Wayfair is an international company with a presence in multiple countries: US, Canada, UK, and Germany. And where our UK customer might look to purchase a “heater”, our US customer might use the term “radiator” to describe the same thing. We want to ensure we’re able to understand that both customers are referring to the same item and interpret feedback left by customers in the form of product reviews correctly.
8 Min Read
In early August, the Data Science (DS) team put on their first DS-wide hackathon. The global hackathon event brought together Boston and Berlin based data scientists for one day of hacking and demos. The event challenged teams to think big about how algorithms can transform Wayfair’s business and help unveil unseen possibilities. Some successful tools and products on our site, like our Visual Search tool, started as hackathon projects! The hackathon is a fun challenge to try out new methods or algorithms, explore a different part of the business, and collaborate with team members across disciplines.
5 Min Read
When people think of Wayfair, they often think of the slick website, catchy TV ads, and personable customer service. They also obviously think of furniture. What they don’t think about, however, is how that furniture gets to the customer. Many people don’t realize that UPS and FedEx won’t bring a dresser or a dining table to their house. They also don’t realize that Wayfair actually maintains and operates a massive supply chain network of carriers, warehouses, and delivery agents that have to work perfectly in sync in order to get your couch to you by Friday. Superior delivery speed, reliability, and low costs are paramount to Wayfair’s success as a business, and these areas are the main concerns of my team, Transportation Engineering (TRNS).
13 Min Read
Search is critical to the customer experience at Wayfair. What we show on the first page of results is incredibly important for users. The graph below shows what many people might already know when it comes to browsing and search habits: The majority of customers rarely look beyond the products on the first page of search results.
7 Min Read
Workplace diversity is not just an ethical issue. Teams that overcome diversity issues (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, experience) often achieve greater productivity than homogeneous teams. If you’re surrounded by people who are different from you, you will be constantly challenged to reexamine facts, think deeper, and explain better. In this way diversity can enhance creativity and boost team performance and technological innovation.
1 Min Read
Come find us! Next week, Wayfair Data Science will be hitting the road. Data scientists and engineers from across our teams will be attending the SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as the International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) in Stockholm, Sweden.
6 Min Read
Wayfair has over nine million unique items in its catalog, and tens of thousands of new ones are added every day. These products come from 8,000 different suppliers who sometimes sell the exact same products -- two completely unrelated suppliers could be buying the exact same area rug from a manufacturer, for example, but giving it slightly different names and even pricing it differently. One of the challenges of maintaining our catalog is therefore the risk of product duplication. At Wayfair, we pride ourselves on giving our customers a great shopping experience, and seeing items that look almost-but-not-quite identical on the site is confusing and might seem unfair, particularly if they have different prices.
4 Min Read
Earlier this month, the Pricing Algorithms team had a Community Service Hack Day here at our office, dedicating an afternoon to work on simple tools that could be used as part of any project. The day was an opportunity to fill any knowledge gaps in how our team overcomes common data problems, improve documentation and testing, and ensure that everyone on our rapidly growing team can learn the technical strengths of other team members.
4 Min Read
In April, I attended the Data Science Research Symposium at University of Massachusetts Amherst and gave a short talk highlighting Wayfair’s marketing data science projects. The full video and slides are below, but here's an overview.
3 Min Read
At the beginning of February, I attended one of ACM's premier conferences, WSDM 2018 in Los Angeles. Apart from the Hollywood-style banquet dinner on a boat, I was looking forward to the opportunity to talk through ideas with some of the brightest minds in the world from both academia and industry. Here are my nuggets from the conference -
4 Min Read