Optimizing Retail Assortments
Marketing Science, May 2013
73 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 3, 2013
Retailers face the problem of finding the assortment that maximizes category profit. This is a challenging task, because the number of potential assortments is very large when there are many SKUs to choose from. Moreover, SKU sales can be cannibalized by other SKUs in the assortment, and the more so, the more similar SKUs are. This paper develops an implementable and scalable assortment optimization method that allows for theory-based substitution patterns, and that optimizes real-life, large-scale assortments. We achieve this by adopting an attribute-based approach to capture preferences, substitution patterns, and cross marketing mix effects. To solve the optimization problem, we propose new Very Large Neighborhood Search heuristics. We apply our methodology to store-level scanner data on liquid laundry detergent. The optimal assortments are expected to enhance retailer profit considerably (37.3%), which increases to 43.7% when SKU prices are optimized simultaneously.
Keywords: retail assortments, optimization, product attributes, substitution, similarity, endogeneity, heuristics, micromarketing, pricing, hierarchical bayes, Gibbs sampling
JEL Classification: M31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation