Distribution services

What Do My Channels Provide to My Customers? Omni-Channel Customers versus Mono-channel Customers and the Impact of Distribution Services

Consumers are increasingly combining distribution channels, both between purchases and when completing the same purchase in the so-called omni-channel behavior. In this work, we identify this omni-channel behavior among the customers of a global company in the fast fashion sector. Through a multinomial logit model, we perform customer segmentation based on their behavior. In this segmentation, we consider the explanatory role not only of the individuals’ characteristics but also of the distribution services and each channel’s policies. Thus, we observe how the product’s accessibility in the store, the store’s purchasing ambiance and web accessibility are key features of the channels that explain the customers’ omni-channel behavior.

Private Sales Clubs: A 21st Century Distribution Channel

Private sales clubs are a novel service institution arising out of the Internet's ability to allow an exclusively online channel to distribute out of season or out of fashion inventories to a large set of customers. They have become a thriving industry in the 21st century. In this paper we enhance understanding of this technology mediated institution as a distribution channel. Furthermore, we show how to measure the impact of the distribution services it provides through the Internet on customer satisfaction and of the latter on economic performance. We rely on the technique of quantile regressions in this endeavor. The latter allows for asymmetries in the response function that have been noted as a major issue to be addressed in the analysis of both customer satisfaction and economic performance variables. Our most important empirical finding is that the distortions introduced by ignoring asymmetries in the response function with respect to customer satisfaction are extremely misleading for managers of private sales clubs.

Channel Choice in the 21st Century: The Hidden Role of Distribution Services

A fundamental distinction between goods and services is that in the retailing of goods and some services the costs of production and distribution are clearly separable in a non-arbitrary fashion, usually identified as costs of goods sold. They have type I separability. Distribution services, which are also known as attributes, marketing mix or output variables, are produced, distributed and consumed just as goods or physical products or core services sold directly to consumers at an explicit price. When online settings generate separability of production distribution and consumption of all these distribution services in space and time we have strong type II separability, which has not been identified in the literature. The latter plays an essential role in the emergence, sustainability and sometimes dominance of online channels. It has profound implications for both the demand side and the supply side of firms in online channels. We develop implications of this result with respect to potential maximum levels of these services in electronic channels and for a broad range of other important topics relevant for marketing and economics.