Interaction between shelf layout and marketing effectiveness and its impact on optimizing shelf arrangements
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In this paper, we propose and operationalize a new method for optimizing shelf arrangements. We show that there are important dependencies between the layout of the shelf and stock-keeping unit (SKU) sales and marketing effectiveness. The importance of these dependencies is further shown by the substantive profit gains we obtain with our proposed shelf optimization approach. The basis of our model is a standard sales equation that explains sales using item-specific marketing effect parameters and intercepts. In a Hierarchical Bayes (HB) fashion, we augment this model with a second layer that relates the effect parameters to shelf and SKU descriptors. We also take into account potential endogeneity of facings. After estimating the parameters of the two-level model using Bayesian methodology, we carefully investigate the dependencies of SKU sales and SKU marketing effectiveness on the shelf layout. Next, we search for the shelf arrangement that maximizes the expected total profit using simulated annealing (SA). We appear to be able to increase profits for all the stores analyzed, and our approach appears to outperform well-known rules of thumb.