Published on Thu Feb 13 2020

Assortment Optimization with Repeated Exposures and Product-dependent Patience Cost

Shaojie Tang, Jing Yuan
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Abstract

In this paper, we study the assortment optimization problem faced by many online retailers such as Amazon. We develop a \emph{cascade multinomial logit model}, based on the classic multinomial logit model, to capture the consumers' purchasing behavior across multiple stages. Different from existing studies, our model allows for repeated exposures of a product, i.e., the same product can be displayed multiple times across different stages. In addition, each consumer has a \emph{patience budget} that is sampled from a known distribution and each product is associated with a \emph{patience cost}, which captures the cognitive efforts spent on browsing that product. Given an assortment of products, a consumer sequentially browses them stage by stage. After browsing all products in one stage, if the utility of a product exceeds the utility of the outside option, the consumer proceeds to purchase the product and leave the platform. Otherwise, if the patience cost of all products browsed up to that point is no larger than her patience budget, she continues to view the next stage. We propose an approximation solution to this problem.