Senior Staff Machine Learning Scientist at Wayfair
Ali Vanderveld is a Senior Staff Machine Learning Scientist at Wayfair, currently leading the development of novel search and recommendation technologies. Prior to Wayfair, she has held a variety of Data Science roles in the e-commerce and public sector spaces. Ali has a PhD in theoretical astrophysics from Cornell University and got her start working as an academic researcher, working on the development teams for several space telescope missions, including ESA’s Euclid.
Watch live: March 7, 2023 @ 3:30 – 4:00 pm ET
Optimizing Recommendations for Competing Business Objectives
Recommender systems are now ubiquitous in e-commerce. At Wayfair, we use a collection of machine learning models to predict which content and which products to show our customers at every stage in their shopping journey. Models for recommendations are typically trained to optimize for near-term measures of customer satisfaction, such as conversion. However, there are other business objectives that can appear to be in conflict with this idealized ranking. For example, some products might have higher margins, and surfacing such products higher could boost long-term profit. However, such boosts will likely come with a decrease in short term conversion. Thus we need to find ways to balance these competing objectives if we want to make our product recommendations “profit aware.” In this talk I will give an overview of this problem and how we have been addressing it at Wayfair.