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1. What is a product recommendation?

Product recommendations: Examples & strategies to boost sales

Product recommendations are a proven way of enhancing the customer journey and uplifting users' shopping experience. With the potential of personalized recommendations to engage customers and drive your sales up, it's time you deliver high-quality, tailored recommendations to witness a remarkable transformation of your ecommerce business.

Ready to supercharge your ecommerce sales in 2024? Let's get started.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Product recommendations personalize the shopping experience, drive customer decision-making, and boost ecommerce sales through strategic analysis of browsing history, purchase patterns, and customer preferences.

  • Effective recommendation strategies include showcasing high-conversion items, personalizing suggestions based on customer segments, and implementing cross-selling and upselling to increase average order value.

  • Integrating recommendations consistently across multiple channels enhances customer engagement while optimizing product pages with engaging content and visuals and promoting exploration and purchase.

  • Advanced techniques like machine learning for dynamic, accurate recommendations, coupled with the use of social proof and personalized email campaigns, heighten the customer's shopping experience and loyalty.

  • Regular analysis and refinement of recommendation strategies ensure their effectiveness and relevance, adapting to evolving consumer trends and preferences for continued ecommerce success.

  • Innovative recommendation practices from industry leaders like Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix, along with the integration of custom print on demand products, highlight the importance of personalization and engagement in modern ecommerce strategies.

What is a product recommendation?

a consumer shopping online with products visible on the screen

A product recommendation is a strategic tool used by online businesses to personalize the online shopping experience. It suggests relevant, trending products to customers based on various factors such as their browsing history, past purchases, or items in their shopping cart. These recommendations, appearing in various formats like 'customers also bought', 'you may also like', or 'frequently bought together', not only help customers to find products they may need or like but also assist businesses in boosting sales, enhancing customer engagement, and increasing customer lifetime value. In a nutshell, product recommendations are a powerful means to drive revenue and improve customer satisfaction.

Understanding the power of product recommendations

In today's digital world, the power of product recommendations cannot be underestimated. When browsing online for the perfect product, customers look for guidance and trust recommendations that resonate with their needs and preferences. A perfectly placed product recommendation can influence the customer's decision-making process, encourage them to explore further, and even increase their basket size. These recommendations don't just boost sales; they can drive customer loyalty by delivering a personalized shopping experience.

How to leverage customer data and purchase history

Employ customer analytics

By exploring consumer behavior analytics, you can uncover patterns, trends, and insights, leading to strategic product recommendations. Evaluation of previous purchases, delivery history, and even discarded cart items offer valuable insights into customer preferences. Implementing a customer profiling system can further streamline this data for ease of use. 

Capitalize on purchase history

Looking into the purchase history of your customers allows you to predict future shopping habits. This prediction enables you to recommend products that customers are most likely to purchase, thus increasing sales. Take advantage of this by segmenting your customers based on purchase history and tailoring your product recommendations accordingly.

10 strategies for effective product recommendations

infographic of the strategies for effective product recommendations / an ecommerce professional analyzing data

We've curated 10 vital strategies that leverage personalization and engagement aimed at enhancing your online store's product recommendations. Let's dive into these methods that'll drive your sales to greater heights in 2024.

1. Highlight high-conversion products

Products with the highest conversion rates are a gold mine. They're the prime candidates to recommend because they've proven popular among online shoppers. But it's not just about making these items prominent. It's about showcasing them the right way. Provide these high-converting products a sense of exclusivity by introducing them as the 'most selling' or 'hot item’. 

Also, be sure to showcase these items in strategic parts of your website, such as the homepage, checkout page, or any web page that's key to conversions. This will both enhance visibility and potentially trigger immediate purchase decisions. The goal here is to capitalize on what's already working, promoting these winners to maximize your success.

2. Tailor relevant recommendations to segmented audiences

It's indisputable that personalized shopping experiences are more appealing to today's consumers. To cater to this, businesses should segment their audience using insights gathered from data analysis or a product recommendation engine. 

Remember, personalization goes beyond addressing a user by their name in an email. Make your product recommendations more accurate by considering a customer's previous browsing behavior, purchase history, and demographic information when crafting personalized recommendations. This way, you're more likely to present them with relevant products they find interesting or useful. 

So whether it's a first-time visitor or a loyal customer, personalized product recommendations that align with their preferences and shopping behavior offer a more targeted and optimized shopping experience, subsequently leading to increased engagement and conversions.

3. Cross-sell and upsell for higher average order value

Implementing a well-crafted cross-sell and upsell strategy can greatly boost your average order value. Cross-selling is the act of recommending related sale items that complement the customers' existing purchase, such as selling a phone case to a customer who just bought a smartphone. 

Upselling, on the other hand, persuades customers to buy a more expensive version of the item or to add extras for an additional cost. This might include offering a higher storage capacity for a smartphone or adding warranty services. 

These strategies, when personalized appropriately, can lead to increased cart sizes, thereby increasing your sales significantly. Furthermore, they enhance customer satisfaction as the recommended products often add value to their initial purchase.

4. Integrate recommendations across multiple channels

Your customers engage with your brand through various digital touchpoints. Therefore, integrating product recommendations across all these channels is pivotal for a consistent and personalized experience. 

Whether they are browsing your website, skimming through an email, or interacting on social media, when customers see relevant product suggestions, it piques their interest and leads to higher engagement rates. 

For instance, integrating dynamic product recommendations into your email campaigns can entice customers to return to your ecommerce store. Similarly, showing personalized product suggestions on social media platforms can attract potential clients and enhance customer loyalty. This multichannel approach ensures a steady and nuanced communication stream that connects with customers wherever they are.

5. Optimize product pages for engagement and sales

Transforming your product pages into engaging spaces can really boost consumer interest, which consequently drives greater sales. Start by making your pages user-friendly, easy to navigate, and filled with relevant information about your products. 

High-quality lifestyle shots, detailed product descriptions, and professionally crafted videos all work to craft an immersive experience. The strategic placement of recommended products on product pages can also encourage further exploration and ultimately enhance conversions. 

Plot these recommendations where customers can easily spot them, such as below the product description or alongside user reviews. 

6. Leverage machine learning for dynamic recommendations

Embracing machine learning is akin to hiring a brilliant, tireless salesperson who knows your customers inside and out. By analyzing vast amounts of customer data, machine learning algorithms can identify patterns and preferences to produce recommendations that get more accurate over time. 

This technology can predict which items a customer is most likely to be interested in based on factors like their browsing history, past purchases, and items they’ve viewed or liked. This allows an online store to offer truly individualized recommendations that 'speak' directly to each customer, making them feel understood and valued.

7. Influence purchases with social proof and reviews

As an ecommerce business, harnessing social proof and customer reviews can significantly boost your product recommendations. When shoppers see products endorsed by real people, they trust your recommendations more. 

Start by featuring star ratings and reviews right beside your product suggestions. You could also showcase user-generated content, such as images or videos of customers using your products. Another powerful tactic is to display 'best-seller' or 'most popular' badges on products in your recommendation lists. 

Beyond creating trust, this strategy also instills a sense of urgency, encouraging customers to make a purchase before popular items run out. Remember, consumers trust other consumers, so use that to your advantage.

8. Utilize visual elements in recommendations

Integrating quality visuals into your product recommendations is a strategy that can significantly boost sales. It's not just about presenting the product neatly; it's about showcasing it in a real-world context that helps your customers envision using it. This could be a product video, user-generated content, or even a 360-degree product view. 

Moreover, visual cues like badges and banners can highlight promotions or discounts or signify top-sellers and new arrivals. Altogether, these visual elements enrich the customer's shopping experience by providing an immersive and engaging product interaction, ultimately influencing their purchase decision.

9. Create email campaigns with personalized product picks

You have a treasure trove of valuable data at your disposal if you take the time to dig into your customers' browsing and purchasing habits. Interpreting this data can help you make smart product recommendations tailored to each customer's needs and preferences. Use these insights to craft personalized email campaigns, each offering a curated selection of products that the recipient is likely to find appealing. 

Known as personalized product picks, these tailor-fit suggestions encourage customers to explore and buy more. Alongside product recommendation engines, brands have found these targeted emails to be a powerful tool for boosting engagement and driving sales, as customers appreciate — and respond positively to — this level of personalization.

10. Analyze and refine recommendation strategies

In your ecommerce journey, it's pivotal to constantly evaluate and fine-tune your recommendation strategies. Begin by analyzing your sales, click-through, and conversion data to understand which recommendations are driving desired outcomes. Leverage tools like A/B testing to know what works and what doesn’t. 

The goal is to make data-driven decisions that enhance the effectiveness of your recommendations and ultimately increase sales. Remember, consumer preferences and trends evolve over time. Regularly updating your strategies based on these changes is key to staying versatile and relevant. Being proactive and responsive isn't just effective—it's necessary for your ecommerce success.

Innovative examples of product recommendations

a collage of the following product recommendations in action / a collage of the business’ logos

From turning big data into big dollars to cleverly integrated content, here are five innovative examples of product recommendations that we should all be taking notes from. These strategies effortlessly blend the art and science of product recommendations: 

1. Amazon's 'customers who bought this item also bought' 

First up is the ecommerce giant, Amazon. It’s worth mentioning their 'Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought' feature, which cleverly suggests related items that other customers have purchased. Not only does this drive additional sales, but it also enhances the overall shopping experience by displaying items the customer may not have considered. 

2. Spotify's 'discover weekly' 

When it comes to enhancing user experience through personalization, Spotify's 'Discover Weekly' sits on the throne. Despite being a music streaming service, the concept is perfectly implementable in ecommerce. This automated personalized playlist is curated based on the individual's listening history and likes. Imagine if online stores could offer similar, personalized product recommendations!

3. Netflix's personalized series and movie recommendations 

Netflix has put a twist on the classic product recommendation strategy with its personalized series and movie recommendations based on viewer’s watching history. It promotes viewer engagement and ensures their suggested content hits the right chord. 

4. ASOS's 'you might also like' 

Then we have ASOS's 'You Might Also Like' feature, which offers outfit-specific product recommendations based on the product the customer is currently viewing. This can significantly boost their average order value as it inspires customers to purchase a complete outfit rather than just one item. 

5. Sephora's beauty quiz 

Sephora's beauty quiz is another exciting example of personalized product recommendations. The quiz tailors product recommendations based on the individual's skin type, personal style, and beauty goals. A definite win as it engages customers and contributes to increasing online sales.

Amplify sales with custom print on demand products

a variety of products available for personalization through Gelato

Ready to give your online store's sales an instant boost? Tap into the world of custom print on demand products. The likes of Gelato's wide and premium range of customizable products offers excellent opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. From stunning wall art to unique t-shirts and more, Gelato empowers your brand to deliver a personalized buying experience. 

Sign up for Gelato today and witness your ecommerce store thrive with strategic product recommendations.


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