Competitive strategies and market segmentation for suppliers with substitutable products
This research studies the competition between two coexisting suppliers in a two-echelon supply chain. The suppliers have different inventory cost structures (holding cost and setup cost). Each supplier offers one type of the two substitutable products to multiple buyers. Buyers’ preferences between the substitutable products differ. Each buyer has a particular order profile (order frequency and quantity). A buyer chooses between the suppliers based on the prices offered by both suppliers and his/her own preference. A Hotelling-type model is used to describe buyers’ preferences for the products. We are able to describe the conditions for buyers to switch between the suppliers, and therefore spot the buyer groups that may or may not switch when the suppliers compete. Pricing strategies for different buyer groups are suggested to the competitive suppliers accordingly. Furthermore, equilibrium prices, market segments, and overall profits for the suppliers are revealed based on Game Theory. An algorithm is also proposed to forecast buyers’ reactions to suppliers’ pricing strategies given the buyers’ order profiles and preferences between the substitutable products.