Robert Zeithammer is an expert on pricing and quantitative assessment of consumer preferences. His pricing research focuses mainly on participative pricing — situations that closely involve the customer in setting prices, such as bidding in auctions or making a binding offer in name-your-own-price settings. His research on assessing consumer preferences focuses on measuring preferences using robust survey methodologies and modern statistical approaches.
Participative Pricing Research
Using a combination of analytical models and structural estimation techniques, Zeithammer’s work is advancing our understanding of eBay’s online auction marketplace, Priceline’s name-your-own-price channel and other novel pricing approaches made possible by the internet. The research questions he has tackled include: What is the best way to bid in a sequence of auctions for substitutable products when I want to only end up with one unit? How should auctioneers structure the sequence of auctions for the various items they sell? What can analysts learn about underlying consumer preferences from bidding data in eBay auctions? What can Priceline do to increase profits in the name-your-own-price channel they pioneered? How do actual buyers respond to proposed answers to the previous question?
Preference Measurement Research
Zeithammer’s research on measurement of consumer preferences both develops and applies cutting-edge Bayesian statistical techniques to conjoint analysis and other stated-preference consumer surveys. His contributions to methodology include the Bayesian estimation of classic choice models when the respondents only see subsets of the potential products. He is one of the leading exponents of conjoint analysis, as an MBA and Executive MBA instructor and as a consultant. The academic research questions he has answered using conjoint analysis include: Why do Chinese graduate students at U.S. universities often choose to remain in the United States? How can retirement financial products, such as annuities, be “packaged” to increase their consumer appeal?
Zeithammer has taught courses in core marketing and strategic market research in the MBA and EMBA programs at UCLA Anderson and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, the latter of which is where he began his teaching career. Since arriving at UCLA in 2007, he has continued to develop the Customer Assessment and Analytics course that rigorously introduces students to cutting-edge primary market research techniques, such as conjoint analysis and perceptual mapping. A native of the Czech Republic, he shares his knowledge of central Europe with MBA students in his Vienna-Prague elective course.