivery service to the other retailer. Finally, retailer 1 chooses its delivery option: either it directly patronizes the independent delivery operator, or it uses the services o¤ered by the marketplace, and the corresponding subgame is played. Analytical results are completed by numerical simulations and lead to three main lessons. First the equilibrium nearly always implies a discount to the "leading" retailer, even when the profit maximizing operator has all the bargaining power. Second, the delivery operator cannot avoid the emergence of a marketplace even though this decreases its profits. Third, the market power of the delivery operator cannot be assessed solely by considering its market share.
E-commerce; parcel delivery; marketplace; pricing and market structure; price discrimination;
- L1: Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
- L5: Regulation and Industrial Policy
- L81: Retail and Wholesale Trade • e-Commerce
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