Sometimes I feel my Netflix account knows me better than some of my best friends do. Why would I say that? Well, it cares about my preferences, remembers what I like, and recommends shows accordingly. It makes my life super easy. All thanks to its recommendation engine, which Netflix thinks is worth at least a billion dollars.
By recommending relevant products, Amazon increased its revenue from $9.9 billion to $12.83 billion for the 2nd quarter of 2019 compared to the previous year.
The most sophisticated E-commerce brands now heavily rely on data patterns created by users just like OTT platforms like Netflix, Hot Star and Amazon Prime have been doing to keep their consumers engaged.
Recommendation engines powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning work the same magic for both the content and product recommendations. These recommendations become even more compelling when they are personalized to each user.
An Accenture report suggests “personalized recommendations increase chances of conversion by 75%”.
A Salesforce study revealed, “product recommendations account only 7% of e-commerce traffic but make up for 24% of orders and 26% of revenue.”
Well, this pretty much explains what recommendation engines are capable of. Can you afford to overlook these compelling statistics? No, right? And thus, it’s important for you to know the best product recommendation practices ecommerce experts are using for customer acquisition and boost their lifetime value.
Here are some of the most intelligent personalized and non-personalized recommendation practices that will help you sell more products more often.
- “Recommended For you”- Based on browsing history
Now that’s where the intelligence of your recommendation engine comes into the picture. This is one of the most impactful and common types of product recommendations based on your visitor’s browsing history, actions, location, device, add to cart choices, likes, or favourites.
These recommendations are either relevant or alternative to the products they recently viewed. Customers love seeing products that match their tastes or preference. Also, alternatives products allow your customers to make comparisons.
- “You might also like” – The classic way to cross-sell
I have fallen for this so many times. I often land on a product page and end up clicking on the products labelled under the tab “you might also like”.
These options usually allow you to choose similar products from different brands, styles, colours, and price ranges. You will be spoiled for choices, but most likely, you will end up making an informed decision.
The reason? People landing on product pages are usually open to more choices as they are still on search mode. So while they are at it, you can use the opportunity slip in alternative or relevant items by setting a dynamic up-selling or cross-selling filter via your recommendation engine.
- Personalize your Search Pages – To individualize the web or App viewing experience
If your returning customer has landed on your search page of a specific product category, the best bet for you is to dynamically push items from their search history above the fold in that particular category.
This will personalize their site or App viewing experience and also individualize their buying journey, creating a complete 1-to-1 experience with your brand.
- Personalize email campaigns using recommendation engine
Your Omni-channel personalization engine will know the search history of your customers. You can always use the data patterns created by users and the potential of email marketing to remarket the products your visitors are likely to buy.
I searched for some kurtas on cilory.com, and they remarketed the same designs through email marketing. Such personalized recommendations on email definitely strike a cord and can help generate massive revenue for your e-commerce store.
- Personalize recommendations based on previous purchases
If your recommendation engine helps you recommend items based on previous purchases, you are investing heavily in your customer lifetime value. For example, if your customer frequently buys skincare products from your e-store, you can always make similar recommendations from other brands based on high ratings or popularity.
These are more of “you might also like” recommendations where you upsell the kind of products that matches your customer style. It’s crucial to analyse right behaviour to make such behavioural-based recommendations.
If your customer likes to buy clothes made from eco-friendly fiber, you would want to consider recommending other environmentally friendly or green products to uplift customer retention and conversions.
- Shopping Cart – Personalize it as much as possible!
Your customer is about to check out. They are in a very favourable and elevated emotional state. This is your prime time for upselling and your last chance to increase the AOV (average order value).
You can make your recommendations as personalized as possible for they have finished 3 to 5 steps long customer journey and you have plenty of information about them.
- You can always recommend products they have previously viewed, maybe under the title “Did you forget something?”
- Offer similar products other shoppers purchased or items related to their previous orders
- You know their product category preference, price and other attributes like brands by this time, show them their preferable items
Up to 25% of customers who click on these recommendations actually order the item. It’s also the perfect time to add complementary items to the cart.
A study conducted by salesforce says, “Shoppers that clicked on recommendations are 4.5x more likely to add items to cart, and 4.5x more likely to complete their purchase.”
Free shipping incentives can also be a strong decisive factor in adding recommended products in the cart.
- New Version of the item available
Yet another compelling way to personalize shopping experience. If your customer has bought an i-Watch, you must keep them updated with the latest iWatch series as soon as you have it on your stock.
- Use 404 Errors and Out of stock pages for recommendations
Let’s accept it; such errors while shopping online can be a real mood killer. Now that you have a lot of examples for product recommendations, how about using them on your site or App’s error pages. You can always use error pages to display
- “Recommended for you” products (based on behaviour or browsing history)
- Bestsellers to keep your customers engaged
- Items related to browsing history
- The classic – Promote your best sellers
“80% of a company’s profits tend to come from 20% of the products sold”.
Now, who does not want to see the best of the lot? Almost everyone, right? You don’t even need advanced-level tracking for this. Your recommendations engine can help keep track of your most popular products and make recommendations under the “Best Seller” label. The “bestseller” items can also add social proof, which will help you drive conversions.
Your “top seller” recommendations are likely to drive sales from first-time visitors who may or may not what they are looking for. Since you haven’t collected any behavioural data from your first-time visitors, this calls for showcasing items that have a proven rate of conversion.
According to Baymard Institute’s research, 25% of test visitors scour up and down the homepage to take a quick review of the site’s product offerings, making your homepage the most crucial page to highlighting your “top seller” items.
The popular ecommerce website Etsy helps its customers catch up to the latest trends by showcasing trendy items under the banner “popular right now” on their homepage.
- “Frequently bought together” – The practical approach
Many a time, customers don’t know the best combination of items. Some of the best e-commerce sites like Flipkart and Amazon cross-sell relevant products to increase Average Order Value (AOV).
The simplest example of his could be if your customer buys an expensive camera, you can always include a camera bag and memory card in your “frequently bought together” tab. You are not only selling more items and making more profits but also enhancing your customer’s buying experience.
- Use Recommendation popups
Product recommendations popups are not very common. So this may give you an edge. Depending on where your customers are in their buying cycle, you can guide them in the right direction. Recommendation Popups can work the best for your top sellers or seasonal sellers.
I came across popup recommendations on NY Forms, a Danish website specializing in sports and leisure clothing. On their category page of fleeces, I came across a slide-in popup saying “the must-haves of the season for women.”
Once you click on that, it will show three bestselling items related to fleeces. And once you click on the CTA, it will take you to the product page for more details.
- Use the power of titles
A lot of ecommerce websites use impressively creative titles to grab your attention. I personally love this website called headphone zone for the kind of recommendations they make on their home page.
A lot of users don’t know what kind of headphones suits them best and to make sure they sell the right product to right people, the website has this recommendation called “Can We Help You Pick a Headphone?” Now won’t that make your search easy? I certainly made mine.
Also they have this title recommendation called “Audiophiles Stop Here” for hard core music enthusiasts who might be looking for the best of the lot.
Another interesting recommendation title is “Working From Home? Now this one is quite impactful knowing a lot of people must have invested in buying decent headphone while working from home.
So don’t under estimate the power of titles when making recommendations to your users.
75% of online customers prefer a personalized shopping experience. Don’t let them down. You can individualize customer experience at scale by incorporating product recommendations on all the relevant sections of your site or App with the help of captivating titles.
Some of our customers have seen a 16X increase in ROI and a 7% increase in conversions with advanced dynamic personalization.
One last word of wisdom. Now is the best time to maximize the use of product recommendations as customers prefer online shopping due to the ongoing crisis. You can attract them and convince them that you care about their preference.