Scan Based Trading and Bargaining Equilibrium: A Structural Estimation of Supply Chain Profit

Stanley Frederick W.T. Lim, Timothy Richards, Elliot Rabinovich, Min Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem definition: Scan based trading (SBT) represents a type of replenishment system in which the supplier retains title until the product is scanned through checkout at the retail store by the consumer. Although SBT carries potential benefits for both parties in the supplier-retailer dyad, it may also yield asymmetric gains to these parties, particularly because SBT can impose greater inventory costs to suppliers through shrink. We document the financial benefits in terms of supply chain profit creation and allocation based on the differences in bargaining power between parties in a vertical channel under SBT vis-à-vis the more traditional vendor-managed inventory (VMI) contracts. Academic/practical relevance: Although prior literature has examined inventory benefits and drawbacks from VMI and SBT contracts in retailer-supplier dyads, it has failed to offer a systematic evaluation of the relative impact of these contract forms on bargaining power and profits in these dyads. We address this knowledge gap. Methodology: To that end, we use a methodological approach that incorporates an empirical Nash-in-Nash bargaining model, a supplementary regression, and a counterfactual simulation. Results: We find that retailer bargaining power is higher under SBT relative to VMI contracts. Moreover, the direct effects of a retailer switching from VMI to SBT regimes generate an average increase of 25% in total supply chain profit, allowing the retailer and its supplier to increase their profit by 20% and 29%, respectively. However, although the retailer's profit share decreases by approximately 3.5%, the supplier's increases by about 3.3%. We attribute the decrease in the retailer's share to a stronger bargaining position on the supplier side based on higher supplier shrink costs. Managerial implications: Our findings provide managers with more transparent information regarding the set of outcomes they can expect should they choose to enter into SBT contracts. Importantly, we show how an outcome that has significantly hindered the adoption of SBT contracts (i.e., shrink costs) can enter into the negotiation between retailers and suppliers to optimally split the dyadic surplus of the contracts between these parties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2328-2348
Number of pages21
JournalManufacturing and Service Operations Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • bakery goods
  • bargaining power
  • Nash-in-Nash equilibrium
  • retailing
  • scan based trading
  • vertical relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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