E-Commerce Product Recommendations 101

Posted By: editor
Posted On: 17 Jun, 2021

In brick-and-mortar stores, a timely recommendation from a salesperson can convince someone to purchase. In e-commerce, when businesses create such an alternative for a personal guide, they can see more engagement. Product recommendations are those which guide customers to their interests and reduce barriers to purchase.

When used efficiently, product recommendations can completely transform customer interactions, creating a better user experience that leads to more conversions, higher-order value, and overall greater trust in the brand.

Types of Product Recommendations

While there are several options for product recommendations, they fall into two major categories:

  • Un-personalized Recommendations: based on what is popular and relevant to all users
  • Personalized Recommendations: based on shoppers’ previous browsing and purchase history

Here we discuss both in detail and indicate the best way to use them.

Un-personalized Recommendations

Best-Selling Products:

Typically, 20% of the products bring in 80% of the sales (Pareto principle). Businesses can use their sales data to come up with a list of top-selling products and display them as recommendations.

Moreover, browsing best-sellers is a significant starting point for new customers too. It inspires and lets customers get to grips with popular products they are likely to love.

New Arrivals:

Showing the new arrivals is perfect for letting shoppers know what new products came into the store. It can also help regular customers skip the search and jump straight to the latest items.

Featuring a list of trending products is a great way to display real-time recommendations. They show shoppers what is popular that instant.

Businesses can also display products trending on social media. They can even surface social media feeds by featuring hashtags linked to the brand.

Reviews & Ratings Based:

Reviews and ratings are valuable assets for e-commerce. Shoppers get heavily influenced by what others have to say about the products as the reviews and ratings are less biased than the seller’s description. Businesses can capitalize on this by recommending positively reviewed and highly rated products to shoppers.

Personalized Recommendations

Recently Viewed Products:

Shoppers rarely purchase a product the very first time they see it. There are high chances that they might get distracted and get dropped off. It is tricky to find what they saw before. Recommendations based on recently viewed products take the hassle out of the complete process. This feature surfaces the products that the person clicked, browsed before, and makes it easy to pick up where they left off.

Similar Products:

Sometimes shoppers find it tricky to narrow down their search and products they want to see.

Similar product recommendations are an effective way to guide the shopper through their research. It matches the products which are related and displays them next to each other. It’s an effective tool that lets shoppers compare products easily without having to start their search from scratch each time.

Frequently Bought Together:

Recommending items that are frequently bought together will help businesses increase average order value. Once a shopper clicks on an item or puts something in their basket, it’s easy to come up with complementary suggestions. For instance, if shoppers are purchasing a camera, one can suggest a compatible tripod and carry case. If shoppers are purchasing the clothes, motivate them to “complete the look” by showcasing matching accessories.

Best places for incorporating recommendations

Till now, we have seen various product recommendations. But not every recommendation sets well with every step of the customer journey. If the shopper feels bombarded, they might drop off from the journey, and it might cost a sale for the store. Hence, businesses should place these recommendations strategically across web pages (as below) to make them highly visible.

Homepage:

While not always the first touchpoint for shoppers, the homepage is still considered a critical welcoming point for first-time visitors who know little about the brand. This welcome experience is the key to capturing attention. One can capture the customer’s attention by placing recommendations such as “best-selling products”, “new arrivals”, “trending now products”.

Product Detail Pages:

Visitors who land on a product page are still searching for something to buy. While they browse, it is better to offer relevant alternatives and complementary products that pique their interest. Businesses can show recommendations based on “recently viewed products”, “frequently bought together items”.

Category Pages:

Category pages are one of the most effective drivers of discovery in an online store. They store all the relevant products and expose them on a dedicated page, allowing the shopper to narrow down to a particular subcategory to find exactly what they are looking for. Businesses can recommend products based on “most popular”, “best-sellers”, “top-rated” in that category.

Shopping Cart Page:

It is the perfect place for increasing average order value by offering complimentary, related items. Businesses can also introduce free shipping above a particular spend value to reward shoppers to spend more. They can show personalized recommendations – items that the shopper showed interest in but did not yet add to the cart.

Checkout Page:

Product recommendations in terms of last-minute deals on checkout pages can help businesses increase transaction value at the end of the purchase journey. The recommendations can include “on-sale”, “trending products” that convert well.

404 Pages:

Businesses can turn a dead-end into a key part of product recommendation strategy by leading a shopper back into product detail pages of interest. They can recommend “popular products” on the 404 pages and hence turn an unpleasant experience into one of discovery.

Pop-Ups:

The best way to make the most of a pop-up is to use them to display product recommendations at the most crucial times. For instance, if a shopper is about to exit the site, one can entice them with an exit pop-up including products they may have browsed or undiscovered items they may be interested in according to their browsing history. Similarly, one can use abandoned cart pop-ups to re-engage visitors when they return to the site. A pop-up “Pick up where you left off” shows the products left in the cart to remind customers of their last site visit.

Emails:

Email marketing is still the preferred choice to this day despite the tons of marketing options modern-day technology offers. This makes it a perfect tool for upselling and cross-selling via personalized recommendations and recovery of abandoned carts. For instance, businesses can recommend “popular products” to new customers through their welcome emails. Likewise, they can send complementary product recommendations in order confirmation emails.

Conclusion

Implementing product recommendations to the e-commerce store will set it miles apart from competitors. Product recommendations help create a better shopping experience and thus drive more revenue.

However, using them extensively requires careful consideration of the message that it conveys to the shoppers. Over-personalization might give shoppers the feeling that they are being stalked. On the other hand, basing recommendations on just product popularity or new arrivals might leave the shoppers feeling detached from the store. Weighing the balance between these recommendation types will help businesses in telling the story while keeping shoppers engaged with the brand.

Are you wondering about how to start with product recommendations for your e-commerce store?
Halo’s e-commerce reports will provide you with the data on best-sellers, trending products, and many more that you can use to kick start the recommendation system on your store.

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