A Framework for Meaning Aware Product Discovery in E-Commerce

A Framework for Meaning Aware Product Discovery in E-Commerce

S. Asharaf (Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Kerala (IIITM-K), India), V. S. Anoop (Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Kerala (IIITM-K), India) and A. L. Afzal (Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management Kerala (IIITM-K), India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch098
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Current e-commerce statistics state that around 40 percent of worldwide internet users have bought products, goods or services online via desktop, mobile, tablet or other online devices. This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and it is projected to grow in the upward direction. The enabler of this online buying process, the E-Commerce technology platform, plays a central role in promoting the upward growth of this industry. The user experience provided by these platforms is crucial in achieving customer satisfaction which promotes customer loyalty and thus profitability. Understanding a customer’s interest/intent and providing meaningful product/service discovery experience is a highly rewarding opportunity in this context. But most of the current era E-Commerce platforms do not provide anything more than the technology support for the dissemination of product details, buyer cart handling, enablement of payment processes, the tracking of item discovery, and a basic feedback mechanism. In these platforms, detailed product listings and a basic text based search experience are the only user tools in assisting the product discovery process. The tedious processes involved in the product discovery process often deter even an internet savvy user from using the e-commerce services.

In the above said context, most of the organizations dealing with electronic commerce today are striving hard for innovative ways for customer engagement and product promotion. Providing meaning aware/semantic product discovery experience is one of the most important aspects in this scenario. To build such an experience, organizations are exploring new dimensions of leveraging semantic technologies rather than the traditional text based syntactic framework for product catalogue data handling and meaning aware product discovery experiences. In the context of web search, semantic search technologies have been successfully experimented to build meaning aware web information discovery experiences. The opportunity to extend the technological breakthroughs in the field of semantic web search to the domain of E-Commerce is a highly potential opportunity.

Semantic web based e-commerce will help organization in marketing and distributing their product information in a more sensible fashion. In E-Commerce platforms, the meaning aware product discovery experience can be built by replacing the syntactically tagged product catalogues with semantically annotated catalogue knowledge bases. Such semantic knowledge bases equipped with semantic reasoning mechanisms will enable better reach for product data over web search interfaces and more meaningful product discovery experience for the Ecommerce portal user. This chapter discusses a framework for building semantic product discovery over an Ecommerce platform. This chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the background and motivation for this work. Section 3 discusses the semantic search in E-commerce and section 4 describes how a semantic product discovery experience can be built over an E-commerce platform. Section 5 illustrates the semantic product discovery using two handmade shopping ontologies. Section 6 gives future research dimensions and conclusions are given in section 7.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Ontology: Ontologies are reusable specifications used for describing relationships and properties of resources. OWL is a commonly used ontology representation technique.

Semantic Search: Semantic search is the process of proving meaning aware search experience on a textual corpus or web. It is an improvement over the conventional syntactical/keyword based search using word search indexes. AU14: Reference appears to be out of alphabetical order. Please check

Semantic Query Experience In E-Commerce: The semantic search experience on semantically annotated product catalogue databases.

Meaning Aware Recommendations in E-Commerce: The process of recommending/suggesting similar products or product groups using semantically annotated product catalogue information.

Semantic Product Discovery in E-Commerce: The process of discovering a product from an e-commerce portal using semantically tagged product catalogue information.

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