Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 21 Number 2 2004 pp. 161-179

A Multichannel Model of Separating Equilibrium in the Face of the Digital Divide

Riggins, Frederick J

ABSTRACT: We develop a multichannel model of separating equilibrium where a seller markets a durable good to high- and low-type consumers in two different channels--an online Internet storefront and an offline bricks-and-mortar store. We show how the digital divide, where high-type consumers dominate the online channel and low-type consumers dominate the offline channel, artificially segments the market-place, thereby mitigating the classic cannibalization problem. This allows the seller to more efficiently market its goods to each consumer segment. We show conditions under which low-type consumers are initially served in the offline channel, but subsequently bridging the divide results in their not being served in either channel. We also examine the implications of bridging the digital divide when the seller uses delay by engaging in intertemporal price discrimination.

Key words and phrases: digital divide, electronic commerce, market segmentation, multichannel marketing, pricing strategy