Mend The Learning Approach, Not the Data: Insights for Ranking E-Commerce Products
Improved search quality enhances users' satisfaction, which directly impacts sales growth of an E-Commerce (E-Com) platform. Traditional Learning to Rank (LTR) algorithms require relevance judgments on products. In E-Com, getting such judgments poses an immense challenge. In the literature, it is proposed to employ user feedback (such as clicks, add-to-basket (AtB) clicks and orders) to generate relevance judgments. It is done in two steps: first, query-product pair data are aggregated from the
... logs and then order rate etc are calculated for each pair in the logs. In this paper, we advocate counterfactual risk minimization (CRM) approach which circumvents the need of relevance judgements, data aggregation and is better suited for learning from logged data, i.e. contextual bandit feedback. Due to unavailability of public E-Com LTR dataset, we provide Mercateo dataset from our platform. It contains more than 10 million AtB click logs and 1 million order logs from a catalogue of about 3.5 million products associated with 3060 queries. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work which examines effectiveness of CRM approach in learning ranking model from real-world logged data. Our empirical evaluation shows that our CRM approach learns effectively from logged data and beats a strong baseline ranker (λ-MART) by a huge margin. Our method outperforms full-information loss (e.g. cross-entropy) on various deep neural network models. These findings demonstrate that by adopting CRM approach, E-Com platforms can get better product search quality compared to full-information approach. The code and dataset can be accessed at: https://github.com/ecom-research/CRM-LTR.