MCM: A multi-task pre-trained customer model for personalization
Personalization plays a critical role in helping customers discover the products and contents they prefer for e-commerce stores. Personalized recommendations differ in contents, target customers, and UI. However, they require a common core capability - the ability to deeply understand customers’ preferences and shopping intents. In this paper, we introduce the MCM (Multi-task pre-trained Customer Model), a large pre-trained BERT-based multi-task customer model with 10 million trainable parameters for e-commerce stores. This model aims to empower all personalization projects by providing commonly used preference scores for recommendations, customer embeddings for transfer learning, and a pre-trained model for fine-tuning. In this work, we improve the SOTA BERT4Rec framework to handle heterogeneous customer signals and multi-task training as well as innovate new data augmentation method that is suitable for recommendation task. Experimental results show that MCM outperforms the original BERT4Rec by 17% on on NDCG@10 of next action prediction tasks. Additionally, we demonstrate that the model can be easily fine-tuned to assist a specific recommendation task. For instance, after fine-tuning MCM for an incentive based recommendation project, performance improves by 60% on the conversion prediction task and 25% on the click-through prediction task compared to a baseline tree-based GBDT model.