Assortment Optimization Under a Single Transition Model
37 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2017 Last revised: 5 May 2017
Date Written: February 13, 2017
In this paper, we consider a Markov chain choice model with single transition. In this model, customers arrive at each product with a certain probability. If the arrived product is unavailable, then the seller can recommend a subset of available products to the customer and the customer will purchase one of the recommended products or choose not to purchase with certain transition probabilities. The distinguishing features of the model are that the seller can control which products to recommend depending on the arrived product and that each customer either purchases a product or leaves the market after one transition.
We study the assortment optimization problem under this model. Particularly, we show that this problem is generally NP-Hard even if each product could only transit to at most two products. Despite the complexity of the problem, we provide polynomial time algorithms for several special cases, such as when the transition probabilities are homogeneous with respect to the starting point, or when each product can only transit to one other product. We also provide a tight performance bound for revenue-ordered assortments. In addition, we propose a compact mixed integer program formulation that can solve this problem of large size. Through extensive numerical experiments, we show that the proposed algorithms can solve the problem efficiently and the obtained assortments could significantly improve the revenue of the seller than under the Markov chain choice model.
Keywords: assortment optimization, choice model, mixed integer program, revenue-ordered assortment
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