Market basket analysis (MBA) is a powerful and common practice in modern retailing that has some limitations stemming from the fact that it infers purchase sequence from joint-purchasing data. However, internet retailers automatically collect purchase-sequence data from their shoppers, and new technology is available for traditional (bricks and mortar) retailers to do the same, making it possible to analyze purchase sequences, rather than inferring them from joint purchases. This study first compares and contrasts traditional market basket analysis with a sequential extension, and then proposes a framework for purchase-sequence analysis, which is illustrated utilizing shopping trip data from one grocery store.
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We use the mathematical symbol “~” to denote “approximately”.
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