Deep metric learning to hierarchically rank—An application in product retrieval

2023
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Most e-commerce search engines use customer behavior signals to augment lexical matching and improve search relevance. Many ecommerce companies like Amazon, Alibaba, Ebay etc. operate in multiple countries with country specific stores. However, customer behavior data is sparse in newer stores. To compensate for sparsity of behavioral data in low traffic stores, search engines often use crosslisted products in some form. However, crosslisting across stores is not uniform and in many cases itself sparse. In this paper, we develop a model to identify duplicate and near-duplicate products across stores. Such a model can be used to unify product catalogs worldwide, improve product meta-data or as in our case, use near-duplicate products across multiple to improve search relevance. To capture the product similarity hierarchy, we develop an approach that integrates retrieval and ranking tasks across multiple languages in a single step based on a novel Hierarchical Ranked Multi Similarity (HRMS) Loss that combines Multi-Similarity (MS) loss and Hierarchical Triplet Loss to learn a hierarchical metric space. Our method outperforms strong baselines in terms of catalog coverage and precision of the mappings. We also show via online A/B tests that the product mappings found by our method are successful at improving search quality in low traffic stores, measured in rate of searches with at least one click, significantly by 0.8% and improving cold start product engagement measured as new product clicks significantly by 1.72% in established stores.

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