Product assortment and customer mobility

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TitleProduct assortment and customer mobility
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCoscia, M, Pennacchioli, D, Giannotti, F
JournalEPJ Data Science
Date Published10-2015
AbstractCustomers mobility is dependent on the sophistication of their needs: sophisticated customers need to travel more to fulfill their needs. In this paper, we provide more detailed evidence of this phenomenon, providing an empirical validation of the Central Place Theory. For each customer, we detect what is her favorite shop, where she purchases most products. We can study the relationship between the favorite shop and the closest one, by recording the influence of the shop’s size and the customer’s sophistication in the discordance cases, i.e. the cases in which the favorite shop is not the closest one. We show that larger shops are able to retain most of their closest customers and they are able to catch large portions of customers from smaller shops around them. We connect this observation with the shop’s larger sophistication, and not with its other characteristics, as the phenomenon is especially noticeable when customers want to satisfy their sophisticated needs. This is a confirmation of the recent extensions of the Central Place Theory, where the original assumptions of homogeneity in customer purchase power and needs are challenged. Different types of shops have also different survival logics. The largest shops get closed if they are unable to catch customers from the smaller shops, while medium size shops get closed if they cannot retain their closest customers. All analysis are performed on a large real-world dataset recording all purchases from millions of customers across the west coast of Italy.