Companies nowadays offer a multitude of items. This gives customers a lot of choice but can also hinder their search.
Due to time constraints and the accepted level of effort exerted on a search, customers may not be able to go through all of the items on the site. As a result, some customers cannot find the exact item they were looking for or an item they truly desire. Consequently, some customers may purchase an item with a high level of cognitive dissonance or not make a purchase at all.
This is where presenting customers with personalized product recommendations can help. These recommendations allow customers to find the products they need and are relevant to them quickly and easily. The items generated are personalized according to the individual’s browse and purchase behavior and product information (such as product inventory). They are created in real-time in order to be the most accurate and relevant as possible.
This optimizes the products discovery process and eliminates the issue of long and effortful searches. The ease of use and being given more (and relevant) choice enhance the user experience and as a result enhance the customer engagement and brand loyalty. On top of that, personalized product recommendations tend to trigger impulse purchases as well as induce a higher average order value.
Accordingly, personalized product recommendations induce more conversions, as customers who click on the product recommendations have a 5.5 times higher conversion rate than those who do not. Overall, the personalized product recommendations account for 12% of total revenues.
Indeed, after implementing Barilliance’s personalized product recommendations, 3balls.com saw a substantial increase in their conversion rate with nearly 30% of shoppers responding to it favorably.
So what kinds of product recommendations can you use?
It is important to know that product recommendations come in many shapes and forms and can be used in many different manners. Here are some variations you can examine and use:
Type of products recommended:
– Manually selected featured products on the home page
– New arrivals
– Best sellers
– Top reviewed/ top rated
– Sales and offers
– Personalized featured products on the home page
– Similar items (upselling)
– Complementary items (cross-selling)
– Recently viewed
Titling the recommendations:
The similar and complementary products recommendations can be expressed in many different ways, which affects how they are perceived and thereby how effective they are. For example, similar items can be titled “visitors who viewed this product also viewed” or “customers also bought”, while complementary items can be titled “you might also like” or “complete the look with”.
What type to present to whom?
It is important to segment new and returning visitors. Since you don’t have information on new users, you should use generic product recommendations.
Once the customer has started browsing the site, you can start gathering more information about them. Then you can start to match the type of generic recommendation to each customer. For example, if the customer has sorted the items on the category page from low to high, the customer is likely to be price-sensitive and so they should be presented with recommendations of sales and offers.
Once the customer has started viewing some items, you now have information about their preferences and needs. For such shoppers, as well as returning visitors (which you have past information of), you should present with personalized recommendations.
Location of the recommendations:
The product recommendations can be used on any page, such as landing, category, product detail, out of stock, shopping cart, search results and confirmation pages. Personalized product recommendations can also be used on cart abandonment emails, to return the customer to the site by attracting them with more relevant products.
On each page, the visitor is at a different stage of their journey, the goal of the recommendations is different and you have different amount of information about the customer. Therefore, on each page, the product recommendations type, title and message will differ.
For example, see how the message of the recommendations changes between the product and cart pages to suit each location:
For the best practices of product recommendations, refer to this study.