We consider a scenario with two firms determining which products to develop and introduce to the market. In this problem, there exists a finite set of potential products and market segments. Each market segment has a preference list of products and will buy its most preferred product among those available. The firms play a Stackelberg game in which the leader firm first introduces a set of products, and the follower responds with its own set of products. The leader's goal is to maximize its profit subject to a product introduction budget, assuming that the follower will attempt to minimize the leader's profit using a budget of its own. We formulate this problem as a multistage integer program amenable to decomposition techniques. Using this formulation, we develop three variations of an exact mathematical programming method for solving the multistage problem, along with a family of heuristic procedures for estimating the follower solution. The efficacy of our approaches is demonstrated on randomly generated test instances. This article contributes to the operations research literature a multistage algorithm that directly addresses difficulties posed by degeneracy, and contributes to the product variety literature an exact optimization algorithm for a novel competitive product introduction problem.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modeling and Simulation
- Ocean Engineering
- Management Science and Operations Research