Games of supplier encroachment channel selection and e-tailer's information sharing

Yanli Tang, Suresh P. Sethi, Yulan Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We consider an e-tailer's upstream supplier who wants to encroach into retailing to earn additional revenue. The supplier needs to decide whether or not to enter the retail market by either selling to consumers on the e-tailer's platform by paying commission fees (agency encroachment) or opening an independent online/offline retail store (direct encroachment). The e-tailer has private demand information and decides whether or not to share it with the supplier. Two leadership scenarios—the supplier-leads (i.e., the supplier selects the channel before the e-tailer decides whether to share information) and the e-tailer-leads (i.e., the supplier selects the channel after the e-tailer decides whether to share information)—are examined. Our main findings are as follows. First, we show that the e-tailer has no incentive to share information under no encroachment and direct encroachment. Interestingly, this result holds in both leadership scenarios. Second, a medium commission rate gives rise to an equilibrium of agency encroachment with information sharing by the e-tailer. This equilibrium is more likely to sustain in the supplier-leads scenario than in the e-tailer-leads scenario. Third, agency encroachment brings the supplier the highest sales volume (at retail in the encroaching channel plus on wholesale to the e-tailer) when the two parties compete in quantity while direct encroachment does so for a price competition. Fourth, supplier encroachment always improves consumer surplus, but it is not necessarily welfare-improving. Last, we find that the e-tailer is more willing to share information to induce the supplier to encroach through his agency channel if he has a significant selling cost advantage over the supplier or can endogenously determine the commission rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3650-3664
Number of pages15
JournalProduction and Operations Management
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • agency channel
  • direct channel
  • information sharing
  • supplier encroachment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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