Improving Sales Forecasting Accuracy: A Tensor Factorization Approach with Demand Awareness

by   Xuan Bi, et al.

Due to accessible big data collections from consumers, products, and stores, advanced sales forecasting capabilities have drawn great attention from many companies especially in the retail business because of its importance in decision making. Improvement of the forecasting accuracy, even by a small percentage, may have a substantial impact on companies' production and financial planning, marketing strategies, inventory controls, supply chain management, and eventually stock prices. Specifically, our research goal is to forecast the sales of each product in each store in the near future. Motivated by tensor factorization methodologies for personalized context-aware recommender systems, we propose a novel approach called the Advanced Temporal Latent-factor Approach to Sales forecasting (ATLAS), which achieves accurate and individualized prediction for sales by building a single tensor-factorization model across multiple stores and products. Our contribution is a combination of: tensor framework (to leverage information across stores and products), a new regularization function (to incorporate demand dynamics), and extrapolation of tensor into future time periods using state-of-the-art statistical (seasonal auto-regressive integrated moving-average models) and machine-learning (recurrent neural networks) models. The advantages of ATLAS are demonstrated on eight product category datasets collected by the Information Resource, Inc., where a total of 165 million weekly sales transactions from more than 1,500 grocery stores over 15,560 products are analyzed.



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