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10 best practices for a successful product recommendations
Customer Engagement

10 best practices for a successful product recommendations

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mediarithmics Team
April 30, 2024

10 best practices for a successful product recommendations

Product recommendation is a powerful lever for e-commerce marketers. It can help to reduce the bounce rate, improve average basket value, and increase sales volume.

However, imprecise or inaccurate recommendations can produce disappointing or even counterproductive results for visitors who are now used to personalised brand experiences.

Here are 10 best practices for successful product recommendations.

1. Define a goal and a strategy

Before doing anything else, start by answering these two questions:

  1. What do you want to achieve through product recommendation?
  2. Which indicators confirm the success of your strategy?

This stage of reflection will enable you to clarify your needs and define a concrete objective, which is essential to measure the effectiveness of your actions.

Here are a few examples of objectives to be pursued through product recommendations:

  • Increase the average basket value
  • Boost the launch of a new product range
  • Increase the conversion rate
  • Clear excess stock

You can pursue several objectives at the same time. You simply need to ensure that each one has its own strategy, KPIs and regular monitoring.

2. Structure your catalogue

Product recommendation can only be effective if your catalogue is properly structured beforehand.

The greater the degree of granularity, the more you can establish targeted strategies and make relevant recommendations.

Among criteria to be defined for each of your products, you can, for example, select the style, the level of promotion, the season or even an event.

3. Analyse your visitors' behaviour

To be effective, your recommendation strategies must be based on the actual behaviour of your visitors:

  1. What type of product are they looking for?
  2. Are they sensitive to promotions?

Find these answers by analysing their order history, their demographic profile, the last products they consulted or their last in-store purchases.

When visitors feel recommendations are relevant, they are more likely to respond favourably.

Advanced tip: Use a Customer Data Platform to refine your recommendation strategy with purchase intent or product affinity scores.

4. Adapt product recommendations to the page on which they are displayed

Each of your e-commerce website's pages is suitable for product recommendation, but will correspond to a different degree of customer maturity in the buying cycle:

  • The home page: this may be the first point of contact with your visitor, so you should focus on displaying the best sellers
  • The basket page: focus on cross-selling to increase the value of the basket
  • The product page: depending on the customer, display suggestions for alternative or complementary products.

Search, category and even error pages also have a role. Adapt your recommendation strategy to each one.

5. Choose relevant headlines

"Our customers also bought", "Previously consulted articles", "Complete your look with", "You might also like"...

To present your recommendations, choose an appropriate, punchy title based on your knowledge of the persona:

  • Are your visitors sensitive to what their peers think?
  • Do they react to FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)?  
  • Do they want a tailor-made experience?

6. Work on your UX

A high quality UX you can maximise the impact of promoting the right product to the right person.

Offer visitors a seamless experience by:

  • Giving them the option of adding the recommended product to the shopping basket in one click
  • Displaying a clear CTA
  • Setting up a pop-up to confirm that the product has been added to the basket.

These are the kind of details that will lead to a successful conversion and encourage repeat purchases.

7. Use social proof

Making a recommendation is great, but proving that the product has been appreciated by others is even better! 75% of internet users say they consult the opinions of other consumers before making a purchase.  

Social proof can take different forms depending on your product:

  • Ratings and reviews
  • Photo of the customer with the product
  • Number of purchases made during the day
  • “Top seller" or "the team recommends" badges.

While social proof reinforces trust and can create a sense of urgency, it does require investment in terms of moderation (monitoring publications, responses, etc.).

8. Run tests

A/B tests are invaluable tools when it comes to optimising your strategy. Failing to use them considerably limits your chances of success. Sometimes just a few adjustments can make all the difference to your sales.

To ensure that your test is relevant, select a representative sample and take the time to analyse the results.

This will also enable you to check that the settings have been made correctly and that they return the right references.

9. Make the most of emailing

Email remains a very effective channel for making highly personalised product recommendations, since you can mention the person's name or recent purchases, for example.

Here are a few situations in which emailing can be used to support your recommendations:

  • Abandoned shopping baskets
  • Order tracking
  • A promotional offer for a birthday
  • Thanking someone for a review of one of your products.

And, while we're on the subject of best practices, don't forget to make it easy to unsubscribe from your list.

10. Don't overuse recommendations

If your visitors receive too many recommendations, you run the risk of losing their attention or even boring them. If you are unsure, always choose quality over quantity. It is better to have two well-targeted, well-placed recommendations than four risky ones.

Imagine that, for your visitor, it's a bit like being approached by a salesperson who wants to recommend a product. If they are looking at a bag, and you interrupt them several times to suggest different pairs of shoes, you're unlikely to be successful.

Thanks to our Merchandising solution, you can apply these best practices and make recommendations that improve conversion rates and average basket values.

Learn more about our Merchandising solution here, or contact us to see how our tool can help you.

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