Robust Dynamic Pricing with Demand Learning in the Presence of Outlier Customers
51 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 14, 2020
This paper studies the dynamic pricing problem under model mis-specification settings. To characterize the model mis-specification, we extend the "eps-contamination model | the most fundamental model in robust statistics and machine learning, to the online setting. In particular, for a selling horizon of length T, the online "eps-contamination model assumes that the demands are realized according to a typical unknown demand function only for (1-eps)T periods. For the rest of eps T periods, an outlier purchase can happen with arbitrary demand functions. Under this model, we develop new robust dynamic pricing policies to hedge against outlier purchase behavior. For the dynamic pricing problem, there are two critical prices, the revenue-maximizing price and inventory clearance price, and the optimal price is the larger price. The challenge is that the seller has no information about which price is larger, and the revenues near these two prices behave entirely differently. To address this challenge, we propose robust online policies for both cases when the optimal price is the revenue-maximizing price and when the optimal price is the clearance price, and then develop a meta algorithm that combines these two cases. Our algorithm is a fully adaptive policy that does not require any prior knowledge of the outlier proportion parameter ". Our simulation study shows that our policy outperforms existing policies in the literature.
Keywords: dynamic pricing, regret analysis, robustness, eps-contamination model
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation