Personalized Query Result Presentation and Offer Composition for E-Procurement Applications

Stefan Fischer

Personalized Query Result Presentation and Offer Composition for E-Procurement Applications

Dissertation, University of Augsburg.
1st Examiner: Professor Dr. W. Kießling
2nd Examiner: Professor Dr. E. André
erschienen 07/2004


As long as there have been database search engines there has been the problem of what to present to the customer when there is no perfect match and how to present that query result to the customer. Respecting the customer’s search preferences is the suitable way to search for best matching alternatives. Modeling such preferences as strict partial orders in "A is better than B" semantics has been proven to be user intuitive in various internet applications. The better the search result, the better is the psychological advantage of the presenter. Thus, there is the necessity to know the quality of the search result with respect to the search preferences. Moreover, for an e-procurement portal it is necessary not only to personalize the composition of the shopping cart but also the price determination for an offer.

This work introduces a novel personalized and situated quality valuation for query results. Based on a human comprehensible linguistic model of five quality categories a very intuitive framework for valuations is defined for numerical as well as for categorical search preferences. These quality valuations provide human comprehensible presentation arguments. Moreover, they are used to compute the situated overall quality of a search result. Then a flexible and situated filter decides which results to present, e.g. by respecting quality requirements of the customer. A so called presentation preference determines which results are predestined to be especially pointed out to the customer. This unique framework, realized as the Preference Presenter technology for query result presentation, enables a search engine to proactively present search results by respecting an underlying strategy, e.g. a special sales strategy.

For the first time it is possible to build a personalized and situated e-procurement portal. Preference based components are combined to effectively manage the work of a human sales agent via internet application. For the modeling of a personalized automatic offer composition widespread IT product standards like BMEcat and eCl@ss are exploited. Two new and extensible e-commerce components of flexible usage are designed, namely an electronic bargainer that is able to use techniques like up, cross, and down selling, and a personalized price offer including a flexible discountframework.

With COSIMAB2B a use case is realized. In the evaluation it is shown that the duties of a human sales agent can be automated. Furthermore, experiments have shown that test customers react similarly to sales strategies that are applied by a computer instead of a human.

Moreover, the Preference Presenter enables lots of further e-commerce applications or advanced search engines to present their search results proactively and more comprehensibly.