Personalized Ranking in eCommerce Search

We address the problem of personalization in the context of eCommerce search. Specifically, we develop personalization ranking features that use in-session context to augment a generic ranker optimized for conversion and relevance. We use a combination of latent features learned from item co-clicks in historic sessions and content-based features that use item title and price. Personalization in search has been discussed extensively in the existing literature. The novelty of our work is combining and comparing content-based and content-agnostic features and showing that they complement each other to result in a significant improvement of the ranker. Moreover, our technique does not require an explicit re-ranking step, does not rely on learning user profiles from long term search behavior, and does not involve complex modeling of query-item-user features. Our approach captures item co-click propensity using lightweight item embeddings. We experimentally show that our technique significantly outperforms a generic ranker in terms of Mean Reciprocal Rank (MRR). We also provide anecdotal evidence for the semantic similarity captured by the item embeddings on the eBay search engine.

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