Online fashion sales present a challenging use case for personalized recommendation: Stores offer a huge variety of items in multiple sizes. Small stocks, high return rates, seasonality, and changing trends cause continuous turnover of articles for sale on all time scales. Customers tend to shop rarely, but often buy multiple items at once. We report on backtest experiments with sales data of 100k frequent shoppers at Zalando, Europe’s leading online fashion platform. To model changing customer and store environments, our recommendation method employs a pair of neural networks: To overcome the cold start problem, a feedforward network generates article embeddings in “fashion space,” which serve as input to a recurrent neural network that predicts a style vector in this space for each client, based on their past purchase sequence. We compare our results with a static collaborative filtering approach, and a popularity ranking baseline.
Learn more about the Fashion DNA research project.