Application of optimal control theory in marketing: What is the optimal number of choices on a shopping website?

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There have been some recent interests in making websites responsive to the dynamic behavior of users. We present a method for applying the steps of optimal control theory to internet shopping platforms. The information rate is a state variable to maximize and the rate of change in number of options available to the consumer is our control variable to minimize. We apply optimal control theory to identify the optimal number of options. We specify and solve the necessary and sufficient conditions for the optimal control for a class of objective functions, which gives a nonlinear two-point boundary value problem.


Consumer behavior; Control theory; Dynamic programming; Teleshopping; Web sites


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