U-NEED: A Fine-grained Dataset for User Needs-Centric E-commerce Conversational Recommendation

Conversational recommender systems (CRSs) aim to understand the information needs and preferences expressed in a dialogue to recommend suitable items to the user. Most of the existing conversational recommendation datasets are synthesized or simulated with crowdsourcing, which has a large gap with real-world scenarios. To bridge the gap, previous work contributes a dataset E-ConvRec, based on pre-sales dialogues between users and customer service staff in E-commerce scenarios. However, E-ConvRec only supplies coarse-grained annotations and general tasks for making recommendations in pre-sales dialogues. Different from that, we use real user needs as a clue to explore the E-commerce conversational recommendation in complex pre-sales dialogues, namely user needs-centric E-commerce conversational recommendation (UNECR). In this paper, we construct a user needs-centric E-commerce conversational recommendation dataset (U-NEED) from real-world E-commerce scenarios. U-NEED consists of 3 types of resources: (i) 7,698 fine-grained annotated pre-sales dialogues in 5 top categories (ii) 333,879 user behaviors and (iii) 332,148 product knowledge tuples. To facilitate the research of UNECR, we propose 5 critical tasks: (i) pre-sales dialogue understanding (ii) user needs elicitation (iii) user needs-based recommendation (iv) pre-sales dialogue generation and (v) pre-sales dialogue evaluation. We establish baseline methods and evaluation metrics for each task. We report experimental results of 5 tasks on U-NEED. We also report results in 3 typical categories. Experimental results indicate that the challenges of UNECR in various categories are different.

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