Well Googled is Half Done: Multimodal Forecasting of New Fashion Product Sales with Image-based Google Trends

20 Sep 2021  ·  Geri Skenderi, Christian Joppi, Matteo Denitto, Marco Cristani ·

New fashion product sales forecasting is a challenging problem that involves many business dynamics and cannot be solved by classical forecasting approaches. In this paper, we investigate the effectiveness of systematically probing exogenous knowledge in the form of Google Trends time series and combining it with multi-modal information related to a brand-new fashion item, in order to effectively forecast its sales despite the lack of past data. In particular, we propose a neural network-based approach, where an encoder learns a representation of the exogenous time series, while the decoder forecasts the sales based on the Google Trends encoding and the available visual and metadata information. Our model works in a non-autoregressive manner, avoiding the compounding effect of large first-step errors. As a second contribution, we present VISUELLE, a publicly available dataset for the task of new fashion product sales forecasting, containing multimodal information for 5577 real, new products sold between 2016-2019 from Nunalie, an Italian fast-fashion company. The dataset is equipped with images of products, metadata, related sales, and associated Google Trends. We use VISUELLE to compare our approach against state-of-the-art alternatives and several baselines, showing that our neural network-based approach is the most accurate in terms of both percentage and absolute error. It is worth noting that the addition of exogenous knowledge boosts the forecasting accuracy by 1.5% WAPE wise, revealing the importance of exploiting informative external information. The code and dataset are both available at https://github.com/HumaticsLAB/GTM-Transformer.

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Introduced in the Paper:

Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
New Product Sales Forecasting VISUELLE GTM-Transformer [Extra Tag] MAE 29.6 # 3
WAPE 54.2 # 3
New Product Sales Forecasting VISUELLE GTM-Transformer MAE 30.2 # 4
WAPE 55.2 # 4