Dynamic pricing vs. acquiring information on consumers heterogeneous sensitivity to product freshness

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Abstract

We propose a model of an inventory system in which a perishable product is periodically replenished, and the retailer is unaware of consumer heterogeneity in consumers sensitivity to freshness of a perishable product with a fixed shelf life (though it exists). Using an analytical approach, we optimally solve the problem and evaluate the extent to which unawareness is likely to detract from a retailers profit and the extent to which it is likely to affect the price that consumers pay. In addition, we evaluate the conditions in which a dynamic pricing policy is beneficial either to the retailer or to the consumer, as compared with a static pricing policy. It is proven that the retailer should assign products a lower price at the early stages of their shelf life and then raise the price as the products approach expiration. A numerical illustration combined with sensitivity analysis demonstrates the applicability of the modelling approach. Key parameters such as volatility of consumer sensitivity to freshness and the retailers estimation regarding consumers sensitivity are investigated. A conclusion is that, in monetary terms, it is preferable from the retailers perspective to invest in dynamic pricing technology rather than in technologies for gathering information on consumers purchases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-933
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2014

Keywords

  • dynamic price
  • heterogeneous sensitivity
  • optimisation
  • vendor-managed inventory

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