Empirical studies on manufacturer direct channels.
Manufacturers increasingly deploy own direct sales channels, that allow end-consumers to bypass the traditional multi-brand retailer and buy products directly from the manufacturing source. This phenomenon – often known as manufacturer encroachment – has raised questions on the impact of these channels on the incumbent sales network, not in the least among the multi-brand retailers who now face competition from their own partner-suppliers. In these often mediatized discussions, manufacturers stress the benefits of their direct channels as living billboards that generate retailer sales as well, while retailers, unconvinced of such complementary effects, voice their belief that any direct sales could – and should – have been theirs instead. Given the mediatized attention surrounding the direct selling practice and its large-scale occurrence, it is surprising how little empirical insights exist on their impact. So far, the question of whether or not direct selling hurts or benefits the incumbent sales network has largely remained unanswered. Through three distinct essays set within different multichannel systems involving direct channels, this dissertation offers valuable insights to remedy this prior gap in the marketing literature.