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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1999

Grace I. Kunz and Dana Rupe

Assortment planning, the determination of the range of choices to be made available at a given time, is a primary merchandising function. Many people with different job…

Abstract

Assortment planning, the determination of the range of choices to be made available at a given time, is a primary merchandising function. Many people with different job titles in both apparel manufacturing and retailing make decisions that impact merchandise assortments. The purpose of this paper is to explain the concept of assortment diversity as measured by volume per stock‐keeping unit for an assortment (VSA), describe the relationship of VSA to per cent gross margin (%GM), and propose topics for further research.

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Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2017

Nguyen T. Thai and Ulku Yuksel

The choice overload (CO) phenomenon, whereby having many options leads to negative consequences, has been studied widely in psychology and marketing. However, empirical…

Abstract

The choice overload (CO) phenomenon, whereby having many options leads to negative consequences, has been studied widely in psychology and marketing. However, empirical evidence of CO in the tourism context is limited, even though people often encounter numerous choices (e.g., vacation destinations, airfares, hotels, tours) at different stages when planning their holidays. Investigating CO in tourism and hospitality is important because (online) travel advisors are providing tourists with numerous choices, yet they do not know whether or not these decision makers are content after choosing from these large choice sets. This chapter proposes to review and apply insights garnered from the CO literature to tourism research. Accordingly, the chapter proposes five groups of solutions for tourists and travel advisors to avoid CO effects: reducing decision task difficulty, reducing choice-set complexity, reducing preference uncertainty, focusing on decision goals rather than the means to achieve those goals, and adopting appropriate decision-making styles.

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Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-690-7

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Book part
Publication date: 13 June 2013

Barbara E. Kahn, Evan Weingarten and Claudia Townsend

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the connection between actual variety (the number of stock-keeping units (SKUs)) and amount of useable variety that the…

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this chapter is to examine the connection between actual variety (the number of stock-keeping units (SKUs)) and amount of useable variety that the consumer perceives. The optimal combination for a retailer is to offer an assortment that maximizes the perceived assortment variety while minimizing the perceived inter-item complexity. Both measures are a function of the actual variety offered in an assortment but other factors such as attribute structure of the individual items, assortment organization, and individual differences can alter the way the actual variety is perceived.Design/methodology/approach – The main methodology used in the chapter is a comprehensive, critical literature review of the empirical research on the topic.Findings – We find that while assortments with a large number of SKUs are desirable for attracting consumers to the category, too large assortments can result in consumer frustration and confusion. On the other hand, when assortments are small, the perceived variety or attention to the category may be limited.Value/originality – Our review shows ways a retailer can adapt to these challenges. First, we show that assortments are viewed in stages. In the first stage, high perceptions of variety are beneficial. When assortments are small, increasing perceived variety can be accomplished by increasing the number of subcategories within the assortment, adding in packaging cues, or using other emotional affective descriptors to further define options within the assortment. In the second or choice stage, too much variety can increase perceived complexity. Perceived complexity at this stage can be reduced by simplifying the complexity of the individual items within the assortment by increasing alignability of attributes, using a simplifying external organizational structure for the assortment, or helping consumers learn their preference.

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Review of Marketing Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-761-0

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Article
Publication date: 27 January 2012

Mayukh Dass and Piyush Kumar

A critical issue faced by retailers is determining the composition of the product assortment in every category and setting the price levels for each product without…

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1635

Abstract

Purpose

A critical issue faced by retailers is determining the composition of the product assortment in every category and setting the price levels for each product without compromising category‐level customer demand or operational efficiency. The purpose of this paper is to propose a novel, model‐based clustering approach to bring parsimony to retailers' assortment configuration and pricing process. The objective of the model is to group alternative assortment configurations into sets to which the category exhibits equivalent vulnerability.

Design/methodology/approach

In this method, each possible assortment and pricing configuration is first conceptualized as a unified entity and then these entities are clustered based on the vulnerability of category level sales. The authors illustrate the benefits of this new method for category planning using two sets of data for brands of soft drinks and enhanced water, collected from a panel of adult customers.

Findings

The results from both data sets show that several assortment configurations, varying significantly in terms of numbers of products and prices, result in similar levels of category vulnerability. In other words, several widely‐different product‐pricing combinations result in similar levels of category demand.

Originality/value

The paper's findings imply that retailers can bring parsimony to their category management process by shifting their strategic focus from individual brands to assortment clusters. Specifically, they can select the most efficient or the smallest assortment from each cluster without sacrificing category demand. Overall, the authors' approach can help simplify the complex decision‐making process related to product selection and price setting, and help retailers achieve the dual objective of operational efficiency and high category demand.

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International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 40 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Alexander Hübner

Because increasing product variety in retail conflicts with limited shelf space, managing assortment and shelf quantities is a core decision in this sector. A retailer…

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1521

Abstract

Purpose

Because increasing product variety in retail conflicts with limited shelf space, managing assortment and shelf quantities is a core decision in this sector. A retailer needs to define the assortment size and then assign shelf space to meet consumer demand. However, the current literature lacks not only information on the comprehensive structure of the decision problem, but also a decision support system that can be directly applied to practice in a straightforward manner. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The findings were developed and evaluated by means of explorative interviews with grocery retail experts. An optimization model is proposed to solve the problem of assortment planning with limited shelf space for data sets of a size relevant in real retail practice.

Findings

The author identifies the underlying planning problems based on a qualitative survey of retailers and relates the problems to each other. This paper develops a pragmatic approach to the capacitated assortment problem with stochastic demand and substitution effects. The numerical examples reveal that substitution demand has a significant impact on total profit and solution structure.

Practical implications

The author shows that the model and solution approach are scalable to problem sizes relevant in practice. Furthermore, the planning architecture structures the related planning questions and forms a foundation for further research on decision support systems.

Originality/value

The planning framework structures the associated decision problems in assortment planning. An efficient solution approach for assortment planning is proposed.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 45 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Ilgim Dara Benoit and Elizabeth G. Miller

This paper aims to demonstrate how and why holistic thinking mitigates the negative impact of large assortments on satisfaction.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to demonstrate how and why holistic thinking mitigates the negative impact of large assortments on satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Five between-subject experiments demonstrate the mitigating role of holism on choice overload across a variety of contexts.

Findings

While large assortments create overload feeling, holistic thinking mitigates the negative impact of overload feeling on satisfaction for both chronic (Studies 1a and 1b) and decision-specific (Studies 1b and 1c) holistic thinkers, as well as those who adopt a more holistic thinking style because of the decision goal (Study 2) or incidental priming (Study 3).

Research limitations/implications

This paper introduces a new moderator of choice overload effects – holistic thinking – and shows how it mitigates the negative indirect effect of assortment size on satisfaction. This paper contributes to the literature on assortment size effects and shows that even when assortment size increases overload feeling, this negative impact of assortment size can still be reduced.

Practical implications

Marketers with large assortments can reduce the negative impact of overload feeling and increase satisfaction by promoting the hedonic features of the products and encouraging holistic thinking. Similarly, consumers can reduce the negative impact of overload feeling by approaching their consumption more holistically either because of their individual traits or situational factors.

Originality/value

This research contributes a new moderator to the choice overload literature: holistic thinking. In doing so, it adopts a broader consideration of the decision-making process underlying overload effects and pinpoints how (i.e. by which path) holistic thinking mitigates the negative impact of large assortments.

Details

Journal of Consumer Marketing, vol. 34 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0736-3761

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2004

Johanna Småros and Markus Hellström

The paper presents how a European pick‐and‐mix confectionery company has employed a new forecasting approach – assortment forecasting – to reduce significantly time spent…

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4118

Abstract

The paper presents how a European pick‐and‐mix confectionery company has employed a new forecasting approach – assortment forecasting – to reduce significantly time spent on forecasting by working with an entire assortment at a time instead of producing a forecast for each product individually. The implementation of a less time‐consuming forecasting method has enabled the company to involve its salespeople in forecasting and in this way gain access to their product and market knowledge. The case company's implementation of the new forecasting method is described and its forecasting accuracy and time spent on forecasting before and after the implementation are measured. The results demonstrate a remarkable increase in forecasting efficiency as well as improved communication within the company.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Abdelmajid Amine and Sandrine Cadenat

This research shows that to reach their prime goal of building an efficient assortment, retailers need, beside increasing the outlet’s cost‐efficiency, to evaluate…

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5292

Abstract

This research shows that to reach their prime goal of building an efficient assortment, retailers need, beside increasing the outlet’s cost‐efficiency, to evaluate shoppers’ assortment perceptions so that what the store actually offers can be tailored to meet customers’ needs and expectations. Our findings reveal that consumers’ perceptions of the assortment range stems from the combination of few indicators, mainly the number of stock‐keeping units proposed and the availability of the favorite brands. Also demonstrates that consumers evaluation of the overall store assortment draws on the perceived choice within the product categories where they are highly sensitive to the assortment range.

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International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 31 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 9 January 2017

Eunjin Kwon and Anna Mattila

The purpose of this paper is to examine the joint effects of menu pages (single page vs multiple pages) and assortment organization (benefit- vs attribute-based) on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the joint effects of menu pages (single page vs multiple pages) and assortment organization (benefit- vs attribute-based) on consumers’ perceptions of variety with large assortments.

Design/methodology/approach

A 2 (assortment structure: single page vs multiple pages)×2 (assortment organization: benefit- vs attribute-based) experimental between-subjects design was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results suggest that with a one-page tea menu, participants perceived greater variety with the attribute-based (e.g. black teas, herbal teas, green teas, and oolong teas) menu than with the (e.g. energy-boosting, stress-relief, weight loss, and immune system-improvement) benefit-based menu. Conversely, when the menu was displayed on four pages, participants showed similar perceptions of variety across the two menu types.

Research limitations/implications

In some contexts, 20 menu items may not be considered a large assortment. Also, the authors did not test consumers’ preexisting preferences.

Practical implications

When food service operators offer an extensive benefit-based menu, it is advisable to place the options over multiple pages. If the menu needs to be displayed on a single spatial unit (e.g. a black board, or applications on a tablet or smartphone), practitioners should organize the menu based on attributes rather than benefits.

Originality/value

Although the demand for healthy dining options has led many foodservice operators to apply benefit-based organization to items on their menus, for example, by using terms such as “energy-boosting,” “stress-relief,” “weight-loss,” and “immune system-improvement,” little is known about the effectiveness of such a strategy.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 26 October 2012

Timucin Ozcan and Daniel A. Sheinin

The aim of this paper is to seek to understand better how consumers judge multiattribute products that are perceived as either more or less complete in terms of feature…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to seek to understand better how consumers judge multiattribute products that are perceived as either more or less complete in terms of feature coverage in a category. Complete products are used to reduce the need of developing and managing expansive and expensive line‐extension portfolios.

Design/methodology/approach

The research used an experimental method and conducted two studies to test hypotheses derived from the marketing literature.

Findings

It is found that more complete multiattribute products are preferred to less complete alternatives. This preference for more complete products remains under larger competitive product assortment, but is reduced under smaller assortment. With a higher price level and larger assortment, the preference is substantial. However, under the conditions of lower price level/larger assortment, higher price level/smaller assortment, and lower price level/smaller assortment, the preference is again reduced.

Research limitations/implications

More positive evaluations and higher product utility accrue from adding new features to multiattribute products prior to purchase. Moreover, more complete information causes more positive evaluations and cognitive responses. Larger assortment strains cognitive resources, and more complete multiattribute products are easier to understand than less complete multiattribute products. This processing facilitation generates positive affect leads to greater use of information that can shorten processing.

Practical implications

Brand managers can have a better understanding of how consumers judge more and less complete products, and under which circumstances more complete products are preferred.

Originality/value

The study of perceived product completeness is novel.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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