A Modeling Framework for Category Assortment Planning
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.
Volume (Year): 3 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
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