[PAST EVENT] Mathematics Colloquium and EXTREEMS-QED Lecture: Kris Ferreira (Harvard Business School)

February 19, 2016
2pm - 3pm
Jones Hall, Room 301
200 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
I will present work with an online retailer, Rue La La, as an example of how a retailer can use its wealth of data to optimize pricing decisions on a daily basis. Rue La La is in the online fashion sample sales industry, where they offer extremely limited-time discounts on designer apparel and accessories. One of the retailer's main challenges is pricing and predicting demand for products that it has never sold before, which account for the majority of sales and revenue. To tackle this challenge, we use machine learning techniques to estimate historical lost sales and predict future demand of new products. The nonparametric structure of our demand prediction model, along with the dependence of a product's demand on the price of competing products, pose new challenges on translating the demand forecasts into a pricing policy. We develop an algorithm to efficiently solve the subsequent multi-product price optimization that incorporates reference price effects, and we create and implement this algorithm into a pricing decision support tool for Rue La La's daily use. We conduct a field experiment and find that sales does not decrease due to implementing tool recommended price increases for medium and high price point products. Finally, we estimate an increase in revenue of the test group by approximately 9.7% with an associated 90% confidence interval of [2.3%, 17.8%].

[[atninh, Anh Ninh]]