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Getting to Why: Semi-Supervised Topic Modeling of Customer Purchase Histories

Proceedings of the Workshop of Information Technology and Systems, Dallas 2015

13 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2016  

Thomas Y Lee

University of California, Berkeley

Kristine Yoshihara

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

The design and marketing of new products is fundamentally about understanding a customer's underlying needs. In this paper we describe research to learn needs by analyzing a customer's past purchases. We leverage what companies already (believe that they) know about how customers solve problems in the form of guides, instructions, and/or recipes. Using a semi-supervised form of LDA topic modeling, we align customer purchases with lists of equipment and materials that define established solutions for known problems. From known needs and solutions, we seek to discover new ways that customers are solving (un)known problems in the unlabeled data. We evaluate the approach on purchase-data from 18,000 customers of a multi-billion dollar specialty retailer.

Suggested Citation

Lee, Thomas Y and Yoshihara, Kristine, Getting to Why: Semi-Supervised Topic Modeling of Customer Purchase Histories (2015). Proceedings of the Workshop of Information Technology and Systems, Dallas 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2880805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2880805

Thomas Lee (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Kristine Yoshihara

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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