Author: Tang, Yanli
Title: Issues in online platform operations: gender-based safety concerns and supplier encroachment
Advisors: Wang, Yulan (LMS)
Guo, Pengfei (LMS)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2020
Subject: Electronic commerce
Electronic commerce -- Social aspects
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies
Pages: xiii, 144 pages : illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The development of technology and e-commerce generates many online platforms that reform the daily life of people. For example, the ride-hailing platforms such as DiDi and Uber allow the drivers to take a better use of their spare time and the riders to call a car whenever needed. The online platforms such as and Amazon provide more opportunities to sellers and allow them to open a store on the platforms so that the sellers can directly access to the end customers. In this thesis, we focus on the operations of online platforms and study how gender-based safety concerns and supplier encroachment channel should be effectively managed. In the first topic, we focus on the gender-based safety issue and the operations of ride-hailing platforms. We investigate the performance of two operational systems: a pure pooling system (in which users are matched without considering gender types) and a hybrid system (which contains a pooling subsystem and a female-only subsystem). For each system, we analyze a two-stage queueing game by first determining the respective equilibrium joining behaviors of riders and drivers, and then deriving the platform's optimal pricing and wage decisions. We obtain the following main results. First, we show that in a pooling system, the marginal improvement in the platform's profit increases with the safety confidence on the rider demand side but diminishes with the safety confidence on the driver supply side. Therefore, platforms should improve female riders' safety confidence as much as possible while ensuring that female drivers' safety confidence is sufficiently high. Interestingly, we demonstrate that increasing driver safety confidence may not lead to more female riders joining the pooling system. We find that in a hybrid system, granting flexibility to female drivers may hurt the platform. By comparing the two system configurations, we show that win-win outcome can be attained, but not everyone in the system is happy with the migrating from a pooling to a hybrid system. In the second topic, we begin with a supplier (she) who wholesales to a retailer (he), and is considering to encroach into the retail market by opening an independent online/offline store to sell directly to consumers (a direct channel encroachment) or by selling directly to consumers through the online platform of her retailer on commission (a commission channel encroachment). Under the latter encroachment, the retailer may choose to share his private demand information with the supplier, but the supplier must pay the retailer commission fees proportional to her direct sales revenue. In contrast, under the direct channel encroachment, the supplier collects the entire sales revenue but incurs a channel operating cost. We investigate how does a party's role as a Stackelberg quantity leader affect the retailer's information sharing incentive and the supplier's encroachment channel selection. We show that under the commission channel, a quantity leader retailer always shares his demand information with the supplier; however, if the retailer is the quantity follower, he may have no incentive to share his demand information. As to the supplier's encroachment channel selection, we show that for any given commission rate, there exists an upper (lower, resp.) threshold direct channel operating cost, above (below, resp.) which the supplier encroaches via the commission (direct, resp.) channel regardless of who is the quantity leader. When the direct channel operating cost falls between these two thresholds, we have the following: if the commission rate is low, the supplier adopts the commission (direct, resp.) channel encroachment when the retailer is the quantity leader (follower, resp.), while when the commission rate is high, the exact opposite holds. Interestingly, we show that a more accurate demand signal does not necessarily improve the supplier's preference over the commission channel encroachment.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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