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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2020 Graduate Education

Meet Sadegh Kazemi: Designing Statistical Methods to Minimize Revenue Loss

Story by Eric Hollenbeck • Photo by Milad Haddadi

If you owned a retail business, how would you set the price for your products? You might spend time researching your competitors and their prices. Maybe keep an eye on what is happening in the market, trying to spot or anticipate changes that could affect your sales.

Perhaps a competitor launches a new product superior to your own, or an unfortunate event—like a health pandemic, for example—causes customers to change their purchasing habits, and your business sees a drop in sales.

Aside from having a crystal ball that peers into customers’ minds, how do you confidently price your products to not only keep sales, but also stay responsive to and competitive with constant change?

Revenue Management Research Answers Key Questions During Economic Dowturn

These are questions revenue management research scholars like Sadegh Kazemi attempt to answer through careful data analysis and statistical modeling.

Kazemi, who earned his doctorate from the Carson College of Business in May 2020, has spent the past five years studying revenue management and developing methods to help businesses respond to market changes, adjust pricing strategies, and minimize loss.

The right pricing strategy could mean the difference between losing a few sales to competitors versus struggling to stay afloat during an economic downturn.

The goal is to find that “sweet spot” in your pricing strategy. Price it too high, and buyers will look elsewhere. Price it too low, and you leave money on the table, so to speak. “If you produce a high-quality product or service but don’t price it right, that’s a loss in revenue,” says Kazemi.

WSU Research Helps Retailers Make Informed Decisions on Pricing Strategies

Kazemi earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Kerman in Iran and says his focus for his doctoral research on pricing and revenue management evolved naturally from his background in product and service development.

Early in his academic career, Kazemi realized a solid and deep understanding of quality management techniques would be beneficial for his long-term career goals. “I’ve always wanted to work in a research-oriented position, in order to help solve real-world problems,” he says.

The methodology Kazemi and his research partners developed during his time at WSU helps improve the speed and accuracy in which retailers can respond to market conditions and adjust pricing accordingly. Best of all, the methodology is not limited to revenue management, says Kazemi. “It can also be used in quality management and finance.”

In August 2020, Kazemi began his first semester as an assistant professor at the University of Houston. He credits the Carson College doctoral program for preparing him for his academic and research career and delivering high-quality coursework, training, and guidance from approachable and supportive faculty. “I had many opportunities to present my research at the Carson College and top conferences throughout my doctoral program. During my job search, I realized the skills I learned and the opportunities I’ve had to present my work have been extremely important,” he says.