Proceedings of Workshop on Natural Language Processing in E-Commerce

Huasha Zhao, Parikshit Sondhi, Nguyen Bach, Sanjika Hewavitharana, Yifan He, Luo Si, Heng Ji (Editors)

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Barcelona, Spain
Association for Computational Linguistics
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Proceedings of Workshop on Natural Language Processing in E-Commerce
Huasha Zhao | Parikshit Sondhi | Nguyen Bach | Sanjika Hewavitharana | Yifan He | Luo Si | Heng Ji

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E-Commerce Content and Collaborative-based Recommendation using K-Nearest Neighbors and Enriched Weighted Vectors
Bardia Rafieian | Marta R. Costa-jussà

In this paper, we present two productive and functional recommender methods to improve the ac- curacy of predicting the right product for the user. One proposal is a survey-based recommender system that uses k-nearest neighbors. It recommends products by asking questions from the user, efficiently applying a binary product vector to the product attributes, and processing the request with a minimum error. The second proposal uses an enriched collaborative-based recommender system using enriched weighted vectors. Thanks to the style rules, the enriched collaborative- based method recommends outfits with competitive recommendation quality. We evaluated both of the proposals on a Kaggle fashion-dataset along with iMaterialist and, results show equivalent performance on binary gender and product attributes.

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Multi-label classification of promotions in digital leaflets using textual and visual information
Roberto Arroyo | David Jiménez-Cabello | Javier Martínez-Cebrián

Product descriptions in e-commerce platforms contain detailed and valuable information about retailers assortment. In particular, coding promotions within digital leaflets are of great interest in e-commerce as they capture the attention of consumers by showing regular promotions for different products. However, this information is embedded into images, making it difficult to extract and process for downstream tasks. In this paper, we present an end-to-end approach that classifies promotions within digital leaflets into their corresponding product categories using both visual and textual information. Our approach can be divided into three key components: 1) region detection, 2) text recognition and 3) text classification. In many cases, a single promotion refers to multiple product categories, so we introduce a multi-label objective in the classification head. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach for two separated tasks: 1) image-based detection of the descriptions for each individual promotion and 2) multi-label classification of the product categories using the text from the product descriptions. We train and evaluate our models using a private dataset composed of images from digital leaflets obtained by Nielsen. Results show that we consistently outperform the proposed baseline by a large margin in all the experiments.

Bilingual Transfer Learning for Online Product Classification
Erik Lehmann | András Simonyi | Lukas Henkel | Jörn Franke

Consumer Price Indices (CPIs) are one of the major statistics produced by Statistical Offices, and of crucial importance to Central Banks. To calculate CPIs, statistical offices collect a large amount of individual prices of goods and services. Nowadays prices of many consumer goods can be obtained online, enabling a much more detailed measurement of inflation rates. One major challenge is to classify the variety of products, from different shops and languages into the given statistical schema consisting of a complex multi-level classification hierarchy - the European Classification of Individual Consumption according to Purpose (ECOICOP) for European countries, since there is no model, mapping or labelled data available. We focus in our analysis on food, beverage and tobacco which account for 74 of the 258 ECOICOP categories and 19 % of the Euro Area inflation basket. In this paper we build a classifier on web scraped, hand-labeled product data from German retailers and test the transfer to French data using cross lingual word embedding. We compare its performance against a classifier trained on the single languages and a classifier with both languages trained jointly. Furthermore, we propose a pipeline to effectively create a data set with balanced labels using transferred predictions and active learning. In addition we test how much data it takes to build a single language classifier from scratch an if there are benefits from multilingual training. Our proposed system reduces the time to complete the task by about two thirds and is already used to support the analysis of inflation.

Interrupt me Politely: Recommending Products and Services by Joining Human Conversation
Boris Galitsky | Dmitry Ilvovsky

We propose a novel way of conversational recommendation, where instead of asking questions to the user to acquire their preferences; the recommender tracks their conversation with other people, including customer support agents (CSA), and joins the conversation only when it is time to introduce a recommendation. Building a recommender that joins a human conversation (RJC), we propose information extraction, discourse and argumentation analyses, as well as dialogue management techniques to compute a recommendation for a product and service that is needed by the customer, as inferred from the conversation. A special case of such conversations is considered where the customer raises his problem with CSA in an attempt to resolve it, along with receiving a recommendation for a product with features addressing this problem. We evaluate performance of RJC is in a number of human-human and human-chat bot dialogues, and demonstrate that RJC is an efficient and less intrusive way to provide high relevance and persuasive recommendations.

Benchmarking Automated Review Response Generation for the Hospitality Domain
Tannon Kew | Michael Amsler | Sarah Ebling

Online customer reviews are of growing importance for many businesses in the hospitality industry, particularly restaurants and hotels. Managerial responses to such reviews provide businesses with the opportunity to influence the public discourse and to attain improved ratings over time. However, responding to each and every review is a time-consuming endeavour. Therefore, we investigate automatic generation of review responses in the hospitality domain for two languages, English and German. We apply an existing system, originally proposed for review response generation for smartphone apps. This approach employs an extended neural network sequence-to-sequence architecture and performs well in the original domain. However, as shown through our experiments, when applied to a new domain, such as hospitality, performance drops considerably. Therefore, we analyse potential causes for the differences in performance and provide evidence to suggest that review response generation in the hospitality domain is a more challenging task and thus requires further study and additional domain adaptation techniques.

On a Chatbot Navigating a User through a Concept-Based Knowledge Model
Boris Galitsky | Dmitry Ilvovsky | Elizaveta Goncharova

Information retrieval chatbots are widely used as assistants, to help users formulate their requirements about the products they want to purchase, and navigate to the set of items that satisfies their requirements in the best way. The work of the modern chatbots is based mostly on the deep learning theory behind the knowledge model that can improve the performance of the system. In our work, we are developing a concept-based knowledge model that encapsulates objects and their common descriptions. The leveraging of the concept-based knowledge model allows the system to refine the initial users’ requests and lead them to the set of objects with the maximal variability of parameters that matters less to them. Introducing the additional textual characteristics allows users to formulate their initial query as a phrase in natural language, rather than as some standard request in the form of, “Attribute - value”.

BERT-based similarity learning for product matching
Janusz Tracz | Piotr Iwo Wójcik | Kalina Jasinska-Kobus | Riccardo Belluzzo | Robert Mroczkowski | Ireneusz Gawlik

Product matching, i.e., being able to infer the product being sold for a merchant-created offer, is crucial for any e-commerce marketplace, enabling product-based navigation, price comparisons, product reviews, etc. This problem proves a challenging task, mostly due to the extent of product catalog, data heterogeneity, missing product representants, and varying levels of data quality. Moreover, new products are being introduced every day, making it difficult to cast the problem as a classification task. In this work, we apply BERT-based models in a similarity learning setup to solve the product matching problem. We provide a thorough ablation study, showing the impact of architecture and training objective choices. Application of transformer-based architectures and proper sampling techniques significantly boosts performance for a range of e-commerce domains, allowing for production deployment.

Aspect-Similarity-Aware Historical Influence Modeling for Rating Prediction
Ryo Shimura | Shotaro Misawa | Masahiro Sato | Tomoki Taniguchi | Tomoko Ohkuma

Many e-commerce services provide customer review systems. Previous laboratory studies have indicated that the ratings recorded by these systems differ from the actual evaluations of the users, owing to the influence of historical ratings in the system. Some studies have proposed using real-world datasets to model rating prediction. Herein, we propose an aspect-similarity-aware historical influence model for rating prediction using natural language processing techniques. In general, each user provides a rating considering different aspects. Thus, it can be assumed that historical ratings provided considering similar aspects to those of later ones will influence evaluations of users more. By focusing on the review-topic similarities, we show that our method predicts ratings more accurately than the previous historical-inference-aware model. In addition, we examine whether our model can predict “intrinsic rating,” which is given if users were not influenced by historical ratings. We performed an intrinsic rating prediction task, and showed that our model achieved improved performance. Our method can be useful to debias user ratings collected by customer review systems. The debiased ratings help users to make decision properly and systems to provide helpful recommendations. This might improve the user experience of e-commerce services.

Distinctive Slogan Generation with Reconstruction
Shotaro Misawa | Yasuhide Miura | Tomoki Taniguchi | Tomoko Ohkuma

E-commerce sites include advertising slogans along with information regarding an item. Slogans can attract viewers’ attention to increase sales or visits by emphasizing advantages of an item. The aim of this study is to generate a slogan from a description of an item. To generate a slogan, we apply an encoder–decoder model which has shown effectiveness in many kinds of natural language generation tasks, such as abstractive summarization. However, slogan generation task has three characteristics that distinguish it from other natural language generation tasks: distinctiveness, topic emphasis, and style difference. To handle these three characteristics, we propose a compressed representation–based reconstruction model with refer–attention and conversion layers. The results of the experiments indicate that, based on automatic and human evaluation, our method achieves higher performance than conventional methods.