THE SIMPLE ECONOMICS OF HYBRID MARKETPLACES
By Neil Dryden, Sergey Khodjamirian, and Jorge Padilla1
This article explains that that the decision of a marketplace to operate its own reseller in competition with third-party sellers within the platform is likely to spur competition to the ultimate benefit of consumers. A marketplace will profit by supplying directly as a reseller when that duality is needed to (a) achieve selection parity with other distribution channels and/or (b) prod third-party sellers to compete more aggressively. The success of a hybrid marketplace (i.e., an online business that is both a marketplace and a reseller operating in that marketplace) may require it to support its retail operations in order to increase the appeal of its store vis-à-vis other stores. The effect of such strategy on the incentives to innovate of other sellers in the marketplace is in principle ambiguous but the available evidence suggests it may be positive.
KEYWORDS: antitrust, business models, hybrid marketplaces, regulation