A configuration-based recommender system for supporting e-commerce decisions

Michael Scholz, Verena Dorner, Guido Schryen, Alexander Benlian

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Multi-attribute value theory (MAVT)-based recommender systems have been proposed for dealing with issues of existing recommender systems, such as the cold-start problem and changing preferences. However, as we argue in this paper, existing MAVT-based methods for measuring attribute importance weights do not fit the shopping tasks for which recommender systems are typically used. These methods assume well-trained decision makers who are willing to invest time and cognitive effort, and who are familiar with the attributes describing the available alternatives and the ranges of these attribute levels. Yet, recommender systems are most often used by consumers who are usually not familiar with the available attributes and ranges and who wish to save time and effort. Against this background, we develop a new method, based on a product configuration process, which is tailored to the characteristics of these particular decision makers. We empirically compare our method to SWING, ranking-based conjoint analysis and TRADEOFF in a between-subjects laboratory experiment with 153 participants. Results indicate that our proposed method performs better than TRADEOFF and CONJOINT and at least as well as SWING in terms of recommendation accuracy, better than SWING and TRADEOFF and at least as well as CONJOINT in terms of cognitive load, and that participants were faster with our method than with any other method. We conclude that our method is a promising option to help support consumers’ decision processes in e-commerce shopping tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205 - 215
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research (EJOR)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502050 Business informatics

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