Time to go Beyond the Basic—Product Recommendation in 2019

User-generated ratings and reviews are already established confidence-builder among online shoppers. But retailer product recommendations also affect the decision making—to a larger extent than you might imagine it to.

Product recommendations can literally multiply profits, there is no denying that. E-tailers are widely using it already, particularly the ones ahead in the game. Shoppers now expect to see recommendations and the benefits are indisputable.

A survey by Monetate set out to qualify the sales impact on product recommendations. They went on to compare shoppers—those who saw recommendations but didn’t engage with the ones who actively engaged with recommendations. The results were smashing. The shoppers who engaged with recommended products had a 70% higher conversion rate during that session. Return session also benefited from it by standing at 55%. The online retail browsers were 20% more likely to return to the site later.

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Getting product recommendations right is easier said than done. Another survey by Bazaarvoice, in 2018, showed that 38% of USA’s digital shoppers said they would stop shopping at a retailer that made no or poor recommendations. And this sentiment was found to remain consistent across different retailer including apparel and accessories, health and beauty and sporting goods.


Accurate recommendations go hand in hand with the current marketing mandate for personalization. More than one-third of e-tailers, in a survey by Boston Retail Partners, held in April 2018, viewed personalized recommendations as a customer priority.

These surveys and analysis are something most eCommerce retailers must’ve had an idea about on a certain level. Most of them ought to have some form of product recommendation on their websites and apps but are they covering it all? Or are they still stuck with the basics?

The world of product recommendations has moved on. There are now available greater varieties of ways to display them and choose from. What’s more, they’re all tied to customer behavior.

So how can you deepen your knowledge and insights with your customers to provide a personalized experience? How can you extend your efforts across every customer touchpoint on all your channels?

In this post, we’ll explore just that—how personalized product recommendations, anchored with the right techniques, can successfully increase revenue for your eCommerce store.

Product Recommendations—Why is it Profitable?

Supporting the statistics provided above in the post, here are some reasoning pointers available for you to get more convinced on personalized and dynamic product recommendations being extremely essential for your business. Logic makes the information reliable, so here goes:

  • Recommendations echo the items suggestions made by in-store sales representatives that some customers desire or require. This is taken care of on-site with the product recommendation engine automatically generating suggestions based on a combination of rules.
  • It provides the e-shoppers with the quickest and easiest way to view all items relevant for them. This can further motivate ‘just browsing’ visitors to make a purchase, help ‘lost’ customers find that ideal product, and also encourage ‘big’ shoppers to add an item or two to their carts.
  • It is extremely vital to understand the philosophy of the right things happening the right way at the right time. Using product recommendation in an efficient manner is sure to result in optimization of the product discovery process, enhanced customer experience, increase in impulse purchases, also higher engagement, conversions, average order value, loyalty, and retention. What else can a marketer need?

Product Recommendation—Types and Tips to Seize More Sales

With the given vastness of the data available for eCommerce retailers, ensuring that all the key information is properly captured and further used to your brand’s advantage, can be a tough challenge to seek. Let’s have a look at various product recommendation tactics to help you get better results this year.

1. Homepage Recommendations

Unlock the full potential of your homepage by incorporating personalized product recommendation. By applying this feature e-tailers have witnessed a mindboggling increase in conversion rate by as high as 248%.

Homepage Recommendations

A first time visitor will be shown recommendations based on the popular products that depend on what other shoppers are browsing and their buying patterns. On that same visitor visiting your site again, they should be able to find personalized recommendations on their homepage based on their browsing habits from the past.

By implementing a feature like this—personalized product recommendation, the overall online store sales have also seen grown by 0.5%.

You should, within your homepage, track clicks, mouse movements, and scrolls. This will enable you to create a heatmap of where each visitor fixates their attention. Place your recommendations strategically by analyzing where most of the interactions happen.

By trying A/B testing homepage recommendation strategy you can effectively compare which of the version of your homepage gives better results. Try making a few tweaks here and there on your home page and test it out who knows what might improve the effectiveness of your homepage activity.

2. Category Recommendations

Instead of recommending products from the entire vastness of your store it is a better idea to recommend best-selling products from the categories your customers in the past ordered from. This will help with them discovering the products they might have missed while shopping from your brand in the past.

Category Recommendations

Category page recommendations create algorithms to be able to offer categories precisely, suiting the shoppers using the data on their previous browsing sessions and/or purchases. Need an additional 1.3% boost in your revenue? Optimizing product category pages is actually to way to go.

If a customer hasn’t visited your site for a few weeks, you can totally leverage this recommendation type in order to bring the back using email (we shall discuss that further in the post). Incorporate best-sellers from their favorite category and by doing this you increase the chances of them coming back and making a purchase with your brand, much more probable.

So, this kind of product recommendation can be very effective if used in reward emails or inactive customer wingbacks by helping your dear clients discover products relevant to them.

The wonderful news is that this type of recommendation type does not only work for previous shoppers. For those, who are visiting your site for the very first time and those you don’t have any data on—recommend your best-selling products or promote sales o new arrivals.

3. Product Page Recommendation

Capture consumers’ shopping patterns, behavior, purchase history and wishlist to be able to present recommendations that vary from shopper to shopper. These collected insights can further be used to identify and create key personas or social groups and automate the process of providing the customers with intelligent and relevant recommendations that can increase the average order value.

Product Page Recommendation

And the most obvious way to use these personalized product recommendations is on the product page itself. As the visitors of your website navigate deeper into the pool of the product pages, you can simultaneously unlock their real interests with the data collected on how they browse and search. Subsequently, remodel the recommendations—dynamically adapting to the products they are looking at.

Conversions can increase by 411%  just by using product selections based on their interests. Also, by improving your recommendations on your product page you can boost your revenue by 6.5%.

You can also choose to drive your product page recommendations based on people buying certain items after making a purchase of a particular product. Create a recommendation for those slots and see the magic.

4. Shopping Cart Recommendations

Some online stores display a one-step checkout process which makes their intention of seeking conversion above anything else, clear. This, by the way, is a good approach as long as you are aware of this another opportunity to increase the average shopping cart by means of cross-selling.

Shopping Cart Recommendations

It’s true that certain marketers avoid adding anything that can prevent or distract customer and create a one-step checkout process on this probable last page before completing a purchase with your site. This, however, is not the best idea as avoiding product recommendations in the shopping cart will prevent you from maximizing sales opportunities.

Try and inject up-selling and cross-selling techniques as the shopping cart is a great touchpoint for the same purpose based on shopper’s browsing activity and purchase history. This can help you add more sales by 1.5%.

When done right, cross-sell product recommendations usually aren’t received by shoppers as an intrusive, pushy effort to increase sales. They need to appear as a natural and helpful extension to your service, that shoppers don’t mind receiving for their ability to reduce browsing effort or forgetfulness. Implementing effective cross-sell recommendations have gone on to improve several brands’ customer retention and also has had a significant effect on extending customer lifecycle.

5. On-site Search Result Recommendations

Online search results can potentially prove to be a good avenue to be able to recommend the right products. As a marketer, you need to ensure that your on-site search result page recommends only the right products based on the search term entered by the user. By putting the relevant products and subsequently recommending more similar products you can push your sales by 2.3%.

‘No results found’ is a dreadful situation that brands face every now and then. But there lies a way to be able to avoid it and address this gap. You can use products recommendations that will up-sell or cross-sell the closest item based on the search term.

For digital marketers, the on-site search has only recently become part of the conversation. Probably because it has recently come to notice that performing an on-site search is a strong behavioral predictor of intent to convert.

On-site Search Result Recommendations

When one measures the “On-Site Search Pillars” of search behavior, search findability–‘quality’ is the ultimate goal to truly understand on-site search. The most basic pillar and arguably the most important one is search behavior. In order to acquire actionable information the first thing that needs to be understood well is the customer behavior as they happen to interact with the on-site search.

6. Personalized Email Recommendations

Email marketing strategy has surpassed the test of time and is still going strong when it comes to its marketing strategy effectiveness. Time and again, email marketing has proved its worth and is still able to provide sales with revenue investment conversion as high as 4300%.

Personalized Email Recommendations

But, the traditional email marketing has undergone some updating to be able to provide more customized engagement for the customers. The more these shoppers are presented with relevant emails contents, the higher the email open rate, website visits and most importantly an increase in potential purchases.

By using browse abandonment emails you target the users that have shown interest in particular products and have spent a considerable amount of time browsing through them but did not add any of it to the cart. In a scenario, likes this it becomes important for you to capture these visitors and send them an email designed to remind about the items they viewed. Within your email, you must also recommend similar or complementary products to maximize your strategy.

Also, when a visitor is adding something in the cart but leaves your site without pushing through with the purchase, you need to know it’s time for a cart abandonment email. Trigger this reminder about the items in the cart and subsequently within that email, cross-sell and up-sell similar and relevant items for each.

7. Order Confirmation Recommendations

Don’t stop adding more to the purchases of your customers. Don’t just end it post them successfully purchasing some products. Be that brilliant seller who maximizes the opportunity by recommending more.

Order Confirmation Recommendations

Your order confirmation can also be a great way to achieve that. Basically, showing the products that the customer bought, the order confirmation page becomes a great avenue for suggesting products that they may find relevant and hence interested in buying. This comes with the potential of adding more value to your sales by 0.3%.

This can be seen as a great of thanking your customers for their recent purchase—by showing them the confirmation of their order with an included message of products they may be interested in. And if you happen to be sending an order confirmation emails, use this opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell recommended items as discussed above. In order to stir more interest and persuasion, this is a good way to include discounts or freebies, redeemable on their next purchase.

So how will you Use Product Recommendations to Boost your Sales?

Now, by the conclusion of the article, you must have an idea on how marketers can use product recommendations for a conversion boost–it’s time to integrate them and see the results for yourself.

Create the most engaging recommendation types. You should keep experimenting with titles to determine which words or phrases are driving clicks on your site.

Remember, whatever may be the type of recommendation, data always remains the key. Recommendations based on purchase history, context, customer behavior, popularity, and so on are ones sending which your conversion rate is bound to go higher up.

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