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Pricing and Replenishment of Competing Perishable Product Variants under Dynamic Demand Substitution



I consider pricing and ordering decisions faced by a retailer selling a perishable product with a two-period shelf life over an infinite horizon. In the first period, the product is “new”; in the next, it becomes “old.” The new product is perceived by customers to have a higher quality than the old product. Every period, the retailer makes three decisions: prices for the new and old products and how much new product to order. I first show, with some simple cases, that demand uncertainty can make the sale of the old product profitable. I then consider a more realistic case with dynamic demand substitution among customers. I recognize that the retailer's decisions may be constant or may vary across different periods, under different contexts. For instance, varying the price of the new product can sometimes be difficult due to the negative impact it generates among customers. I find that (i) the benefit obtained from selling the old product with constant decisions is much higher than the benefit from allowing all the decisions to vary; (ii) the former benefit increases with a higher procurement cost, a higher quality of the new product, and higher demand volatility; however, the latter benefit is non-monotone in these parameters; (iii) most of the latter benefit can be obtained by just changing the order quantity; and (iv) as the inventory of the old product increases, when all the decisions vary, the optimal price of the new product may increase or decrease.