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Empirical Testing of the Reference-Price Effect of Buy-Now Prices in Internet Auctions

Peter Popkowski Leszczyc, Chun Qiu and Yongfu He

Journal of Retailing, 2009, vol. 85, issue 2, 211-221

Abstract: Retailers selling items through Internet auctions frequently use buy-now prices (BNPs), which allow the immediate selling of an item to consumers at a fixed price. Previous research has proposed several theories of the usage of BNPs by bidders. We study the usage of BNPs from a seller's point of view. We propose that a retailer may use BNPs as external reference prices, influencing bidders’ valuations in Internet auctions. We focus on the effect of BNPs on bidders’ willingness to pay (WTP) and study under what conditions a BNP can be effectively used as an external reference price. Results of two empirical studies clearly indicate that BNPs have a reference-price effect. In addition, we find that this effect is moderated by (1) the difficulty of value assessment and (2) product value.

Keywords: Internet auctions; Buy-now price; Reference-price effect; Value uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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