This thesis dives into the world of machine learning by attempting to create an application that will accurately predict whether or not a sneaker will resell at a profit. To begin this study, I first researched different machine learning algorithms to determine which would be best for this project. After ultimately deciding on using an artificial neural network, I then moved on to collecting data, using StockX and Twitter. StockX is a platform where individuals can post and resell shoes, while also providing statistics and analytics about each pair of shoes. I used StockX to retrieve data about the actual shoe, which involved retrieving data for the network feature variables: gender, brand, and retail price. Additionally, I also retrieved the data for the average deadstock price for each shoe, which describes what the mean price of new, unworn shoes are selling for on StockX. This data was used with the retail price data to determine whether or not a shoe has been, on average, selling for a profit. I used Twitter’s API to retrieve links to different shoes on StockX along with retrieving the number of favorites and retweets each of those links had. These metrics were used to account for ‘hype’ of the shoe, with shoes traditionally being more profitable the larger the hype surrounding them. After preprocessing the data, I trained the model using a randomized 80% of the data. On average, the model had about a 65-70% accuracy range when tested with the remaining 20% of the data. Once the model was optimized, I saved it and uploaded it to a web application that took in user input for the five feature variables, tested the datapoint using the model, and outputted the confidence in whether or not the shoe would generate a profit.
From a technical perspective, I used Python for the whole project, while also using HTML/CSS for the front-end of the application. As for key packages, I used Keras, an open source neural network library to build the model; data preprocessing was done using sklearn’s various subpackages. All charts and graphs were done using data visualization libraries matplotlib and seaborn. These charts provided insight as to what the final dataset looked like. They showed how the brand distribution is relatively close to what it should be, while the gender distribution was heavily skewed. Future work on this project would involve expanding the dataset, automating the entirety of the data retrieval process, and finally deploying the project on the cloud for users everywhere to use the application.