E-Commerce Search - how JCPenney powers Site Search with Machine Learning

Martin Baumgartel and Swaminathan Krishnamurthy • Location: Theater 5 • Back to Haystack 2020

Preamble: Search plays a critical role in E-Commerce. At JC Penney, we receive millions of customer queries of different degree in specification. The task of Search is to match it best to an extensive catalog of an online department store. To do that, JCPenney re-platformed Search in 2018, moving from a licensed search engine to SOLR, with full ownership to cloud-hosting and relevancy ranking in-house. The responsibility for effective relevancy upgrades lies in a (agile) partnership where internal search product management takes full roadmap ownership and defines goals & features, whereas engineering manages implementation.

Presentation: The presentation will share details of JCPenney’s journey to the effect of:

Martin Baumgartel

JC Penny

Martin Baumgartel studied mathematics at the Friedrich Schiller University. He has been involved in projects concerning mass-data retrieval problems during work at the German National Library Institute. After conducting research projects at Deutsche Telekom research labs, he was responsible for large search projects for Deutsche Telekom and its customers. After relocating to the U.S., Martin helped Akamai Technologies launch their mobile product line and introduced it to a variety of E-Commerce clients. Subsequently, he joined the digital division of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts to manage the search experience on various web properties, including disneycruise.com, disneyworld.com, disneyland.com - among others. Martin also worked 6 years at Verizon Wireless as Head of Site Search – introducing search relevancy optimizations for a healthy mix of e-commerce and support related customer queries. In 2019, he joined JC Penney. He is a frequent speaker at industry events about Search and E-Commerce.

Swaminathan Krishnamurthy

JC Penny