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A Modeling Framework for Category Assortment Planning


  • Juin-Kuan Chong

    () (The NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119260)

  • Teck-Hua Ho

    () (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

  • Christopher S. Tang

    () (Anderson Graduate School of Management, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095)


The complexity of managing a category assortment has grown tremendously in recent years due to the increased product turnover and proliferation rates in most categories. It is an increasingly difficult task for managers to find an effective assortment due to uncertain consumer preferences and the exponential number of possible assortments. This paper presents an empirically based modeling framework for managers to assess the revenue and lost sales implication of alternative category assortments. Coupled with a local improvement heuristic, the modeling framework generates an alternative category assortment with higher revenue. This framework, which consists of a category-purchase-incidence model and a brand-share model, is calibrated and validated using 60,000 shopping trips and purchase records. Specifically, the purchase-incidence model predicts the probability of an individual customer who purchases (and who does not purchase) from a given product category during a shopping trip. The no-purchase probability enables us to estimate lost sales due to assortment changes in the category. The brand-share model predicts which brand the customer chooses if a purchase incidence occurs in the category. Our brand-share model extends the classical Guadagni and Little model (1983) by utilizing three new brand-width measures that quantify the similarities among products of different brands within the same category. We illustrate how our modeling framework is used to reconfigure the category assortment in eight food categories for five stores in our data set. This reconfiguration exercise shows that a reconfigured category assortment can have a profit improvement of up to 25.1% with 32 products replaced. We also demonstrate how our modeling framework can be used to gauge lost sales due to assortment changes. We find the level of lost sales could range from 0.9% to 10.2% for a period of 26 weeks.

Suggested Citation

  • Juin-Kuan Chong & Teck-Hua Ho & Christopher S. Tang, 2001. "A Modeling Framework for Category Assortment Planning," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 3(3), pages 191-210, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormsom:v:3:y:2001:i:3:p:191-210

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tang, Christopher S., 2010. "A review of marketing-operations interface models: From co-existence to coordination and collaboration," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 22-40, May.
    2. Vishal Gaur & Dorothée Honhon, 2006. "Assortment Planning and Inventory Decisions Under a Locational Choice Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(10), pages 1528-1543, October.
    3. Gérard P. Cachon & A. Gürhan Kök, 2007. "Category Management and Coordination in Retail Assortment Planning in the Presence of Basket Shopping Consumers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(6), pages 934-951, June.
    4. Rooderkerk, Robert P. & van Heerde, Harald J., 2016. "Robust optimization of the 0–1 knapsack problem: Balancing risk and return in assortment optimization," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 250(3), pages 842-854.
    5. Karakul, M. & Chan, L.M.A., 2008. "Analytical and managerial implications of integrating product substitutability in the joint pricing and procurement problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 190(1), pages 179-204, October.
    6. Tang, Christopher S., 2006. "Perspectives in supply chain risk management," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 451-488, October.
    7. A. Gürhan Kök & Yi Xu, 2011. "Optimal and Competitive Assortments with Endogenous Pricing Under Hierarchical Consumer Choice Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(9), pages 1546-1563, February.
    8. Gérard P. Cachon & Christian Terwiesch & Yi Xu, 2005. "Retail Assortment Planning in the Presence of Consumer Search," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 7(4), pages 330-346, August.


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