Pricing, Market Coverage and Capacity: Can Green and Brown Products Co-exist?

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European Journal of Operational Research






Environmental strains are causing consumers to trade up to greener alternatives and many brown products are losing market coverage to premium-priced green rivals. In order to tackle this threat, many companies currently offering only brown products are contemplating the launch of a green product to complement their product portfolio. This paper provides strategic insights into and tactical ramifications of expanding a brown product line with a new green product. Our analysis explicitly incorporates a segmented consumer market where individual consumers may value the same product differently, the economies of scale and the learning effects associated with new green products, and capacity constraints for the current production system. It is shown that a single pricing scheme for the new green product limits a firm’s ability to appropriate the value different customers will relinquish in a segmented market and/or to avoid cannibalization. A two-level pricing structure can diminish and even completely avoid the salience of cannibalization. However, when resources are scarce, a firm can never protect his products from the threat of cannibalization by just revising the pricing structure which can spell the end of his brown product’s presence in the market or preclude the firm from launching the green product. At this point, the degree of cannibalization is higher for the brown product when the green product offers a sufficiently differentiated proposition to green segment consumers.