Paul Messinger

Associate Professor, Alberta School of Business - Marketing, Business Economics and Law


Associate Professor, Alberta School of Business - Marketing, Business Economics and Law
(780) 492-3954
3-20E Business Building
11203 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2R6



Research Interests

  • New Retail and Internet Formats
  • Virtual Worlds and Second Life
  • Service Science
  • Power in Distribution Channels
  • Dynamic Competitive Strategy
  • Survey-Based Market Research


Teaching Experience

  • MARK 468: Retail Management
  • MARK 740: Ph.D. Marketing Models


New Books

Citizen-Centered Cities, Volume I: Case Studies of Public Involvement, by Paul R. Messinger (with contributions from Marco Adria, Fiona Cavanagh, Michelle Chalifoux, Moein Khanlari, Edd LeSage, Heather Stewart, and Rosslynn Zulla), Business Expert Press, 2017.  

Citizen-Centered Cities, Volume II: City Studies of Public Involvement, by Paul R. Messinger (with contributions from Moein Khanlari, Heather Stewart, and Rosslynn Zulla), forthcoming, Business Expert Press, 2017.  

Recent Professional Service

Vice-Chair and Cluster Chair, 2017-2018, INFORMS Service Science Section

The group consists of more than 200 scholars and practitioners working to advance, promote, and disseminate research and applications among professionals interested in theory, methodologies, and applications in Service Science, which cuts across the fields of services business strategy and modeling, service operations research and management, information systems, marketing science and analytics, management science, e-commerce and e-business, industrial engineering, and social and cognitive science.

In the News

Review of Public Engagement 2015
City of Edmonton Department of Transportation Services
Presented to City Council in Summer 2015

The main outcome of the study is a set of nine key challenges that Transportation Services faces as it pursues excellence in public involvement. This report explores the nine challenges in depth and provides a set of detailed short- and long-term recommendations for improving the practice of public involvement in Transportation Services.

Uber fights assumptions with Edmonton council vote looming


MARK 468 - Retailing and Channel Management

Students are introduced to the activities involved in retailing goods and services to consumers and to the elements that make up effective distribution channels. Retailing topics include the evolution of retailing, store location, store image, shopping behavior, retail marketing strategies and current trends in retailing management. Channel management topics include: channel structure, designing the marketing channel, channel relationships and responsibilities, selecting channel members, and physical distribution and transportation. Effective channel management, the application of marketing planning, and analysis of retailing and channel management are also examined Prerequisite: MARK 301.

Fall Term 2021
MARK 799 - Individual Research

Special studies for advanced students. Prerequisites: Registration in the Business PhD Program or permission of instructor. Approval of the Business PhD Program Director is also required for non-PhD students.

Fall Term 2021

Browse more courses taught by Paul Messinger

Scholarly Activities

Research - Best Paper Award for Marketing division of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada

Started: 201606

“Gleaning Inferences from Soldout Products,” Xin Ge, Paul R. Messinger, and Yuanfang Lin

Research - Our Focus: What We Wish to Understand

Although the Internet is transforming retailing, Canadian retailers have not kept up with their American counterparts. In particular, an assessment by Web-metrix, found that five of the top ten retail sites visited by Canadians were American. Even the number-one retail site visited by Canadians was American: attracted nearly 25% more unique Canadian visitors than did its Canadian rival, (Web-metrix, 2000). Addressing shortfalls like these, by understanding what leads to on-line retail success, will be critical to Canada’s success in an information-based economy.

Our objective is to increase understanding of consumer decision-making in each stage of interaction with electronic commerce sites. Our research and training activities involve the specific topics listed below:

Topics of Study

1. Consumers Attracted to Site

  • Web Traffic Generators
  • Internet Diffusion Patterns
  • Determinants of Loyalty to Websites

2. Consumers Interact with Site

  • Web Design Success Factors
  • Website Personalization
  • Building Customer Relationships with Technology
  • Real-Estate E-Commerce

3. Consumers Act: Decision- Making in E-Environments

  • Electronic Decision Aids
  • Personalized Product Recommendations
  • Factors Influencing Customer Preferences
  • On-line Auctions
  • Internet Matching Systems

4. Consumer and Business Outcomes

  • Web Performance Measures
  • Effectiveness of E-Advertising
  • Internet Pricing Issues
  • Impact of Internet on Channel Power

In the new economy, understanding consumers’ actions and perceptions as they progress through the ‘web-interaction cycle’ is central for Canadian business to achieve on-line competitiveness, for consumers to better utilize new electronic capabilities, and for the government to establish a level playing-field among providers of retailing and services.

Our Results: What We Have Learned So Far

We are excited about our conclusions to date and our ongoing work, summarized below:

New Methods for E-Commerce:

Website Performance Measures. We developed a new measurement scale that enables us to better benchmark the performance of the websites of our retail partners against norms obtained from a sample of Canadian retailers and from U.S. websites.

Product Recommender Systems. We improve on current e-commerce practice of providing recommendations ranked solely in order of highest expected utility. Our search algorithm (which we call "Generalized Leaps and Bounds"), instead, displays a targeted, but diversified, set of product recommendations that is more likely to help Canadian websites satisfy customer needs.

On-line Consumer Behaviour Results: 

Skill-based Habits. In the lab, repeated use of a website creates loyalty in the form of "skill-based" habits. Established websites, with large numbers of repeat users, benefit from this distinct source of loyalty. (This loyalty increases with practice, with task-complexity, and with consumers whose time valuation is higher.) In clickstream market data, we similarly find considerable consumer loyalty to Internet portals that were the first service providers in the industry. This work shows that Canadian businesses must learn to leverage off of entrenched consumer habits or to motivate Canadians to develop new skill-based habits.

Personalization Systems. In the lab, we find that customers greatly benefit from real-time aids in navigating and decision-making. We, accordingly, are developing unobtrusive technologies for personalization of the website interface that will help make Canadian retailers more competitive.

Preference Construction in E-Auctions. In the lab and field studies on e-bay, final auction prices tend to increase as the stated reserve price increases or as the fixed price component (delivery charges) increase. This work suggests that consumers need to be educated so they are not induced by the auction environment or by "bidding frenzy" to overpay.

Current E-Commerce Practices:

Internet Success Factors. We examine Internet success factors by studying the recent histories of a dozen leading Internet companies. Some conclusions: (a) A shakeout is ongoing in the search engine sector between Yahoo/Overture and Google, as new distinctions and relationships are emerging between portals, search engines, and Internet service providers. E-commerce providers need to understand how customer traffic patterns to their sites are influenced thereby, and Canadian retailers must cope with an environment in which U.S. firms, by virtue of past performance, come up first when customers run Internet searches. (b) A new paradigm of distribution of music and digital valuables (such as photos and film) is emerging due to Napster and its disciples, and the current copyright infringement cases will shape much of the future for this industry. The important role that Canada can play in this process is still being determined. (c) The questionable experiment in media convergence of AOL-Time Warner need not be emulated in Canada.

Cause Marketing Web Practices. By assessing a large number (3,414) of web links between a sponsoring company and a charitable organization, we find that most brands mention or link to the charities they sponsor, but very few charities link to the corporations that sponsor them. This suggests differential benefits for the charities and the sponsoring firms.

Historical Comparison:

Gold Rush Comparison. The Internet boom-bust cycle from 1995-2000 paralleled the gold rushes of the 19th and 20th centuries. The rush of young people and booming stock market is giving way to industry consolidation and enduring changes on the part of consumers, businesses, and government. Canada needs to shape its regulatory environment to encourage steady development and application of the technology, without fostering a boom/bust cycle.

Ongoing Work

1. We are working on a theory of expert recommendation systems/matching systems.

2. We are studying whether power in the real estate industry has shifted to consumers.

3. We are analyzing clickstream data provided by our partners to study web traffic generators and web design success factors.

4. We are developing educational curricula summarizing Internet success factors.

Research Methodology

Laboratory Experiments, Field Tests, Case Studies, and Human-Machine Interface Design. From marketing, computing science, cognitive psychology, industrial economics, and management.

Our Partners: Participants in Our Research Alliance

We are an alliance between thirteen co-investigators and fourteen retail businesses and associations. The co-investigators, from five Canadian universities (Alberta, British Columbia, Dalhousie, McMaster, and Toronto), integrate marketing, computing science, behavioral research, and economics with management practice. The retail business and associations include the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, Campers Village, CompuSmart, Deeley Harley Davidson, Forzani Group Ltd, Fountain Tire, Headcount, Henry Singer Fashion Group, Telus Geomatics, The Running Room, United Cycle, University of Alberta Bookstore, Web Mystery Shoppers, and West Edmonton Mall.

Such an alliance provides substantial synergies between theory and practice, helping to yield findings that are both conceptually sound and practical.

Impact on Canada

Our results will help Canadian businesses to utilize electronic commerce best practices, consumers to become more sophisticated on-line users, and government to establish equitable growth.

See: alliance.htm

Contact: Paul Messinger (PI)

Research - Paper Awards

Best Track Paper, Marketing Strategy & Management Track, American Marketing Association 2010 Summer Marketing Educator's Conference, "Leaving the Tier: Asymmetric Pricing Patterns in Online High Tech Shops," Charles A. Wood, Sourav Ray, Paul Messinger 

Nominated for Best Paper, Wood, C. A., Ray, S., Messinger, P."Analyzing Information Intermediaries in Electronic Brokerage," Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science (HICSS), Honolulu, HA, January 2010.

Outstanding Research Paper Award, for best paper published in International Journal of Business Strategy in 2007. “Competitive Pricing Behavior Among Channel Members: An Experimental Approach,” Sungchul Choi and Paul Messinger, International Journal of Business Strategy, 7, 2, 2007. 

Nominated for Best Conference Paper at American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2005. “Optimal Recommendation Sets: Covering Uncertainty over User Preferences,” Bob Price and Paul Messinger. April 2005. “Proceedings of the Twentieth National Conference on Artificial Intelligence and the Seventeen Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference (AAAI Press: Menlo Park, California) pp. 541- 548. 

Finalist for the John D.C. Little Award for Best Marketing Paper in 1997 in Marketing Science or Management Science. “A Model of Retail Formats based on Consumers’ Economizing on Shopping Time,” Paul R. Messinger and Chakravarthi Narasimhan, Marketing Science, 1997, Vol. 16, No. 1, 1-23. 

Research - Progress on Research Alliance: "Harnessing the Web-Interaction Cycle for Canadian Competitiveness"

Working Papers Series

Our main emphasis has been on research and production of papers and managerial summaries. With already over two dozen papers online, we still have another batch of projects for which working papers and managerial summaries are underway which will be placed online within this year.

e-Auction Website This e-auction website is a service to the Edmonton community, including partnerships with local charity auctions, and as field research on effective electronic auction practices

Objective of the Research Alliance

Our objective is to increase understanding of consumer decision-making in each of four stages of interaction with electronic commerce sites. In the new economy, understanding consumers' actions and perceptions as they progress through the 'web-interaction cycle' is central for Canadian business to achieve on-line competitiveness, for consumers to better utilize new electronic capabilities, and for the government to establish a level playing-field among providers of retailing and services. Our secondary objective is, thereby, to help retail businesses, consumers, and governments function better in the new economy.

Research - Recent Papers
  • “Dual Rules for Service Evaluation” (2013), Service Science, Erik Rolland, Ray Patterson, Paul R. Messinger, Keith Ward, and Adam Finn, 5,4 (December), 279-295, Lead Article.  
  • Chun (Martin) Qiu and Paul R. Messinger (2013), “Pricing Decisions of Skill-based Products: the Role of Used-product Markets,” Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, advance online publication 29 November, doi:10.1057/rpm.2013.36 .  
  • “Municipal Service Delivery: A Multi-Stakeholder Framework,” (2013) Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries, Paul R. Messinger, 23, 1, 37-46.  
  • “Multi-Component Systems Pricing: Rational Inattention and Downward Rigidities” (2012) Journal of Marketing, Sourav Ray, Charles A. Wood, and Paul R. Messinger, 76, 5 (September), 1 – 17, Lead Article.
  • “A Tale of Two Pricing Systems for Services” (2012), Information Systems and e-Business Management, Lyons, K., Messinger, P. R., Niu, R. H. & Stroulia, 10, 1 (March), 19-42, in a special issue on “Collaborative Value Creation in e-Business Management.”  
  • “Negative Option Billing: Current Practice and Future Concerns” (2011), Asian Pacific and Globalization Review, Paul R. Messinger, Yuanfang Lin, Yujing (Sabrina) Yan, 1, 1 (invited contribution for inaugural issue). Coverage from CBC, CTV & several Canadian newspapers.   
  • “Consumer Perceptions of Ambiguous Price Promotions: Scratch and Save Promotions versus Tensile Price Claims” (2010), Journal of Product & Brand Management, Sungchul Choi, Xin Ge, Paul R. Messinger, 19, 7, 477-486.  


Service Science
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, Dennis Galletta, Jin Li, Eleni Stroulia, Dennis Galletta, Xin Ge, Sungchul Choi, Jane Lee Saber, Kelly Lyons, Run H. Niu, and Eleni Stroulia
Publication Date: 2010

CB as I See It: My Avatar and Myself
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Consumer Behaviour: Buying Having, and Being; Fifth Canadian Edition by Judy Zaichkowsky and Rosemary Polegato
External Link:
Designing a Survey Tool for Virtual Worlds: An Experience Report
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, Eleni Stroulia, Kelly Lyons, Michael Bone, Kristen Smirnov, and Stephen Perelgut
Publication Date: 2009

Facilitating a Hierarchy of Engagement: Corporate Education in Virtual Worlds
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, Xin Ge, Glen Mayhew, Run Niu, and Eleni Stroulia, editted by William Jones
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Handbook of Research on Virtual Environments for Corporate Education: Employee Learning and Solutions
External Link:
Future of the Market Research Profession
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger and Xin Ge
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Working Through Synthetic Worlds
Volume: Ashgate Publishing Company: Burlington, VT, USA
Page Numbers: 15-44

Influence of Soldout Products on Consumers’ Choice
Author(s): Xin Ge, Paul R. Messinger, and Jin Li
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Journal of Retailing
Volume: 85 (3)
Page Numbers: 274–287
External Link:
The Real-Life Implications of Virtual Words
Author(s): Paul Messinger
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Newsletter

Virtual Worlds — Past, Present, and Future: New Directions in Social Computing
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, Eleni Stroulia, Kelly Lyons, Michael Bone, Annie Niu, and Kristen Smirnov, and Stephen Perelgut
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Decision Support Systems
Volume: 47
Page Numbers: 204-228

Advertising in Virtual Worlds: Facilitating a Hierarchy of Engagement
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger and Xin Ge edited by Matthew S. Eastin, Terry Daugherty, and Neal M. Burns
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: Handbook of Research on Digital Media and Advertising: User Generated Content Consumption

On the Relationship between My Avatar and Myself
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, Xin Ge, Eleni Stroulia, Kelly Lyons, Kristen Smirnov, and Michael Bone
Publication Date: 2008
Publication: Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
Volume: Volume 1, Number 2 ISSN: 1941-8477
External Link:
A Model of Retail Formats Based on Consumers' Economizing on Shopping Time
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, Chakravarthi Narasimhan
Publication Date: 1997
Publication: Marketing Science
Volume: Vol. 16, No. 1

Information and Channel Profits
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, W. Chu
Publication Date: 1997
Publication: Journal of Retailing
Volume: Vol. 73, No. 4
Page Numbers: 487-499

Has Power Shifted in the Grocery Channel?
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger and Chakravarthi Narasimhan
Publication Date: 1995
Publication: Marketing Science
Volume: Vol. 14, No. 2

A Nonparametric Test of Attribute Interaction in Consumer Utility Using Graded Comparisons
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger
Publication Date: 1992
Publication: Journal of Business Research

A Typology of Virtual Worlds: Historical Overview and Future Directions
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger; Eleni Stroulia; Kelly Lyons
Publication: Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
Volume: Volume 1, Number 1 [ISSN: 1941-8477]
External Link:
Consumer perceptions of ambiguous price promotions: scratch and save promotions versus tensile price claims
Author(s): Sungchul Choi, Xin Ge, and Paul R. Messinger
Publication: Journal of Product & Brand Management
Volume: 19 (7)
Page Numbers: 477–486
External Link:
Hollywood warms to Internet Movie Distribution
Author(s): Paul Messinger and Keri Kettle
External Link:
Multi-Component Systems Pricing: Rational Inattention and Downward Rigidities
Author(s): Sourav Ray, Charles A. Wood, and Paul R. Messinger
Publication: Journal of Marketing
Volume: 76
Issue: 5 (September)
Page Numbers: 1 – 17, Lead Article.

Optimal Management of Fringe Entry Over Time
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger, G. Fruchter
Publication: Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control
Volume: 28
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 445-466
External Link:
Riding the web to the White House
Author(s): Paul R. Messinger and Kristen Smirnov
External Link: