Skip to main content

The interrelationships between brand and channel choice


We propose a framework for the joint study of the consumer’s decision of where to buy and what to buy. The framework is rooted in utility theory where the utility is for a particular channel/brand combination. The framework contains firm actions, the consumer search process, the choice process, and consumer learning. We develop research questions within each of these areas. We then discuss methodological issues pertaining to the use of experimentation and econometrics. Our framework suggests that brand and channel choices are closely intertwined, and therefore studying them jointly will reveal a deeper understanding of consumer decision making in the modern marketing environment.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. The S in JCS stands for store. This is to contrast with JCO, which denotes the J. Crew online channel (see Fig. 2c).

  2. We thank an anonymous reviewer for suggesting this research question.


  • Ansari, A., Mela, C. F., & Neslin, S. A. (2008). Customer channel migration. Journal of Marketing Research, 45(1), 60–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Avery, J., Steenburgh, T. J., Deighton, J., & Caravella, M. (2012). Adding bricks to clicks: predicting the patterns of cross-channel elasticities over time. Journal of Marketing, 76(3), 96–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Borle, S., Boatwright, P., Kadane, J. B., Nunes, J. C., & Shmueli, G. (2005). The effect of product assortment changes on customer retention. Marketing Science, 24(4), 616–622.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carpenter, G. S., & Nakamoto, K. (1989). Consumer preference formation and pioneering advantage. Journal of Marketing Research, 26(3), 285–298.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Danaher, P. J., Wilson, I. W., & Davis, R. A. (2003). A comparison of online and offline consumer brand loyalty. Marketing Science, 22(4), 461–476.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dodds, W. B., Monroe, K. B., & Grewal, D. (1991). Effects of price, brand, and store information on buyers’ product evaluations. Journal of Marketing Research, 28(3), 307–319.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Erdem, T., & Keane, M. P. (1996). Decision-making under uncertainty: capturing dynamic brand choice processes in turbulent consumer goods markets. Marketing Science, 15(1), 1–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Feit, E. M. D., Wang, P., Bradlow, E. T., & Fader, P. S. (2013). Fusing aggregate and disaggregate data with an application to multiplatform media consumption. Journal of Marketing Research, 50(3), 348–364.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frambach, R., Henk, C. A., & Roest, T. K. (2007). The impact of consumer Internet experience on channel preference and usage intentions across the different stages of the buying process. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 21(2), 26–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gensler, S., Verhoef, P. C., & Böhm, M. (2012). understanding consumers’ multichannel choices across the different stages of the buying process. Marketing Letters, 23(4), 987–1003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guadagni, P. M., & Little, J. D. C. (1983). A logit model of brand choice calibrated on scanner data. Marketing Science, 2(3), 203–238.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoch, S. J., Bradlow, E. T., & Wansink, B. (1999). The variety of an assortment. Marketing Science, 18(4), 527–546.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hsiao, L., & Chen, Y.-C. (2013). The perils of selling online: Manufacturer competition, channel conflict, and consumer preferences. Marketing Letters, 24(3), 277–292.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jerath, K., & Zhang, Z. J. (2010). Store within a store. Journal of Marketing Research, 47(4), 748–763.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Konus, U., Verhoef, P. C., & Neslin, S. A. (2014). The effect of search channel elimination on purchase incidence, order size and channel choice. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 31(1), 49–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuehn, A., and Rohloff, A. C. (1967). Evaluating promotions using a brand switching model. In: Patrick J. Robinson (ed.), Promotional decisions using mathematical models. Reading: Allyn and Sons, pp. 50-85.

  • Kumar, N., & Ruan, R. (2006). On manufacturers complementing the traditional retail channel with a direct online channel. Quantitative Marketing and Economics, 4(3), 289–323.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lee, B.-K., & Lee, W.-N. (2004). The effect of information overload on consumer choice quality in an on-line environment. Psychology and Marketing, 21(3), 159–183.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mehra, A., Subodha, K. and Jagmohan, S. R. (2013). ‘Showrooming’ and the competition between store and online retailers, Working Paper, Indian School of Business.

  • Ratchford, B. T. (1982). Cost-benefit models for explaining consumer choice and information seeking behavior. Management Science, 28(2), 197–212.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Russell, G. J. (2014). Brand choice models. In R. Winer & S. A. Neslin (Eds.), History of marketing science, (forthcoming). Boston: Now Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thomas, J. S., & Sullivan, U. Y. (2005). Managing marketing communications with multichannel customers. Journal of Marketing, 59(4), 239–251.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Valentini, S., Montaguti, E., & Neslin, S. A. (2011). Decision process evolution in customer channel choice. Journal of Marketing, 75(6), 72–86.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Herpen, E., & Pieters, R. (2002). The variety of an assortment: an extension to the attribute-based approach. Marketing Science, 21(3), 331–341.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Verhoef, P. C., Neslin, S. A., & Vroomen, B. (2007). Multichannel customer management: understanding the research-shopper phenomenon. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24(2), 129–148.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kinshuk Jerath.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Neslin, S.A., Jerath, K., Bodapati, A. et al. The interrelationships between brand and channel choice. Mark Lett 25, 319–330 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Brand choice
  • Channel choice
  • Learning
  • Utility theory