Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 31 Number 2 2014 pp. 105-132

Customized Bundling and Consumption Variety of Digital Information Goods

Bockstedt, Jesse C and Goh, Kim Huat

ABSTRACT: Customized bundling retail strategies have become increasingly popular online. In customized bundling, consumers decide the bundle’s components, and the effects of this change on consumption variety have important implications for information goods retailers. Although reduction in transaction and search costs increases supply-side product variety, customized bundling can introduce new types of friction in the consumption process. We show that customization of information good bundles reduces consumption variety through two effects: design cost effects and compromise effects. We present the results of three behavioral experiments and an empirical study using sales data from a national music retailer. This study contributes to the theoretical understanding of the effects of customized bundling on search costs and demand-side dynamics. The results provide insights for information goods retailers on the effects of design and search costs on consumer purchasing behavior. Implications for the design of retail platforms for customizable information goods are discussed.

Key words and phrases: behavioral economics, bundling, content bundling, customization, e commerce, information goods, mass customization