Demand management for e-groceries

Schwamberger, Jonas

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-645199
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2023
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: University of Mannheim
Evaluator: Fleischmann, Moritz
Date of oral examination: 5 May 2023
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL u. Logistik (Fleischmann 2009-)
Subject: 330 Economics
650 Management
Keywords (English): assortment optimization ; attended home delivery ; click & collect ; consider-then-choose ; demand management; e-groceries ; proactive customer contacting
Abstract: The rapidly emerging trend of purchasing products online has not spared groceries. Since groceries are fresh and partly refrigerated goods, delivery can only be successfully completed when customers are at home to receive their deliveries. This complicates the fulfillment of customer orders as e-grocers and customers have to agree on mutual time windows for delivery. This dissertation is concerned with demand management for e-grocers. Chapter 2 of this dissertation addresses an e-grocer’s time slot offering problem from a customer choice perspective. To this end, the time slot offering problem is modeled as an online assortment optimization problem using a consider-then-choose customer choice model. An estimation procedure for the consider-then-choose customer choice model based on historical transaction data is proposed which incorporates a predefined cluster structure. We show that the estimation procedure can identify the underlying customer choice behavior and that the underlying cluster structure can be efficiently exploited in the online time slot offering problem. Chapter 3 focuses on an acute crisis situation of an e-grocer in which demand outstrips delivery capacity by a wide margin, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this chapter, we examine how the demand management lever of proactive customer contacting can be utilized to manage the customer arrival process. We propose a contacting scheme for the fulfillment channels Click&Collect and Attended Home Delivery and show that proactive customer contacting can be used to prioritize vulnerable customers at the expense of a relatively small decline in overall revenue. Chapter 4 explores the lever of proactive customer contacting in post-crisis situations to balance demand disparity over several days. Here, proactive customer contacting is used as a contingency tool when it is anticipated that not enough customers will emerge via the classical booking process. Compared to Chapter 3, the customer arrival process not only consists of contacted customers but also comprises non-contacted customers. This leads to a cannibalization effect that must be managed. We demonstrate the merit of proactive customer contacting and compare different contacting strategies in various settings. In particular, we reveal what drives the success of proactive customer contacting.

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