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Towards a Framework for Agent-based Simulation of User Behaviour in E-Commerce Context

D973584a6d6be79b98253b8d616671cb?s=47 JP
June 23, 2017

Towards a Framework for Agent-based Simulation of User Behaviour in E-Commerce Context

Towards a Framework for Agent-based Simulation of User Behaviour in E-Commerce Context - Duarte Duarte, Hugo Ferreira, João Dias, and Zafeiris Kokkinogenis

SS01-ABM and SS06-PT: Special Session on Agent-Based Social Simulation, Modelling and Big-Data Analytics and Special Session on Persuasive Technologies

15th International Conference on Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Polytechnic of Porto - Porto (Portugal) | 21st-23rd June, 2017 | www.paams.net

D973584a6d6be79b98253b8d616671cb?s=128

JP

June 23, 2017
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  1. Towards a Framework for Agent-based Simulation of User Behaviour in

    E-Commerce Context Duarte Duarte, Hugo Sereno Ferreira, João Pedro Dias and Zafeiris Kokkinogenis 15th International Conference on Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems Polytechnic of Porto - Porto (Portugal) | 21st-23rd June, 2017
  2. Outline • Introduction • Architecture & Implementation • Tests &

    Validation • Related Work • Final Remarks 2/11
  3. Introduction • Customers interact with e-commerce websites in a variety

    of ways and the companies operating them rely on optimizing key performance indicators (KPIs) to increase sales and profits. • Modelling user behaviour on e-commerce websites is a common approach to influencing purchase intentions. • With this work we purpose an agent-based framework that simulates users behaviours and assesses their interaction with artefacts that influence their navigation experience. 3/11
  4. Architecture & Implementation: Requirements • Website Representation: Collection of web

    pages and hyper-links between them; • Navigation Agents: Representations of customers interacting with a website; • Website Agents: Agents that can modify any page before it is served to a user/customer; • Simulation Engine: Given a website, the type of navigation and website agents and pretended simulation time; • Reporting: Once a simulation run ends, it can be analysed by taking a look at its results, metrics and other previously stored characteristics. 4/11
  5. Architecture & Implementation: Architecture • Navigation Agents can:  visit

    another page;  exit the website;  add a product to the cart;  finish the purchase;  do nothing. • Website Agents can:  modify the pages before they are presented to users. 5/11 Website Website actions (browse, buy, modifications navigation activity Fig. 1: Agent interaction with the environment.
  6. Architecture & Implementation: Implementation Fig. 2: Sequence diagram for the

    simulation engine. 6/11 action Navigation Agent Navigation Agent Website Agent Website Agent Simulation Engine Simulation Engine loop simulation step loop simulation step newNavigationAgents() loop (navigation agent) loop (navigation agent) updateState(navAgent, action) notify(navAgent, action) alt alt exit action browse action addToCart action checkout action idle action modifyPage(navAgent, page) << create >> emitAction showPage(navAgent, page) showPage(navAgent, cartPage) showPage(navAgent, homePage) action Navigation Agent Website Agent Simulation Engine loop simulation step newNavigationAgents() loop (navigation agent) updateState(navAgent, action) notify(navAgent, action) alt exit action browse action addToCart action checkout action idle action modifyPage(navAgent, page) << create >> emitAction showPage(navAgent, page) showPage(navAgent, cartPage) showPage(navAgent, homePage) Simulation Engine: discrete event simulation architecture. • The event list only contains events scheduled for the next step; • There are no conditional events; • All the events happen instantaneously; • The events do not depend on other events, they do not require synchronization and may be implemented in a single-threaded engine.
  7. Tests & Validation • Scalability test scenario:  Website: Sample

    website with 9 pages and 32 total links between pages (1 homepage, 1 cart page, 3 product list pages and 4 product pages);  Website agent: Sample agent, does not modify any page;  Navigation agent: Sample agent implementation which picks the next action randomly. Configured with a chance of exiting the website of 1/3 and achange of adding a product to the cart of 1/20 ;  Number of navigation agents: From 1000 to 10000 (increments of 1000);  Number of simulation steps: From 100 to 1000 with increments of 100. 7/11
  8. Tests & Validation Fig. 3: Simulation running time for different

    number of navigation agents and simulation steps. 8/11 R² = 0.9862 R² = 0.9979 R² = 0.9768 R² = 0.995 R² = 0.9943 R² = 0.9875 R² = 0.9776 R² = 0.9925 R² = 0.9913 R² = 0.9958 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 TIME (S) NUMBER OF AGENTS 100 steps 200 steps 300 steps 400 steps 500 steps 600 steps 700 steps 800 steps 900 steps 1000 steps
  9. Tests & Validation • Real-case test scenario • Input data

    and configuration:  the website consists of 2540 pages with 343201 links between pages, spanning 25 base product categories and 103 subcategories;  there are 750 product list pages, 1748 product pages, 1 cart page and 41 uncategorised/generic pages;  affinities with categories defined a priori;  Previous work: Dias, J.P., Ferreira, H.S.: Automating the extraction of static content and dynamic behaviour from e- commerce websites. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Ambient Systems, Networks and Technologies. (2017)  probability of buying set to 5%, probability of leaving the website of 15% and a rate of arrival to the website following a Poisson distribution with λ = 500. • Simulation: simulation was run for 30 steps. • Results:  the number of unique users is 14894 and the expected value is 15000 (500 25);  the bounce rate is 14,6% and the prior leaving rate is 15%;  the conversion rate is 4,7% and the prior buy rate is 5%. 9/11
  10. Related Work • Multi-agent systems metaphor has been applied to

    e-commerce context mostly in two distinct areas, namely, recommendation systems and negotiation. • Petrushin creates a customer model using transaction and click stream data to generate shopping lists. The model is simulated under varying set-up conditions with the goal to develop business strategies.  Petrushin, V.A.: eshopper modeling and simulation. In: Aerospace/Defense Sensing, Simulation, and Controls. pp. 75{83. International Society for Optics and Photonics (2001) • Ahn considers agent-based modelling and evolution strategy for evaluating customer aid functions at Internet stores.  Ahn, H.J.: Evaluating customer aid functions of online stores with agent-based models of customer behavior and evolution strategy. Information sciences (2010) • Yin et al. work presents an agent-based simulation model of business-customer game is developed for computing the utilities after repeated transactions.  Yin, Q., Zhi, K.: Study on multi-agent based simulation process of signaling game in e-commerce. In: International Conference on Information and Management Engineering. pp. 66{72. Springer (2011) • Few works involving agents are described in e-commerce literature. Respect to existing works we have proposed a plug-and-play test-bed to assess user interactions with artefacts that can influence their navigation experience. 10/11
  11. Final Remarks • The present framework is capable of running

    agent-based simulations of users that interact with an e-commerce website. • The framework can be considered to assess recommendation engines performance and optimization of algorithms in e-commerce platforms. • Further steps:  introduce parallelism in the simulation engine for scaling-up the set-up complexity  improve the data analytic process by considering more complex metrics on the navigation agents as well as in the website agents  consider a more extensive definition of the agents action-state space. 11/11