Merriam Webster defines algorithm as: a procedure for solving a mathematical problem (as of finding the greatest common divisor) in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation; broadly: a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer. ~a search algorithm.
Without the concept, who needs an algorithm.
“A procedure for solving a mathematical problem”. That’s the challenge. What are the elements of the mathematical problem? That’s where instinct comes into play. What price, what cost, is there seasonality, is there a life cycle? On and on and on… Where is the algorithm that determines that a consumer is looking for a chambray 3/4 sleeve tunic if there have been no like items in the assortment? Merchandising instinct and marketing muscle. Once the item is identified and exposed, the algorithm can go to town! It’s a part of sophisticated merchandise planning. Nothing new, simply done with a really long equation fed into a computer rather than a calculator, pencil and ledger paper.
Started with an idea not an equation. The data will justify the instinct.