Sales Demand Forecast in E-commerce using a Long Short-Term Memory Neural Network Methodology [article]

Kasun Bandara, Peibei Shi, Christoph Bergmeir, Hansika Hewamalage, Quoc Tran, Brian Seaman
2019 arXiv   pre-print
Generating accurate and reliable sales forecasts is crucial in the E-commerce business. The current state-of-the-art techniques are typically univariate methods, which produce forecasts considering only the historical sales data of a single product. However, in a situation where large quantities of related time series are available, conditioning the forecast of an individual time series on past behaviour of similar, related time series can be beneficial. Since the product assortment hierarchy
more » ... an E-commerce platform contains large numbers of related products, in which the sales demand patterns can be correlated, our attempt is to incorporate this cross-series information in a unified model. We achieve this by globally training a Long Short-Term Memory network (LSTM) that exploits the non-linear demand relationships available in an E-commerce product assortment hierarchy. Aside from the forecasting framework, we also propose a systematic pre-processing framework to overcome the challenges in the E-commerce business. We also introduce several product grouping strategies to supplement the LSTM learning schemes, in situations where sales patterns in a product portfolio are disparate. We empirically evaluate the proposed forecasting framework on a real-world online marketplace dataset from Walmart.com. Our method achieves competitive results on category level and super-departmental level datasets, outperforming state-of-the-art techniques.
arXiv:1901.04028v2 fatcat:s7l4cpsi7rcz7dv6o7co24k4fe