Fei Gao is an Assistant Professor of Operations & Decision Technologies. He research interests include omnichannel operations management, social responsibility in operations management.
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (3)
Omnichannel Operations Management
Management Science Distinguished Service Award
M&SOM Meritorious Service Award
Paul R. Kleindorfer Scholar award, Wharton OID Department
Finalist, MSOM Student Paper Competition
Baker Retail Center Research Grant
2015 - 2016
Wharton Doctoral Student Fellowship
2012 - 2017
University of Pennsylvania: Ph.D. 2017
Tsinghua University: M.S. 2012
Tsinghua University: B.S. 2010
Problem Definition: In a cause marketing (CM) campaign, a firm donates part of its sales revenue to a charity for a social cause when customers purchase the cause-linked product. We study a firm's pricing decisions with CM and its implications on the participating charity. We also consider the design and distribution of cause-linked products.
Academic/Practical Relevance: CM has become popular in recent years. However, there is little analytical work on how a firm's strategic actions (e.g., product pricing, design, distribution)
Many restaurants have recently implemented self-order technologies across both online and offline channels. Online technology, through websites and mobile apps, allows customers to order and pay before coming to the store; offline technology, such as self-service kiosks, allows store customers to place orders without interacting with a human employee. In this paper, we develop a stylized theoretical model to study the impact of self-order technologies on customer demand, employment levels, and restaurant profits. Our main results follow. First, customers using self-order technologies experience reduced waiting cost and increased demand, and moreover, these benefits may even carry over to customers who do not use these technologies. Second, although public opinion suggests that self-order technologies facilitate job cuts, we find instead that some firms should increase employment levels, and, paradoxically, this recommendation holds for firms with high labor costs. Finally, we find that firms should implement online (offline) self-order technology when customers have high (low) wait sensitivity.
Many retailers have recently started to offer customers the option to buy online and pick up in store (BOPS). We study the impact of the BOPS initiative on store operations. We build a stylized model where a retailer operates both online and offline channels. Customers strategically make channel choices. The BOPS option affects customer choice in two ways: by providing real-time information about inventory availability and by reducing the hassle cost of shopping. We obtain three findings. First, not all products are well suited for in-store pickup; specifically, it may not be profitable to implement BOPS on products that sell well in stores. Second, BOPS enables retailers to reach new customers, but for existing customers, the shift from online fulfillment to store fulfillment may decrease profit margins when the latter is less cost effective. Finally, in a decentralized retail system where store and online channels are managed separately, BOPS revenue can be shared across channels to alleviate incentive conflicts; it is rarely efficient to allocate all the revenue to a single channel.
This paper studies how retailers can effectively deliver online and offline information to omnichannel consumers who strategically choose whether to gather information online or offline and whether to buy products online or offline. Information resolves two types of uncertainty: product value uncertainty (i.e., consumers realize valuations when they inspect the product in store, but may end up returning the product when they purchase online) and availability uncertainty (i.e., store visits are futile when consumers encounter stockouts). We consider three information mechanisms: physical showrooms allow consumers to learn valuations anytime they visit the store, even during stockouts; virtual showrooms give consumers online access to an imperfect signal of their valuations; availability information provides real-time information about whether the store has a product in stock. Our main results follow. First, physical showrooms may prompt retailers to reduce store inventory, which increases availability risk and discourages store patronage. Second, virtual showrooms may increase online returns and hurt profits, if they induce excessive customer migration from store to online channels. Third, availability information may be redundant when availability risk is low and may render physical showrooms ineffective when implemented jointly. Finally, when customers are homogeneous, these mechanisms may not exhibit significant complementarities and the optimal information structure may involve choosing only one of the three.
Online discount voucher market In the discount voucher market, customers usually face two types of valuation uncertainty, namely, preference uncertainty and consumption state uncertainty. Preference uncertainty is related to the customer's lack of relevant experience with the merchant, whereas consumption state uncertainty is related to the advance selling nature of the discount voucher mechanism. By taking a comprehensive perspective (i.e., considering revenue management and promotion effect at the same time), we find (i) no show of voucher buyers may not be a good thing for the merchant, especially for those large or start‐up ones; (ii) offering refund may always hurt the merchant's profit and the PayPal model may not be optimal in terms of maximizing social welfare; and (iii) market segmentation is not necessary for the profitability of promotion.