Operational Strategies for On-demand Personal Shopper Services

24 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2019 Last revised: 29 Apr 2020

See all articles by Alp Arslan

Alp Arslan

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Niels Agatz

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)

Mathias Klapp

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

Date Written: April 29, 2020

Abstract

Inspired by several recent startups, we study an on-demand delivery service that lets cus-
tomers shop online for products from a number of brick and mortar stores. The customer orders
are fulfilled by a fleet of personal shoppers who are responsible for both the shopping of orders
at the stores and the delivery of these to customer locations. The operation of such a service
requires to dynamically manage new requests, coordinate a fleet of shoppers, schedule shopping
operations at stores, and execute deliveries to customers on time.
Our work presents three operational strategies, each requiring different levels of shopper
flexibility and implementation complexity. We quantify the performance of each strategy in a
vast family of computational experiments. Also, the performance of this on-demand shopping
service is compared to a setting in which customers travel to stores to shop themselves. Our
numerical experiments show that there are significant savings in resources spent in shopping (up
to 55.2%) when this activity is outsourced.

Keywords: personal shopper service, on-demand

Suggested Citation

Arslan, Alp and Agatz, Niels A.H. and Klapp, Mathias, Operational Strategies for On-demand Personal Shopper Services (April 29, 2020). ERIM Report Series ERS-2019-009-LIS, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3428912 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3428912

Alp Arslan (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Niels A.H. Agatz

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Room T08-21
3000 DR Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands

Mathias Klapp

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile ( email )

Av Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins 340
Santiago, RegiĆ³n Metropolitana 8331150
Chile

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