Sales Forecasting with Python and GridDB

Sales forecasting is processing of estimating future sales for a given period based on past data. Forecasting is a valuable tool that dictates the profitability of many companies and is thus an important skill to learn. It helps guide planning and direction for the company. There are several methods out there like Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA), Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving-Average (SARIMA), Vector several (VAR), and so on. In this post we will use Keras for implementing a Long Short-term Memory (LSTM) model. LSTMs are a class of neural networks that are robust to feedback loops.

One for the main problems with Recurrent Neural networks is that over time, the information maintained in the hidden state gets overloaded. LSTMs maintain a additional hidden state that persists from step to step, this helps with the overloading. More details about LSTMs can be found here. We will use GridDB which is highly scalable and ensures high reliability, as a result it can serve as a great database for neural networks training and inference. Installing GridDB is simple and is well documented here. To check out the python-GridDB client please refer to this video.



Let us setup GridDB first!

Quick setup of GridDB Python Client on Ubuntu 20.04:

  • Install GridDB

Download and install the deb from here.

  • Install C client

Download and install the Ubuntu from here.

  • Install requirements

1) Swig console wget tar xvfz v4.0.2.tar.gz cd swig-4.0.2 ./ ./configure make

2) Install python client

wget \ 
unzip . 

Make sure you have python-dev installed for the corresponding python version. We will use python 3.8 for this post.

3) We also need to point to the correct locations

export CPATH=$CPATH:<python header file directory path> 
export LIBRARY_PATH=$LIBRARY_PATH:<c client library file directory path> 

We can also use GridDB with docker as shown here

Python libraries

Next we install the python libraries. Installing plotly, numpy, keras, tensorflow and pandas is a simple pip install.

pip install keras 
pip install numpy 
pip install tensorflow 
pip install plotly 
pip install pandas 


Step 1: Downloading Dataset

we can download the data from this Kaggle project. The dataset contains Order Info, Sales, Customer, Shipping, etc., and can be used for Segmentation, customer analytics, clustering and so on. We will use it for sales forecasting, so we are only concerned with sales and order dates. We will predict monthly sales.

Step 2: Importing Libraries

import numpy as np 
import pandas as pd 
import plotly.offline as pyoff 
import plotly.graph_objs as go 

Step 3: Data Loading and Processing

Loading Data

data=pd.read_csv('/content/sales_data_sample.csv', encoding='cp1252') 

Note the encoding option used above.

Alternatively, we can use GridDB to get this data frame.

Feature Encoding

First, we collate the data at the monthly level. We simply se the date for each day to the first day of the month. Then we make average sales in the month. Note that not all days will have sales in each month.

data['ORDERDATE'] = pd.to_datetime(data['ORDERDATE']) 
data['ORDERDATE'] = data['ORDERDATE'].dt.year.astype('str') + '-' + data['ORDERDATE'].dt.month.astype('str') + '-01' 
data['ORDERDATE'] = pd.to_datetime(data['ORDERDATE']) 
data = data.groupby('ORDERDATE').SALES.mean().reset_index() 

Next, we plot the sales. We see some seasonality in the data, especially around the month of November.

plot_data = [ 
plot_layout = go.Layout( 
        title='Monthly Sales' 
fig = go.Figure(data=plot_data, layout=plot_layout) 

Next, we add a column for the difference of the sales, and drop the nulls, only the last values will be null as we cannot make a difference for that. The we create a few lags; lags allow the model to learn from not just the last but also the sales from before.

df_supervised = data.copy() 
df_supervised['prev_sales'] = df_supervised['SALES'].shift(1) 
df_supervised['diff'] = (df_supervised['SALES'] - df_supervised['prev_sales'])
df_supervised = df_supervised.drop(['prev_sales'],axis=1) 
for inc in range(1,3): 
    field_name = 'lag_' + str(inc) 
    df_supervised[field_name] = df_supervised['diff'].shift(inc) 
#drop null values 
df_supervised = df_supervised.dropna().reset_index(drop=True) 

Splitting Data into Validation and Train

Next, we split the data into tests and train. We have used the last 6 months to test.

from sklearn.preprocessing import MinMaxScaler 
df_model = df_supervised.drop(['SALES','ORDERDATE'],axis=1) 
#split train and test set 
train_set, test_set = df_model[0:-6].values, df_model[-6:].values 

We will also scale the data. Note that we scale the test and the train set separately. This is done so that the train and test sets remain independent.

#apply Min Max Scaler 
scaler = MinMaxScaler(feature_range=(-1, 1)) 
scaler = 
# reshape training set 
train_set = train_set.reshape(train_set.shape[0], train_set.shape[1]) 
train_set_scaled = scaler.transform(train_set) 
# reshape test set 
test_set = test_set.reshape(test_set.shape[0], test_set.shape[1]) 
test_set_scaled = scaler.transform(test_set) 
X_train, y_train = train_set_scaled[:, 1:], train_set_scaled[:, 0:1] 
X_train = X_train.reshape(X_train.shape[0], 1, X_train.shape[1]) 
X_test, y_test = test_set_scaled[:, 1:], test_set_scaled[:, 0:1] 
X_test = X_test.reshape(X_test.shape[0], 1, X_test.shape[1]) 

Step 4: Prediction

Next, we start the prediction process.


We first create an LSTM model in Keras. for that we use the LSTM layer.

# define the keras model 
from keras.models import Sequential 
from keras.layers import LSTM, Dense 
model = Sequential() 
model.add(LSTM(4, batch_input_shape=(1, X_train.shape[1], X_train.shape[2]), stateful=True)) 


Next, we compile the model. We use the mean_squared_error as the loss and evaluate it on accuracy.

model.compile(loss='mean_squared_error', optimizer='adam', metrics=['accuracy']) 

Next, we train the model for 100 epochs., y_train, epochs=100, batch_size=1, verbose=1, shuffle=False) 
Epoch 72/100 

20/20 [==============================] - 0s 2ms/step - loss: 0.1302 - accuracy: 0.0000e+00 
Epoch 73/100 
20/20 [==============================] - 0s 2ms/step - loss: 0.1287 - accuracy: 0.0000e+00 
Epoch 74/100 
20/20 [==============================] - 0s 2ms/step - loss: 0.1272 - accuracy: 0.0000e+00 
Epoch 75/100 
20/20 [==============================] - 0s 2ms/step - loss: 0.1258 - accuracy: 0.0000e+00 
Epoch 76/100 
20/20 [==============================] - 0s 2ms/step - loss: 0.1244 - accuracy: 0.0000e+00 

Evaluation and Predictions

Finally, we evaluate the test set, then we rescale the predictions and plot it along with the ground truth.

y_pred = model.predict(X_test,batch_size=1) 
y_pred = y_pred.reshape(y_pred.shape[0], 1, y_pred.shape[1]) 

pred_test_set = [] 
for index in range(0,len(y_pred)): 

pred_test_set = np.array(pred_test_set) 
pred_test_set = pred_test_set.reshape(pred_test_set.shape[0], pred_test_set.shape[2]) 
pred_test_set_inverted = scaler.inverse_transform(pred_test_set) 

result_list = [] 
sales_dates = list(data[-7:].ORDERDATE) 
act_sales = list(data[-7:].SALES) 
for index in range(0,len(pred_test_set_inverted)): 
    result_dict = {} 
    result_dict['pred_value'] = int(pred_test_set_inverted[index][0] + act_sales[index]) 
    result_dict['ORDERDATE'] = sales_dates[index] 

df_result = pd.DataFrame(result_list) 
#merge with actual sales dataframe 
df_sales_pred = pd.merge(data,df_result,on='ORDERDATE',how='left') 
#plot actual and predicted 
plot_data = [ 
plot_layout = go.Layout( 
        title='Sales Prediction' 
fig = go.Figure(data=plot_data, layout=plot_layout) 

We see that the predictions are close. and off by a few 100. This shows the power of forecasting where we can get a close enough prediction in a matter of minutes with a quite simple model.


In this post we learned how to train an LSTM forecasting model with Keras, python and gridDB.