Did you know that 70% of Amazon’s homepage is devoted to personalized recommendation, and 100% of top 10 world’s leaders in eCommerce now use product recommendation to boost revenue by 74%?

You’re doing online business and you don’t have it in your sales and marketing plan? You’re ignoring a chance to increase conversion rates by 150%. Product recommendation is the ruling trend, the ultimate strategy in the eCommerce world.

So what’s now?

Best Practices in e-Commerce world:

Amazon, Best Buy and Overstock, Asos and many other top eCommerce websites in the world are focusing on optimizing product recommendation system to maximize sales by increasing cart size and enhancing customer personalized experiences.

product recommendation

There are many types of product recommendations basically divided into 3 groups:

  • Generic: recommendations that do not depend on any item as a baseline; it instead suggests common products for all customers (Eg: New Arrivals, Featured on Stores, Best-seller…)
  • Complementary: recommendations of items that may go well with and enhance the selections of customers
  • Alternative: offer products that are similar to customer’s choice and can be bought as a replacement

Each recommendation type would work best at specific stages in the customer’s conversion funnel, so putting the right widgets on the right pages is critical to drawing positive results. Let’s see how widgets are placed on the top-leading e-Commerce websites and pick up best practices for your store.

#1. 70% of the homepage is devoted to product recommendations. Is that too much a strategy?

Amazon.com is well-known for dedicating 70% of its homepage to recommendations of various types. Amazon does a very good job in instantly impressing its customers by showing how personalized the site’s content can be when they first embark on the storefront. There are at least 6-8 widgets of recommendations right on the entry-point of this site.

If you are a first-time visitor, Amazon’s homepage will suggest the generic recommendations, such as “What Other Customers Are Looking At Right Now”,  “[A category] Best Sellers”, “Top-Rated Products”:

Recommendation on Amazon Homepage

Recommendation on Amazon Homepage

Next times you visit the site, it will add on personalized suggestions after discovering your tastes and preferences based on browsing and purchasing history on the site. I myself tested this by browsing some women’s pull-shirts, then came back to the homepage and saw these very nice and relevant recommendations:

Recommendation on Amazon Homepage

Since 1995, Amazon has established itself as the world’s leader in e-commerce. Its success is not merely the result of being in the right place at the right time, but the direct result of excellent user experience. Looking at what is live right now, it proves that product recommendations really works.

But why? Though we don’t have a firm answer from Amazon as to why they design their homepage to be seemingly overwhelming with recommendations like that, we can make a good guess. The homepage is the store-front of the website or the very first place to impress visitors and make them decide to whether move on to inside pages or leave. Amazon puts all their best, hottest and top on stock there, offering customers so many choices that they just cannot leave without checking a few items.

However, for small and medium websites, the case may be a little bit different. Be careful not to overwhelm shoppers with too many recommendations on landing page unless they are relevant, hot and irresistible. Otherwise, room should be spared for information and teasers that help customers grasp the overall look and style of the store. The best way to decide which way work better is testing on your own website.

#2. Perfect location to up-sell and cross-sell with personalized recommendations – Product page

The product page displays all details of a specific product viewed by customers. When customers come to this page, they must be pretty interested in an item and willing to pay money if everything goes well from here. Thus, Product page is a good location to entice customers with more choices by up-selling and cross-selling highly relevant items. Here’s how Asos.com recommends complementary and alternative items on its product page:

If a transitional biker jacket is viewed, customers will be presented with two widget tabs:

  • Shop the look: complementary items that will match with the main biker jacket
  • You might also like: other types of jacket that can alter the biker jacket

recommendation on asos product page

These recommendations do not guarantee that the customers will buy more than they planned previously, but they increase the chances, which depend on how well the suggested items are personalized.

#3. Get closer to making the deal by highly personalized recommendations on cart page:

When customers move to cart page, they get closer to making the real purchases. As the conversion funnel narrows, who continue the flow are more likely to be paying customers. Ecommerce websites thus keep encouraging customers to add more to cart here by offering even more personalized recommendations.

On Overstock.com’s cart page, suggested items come into the very typical “You May Also Like” widget, which have become symbolic for product recommendation on eCommerce sites:

recommendation on overstock cart page

In this widget, both complementary and supplementary offers come in hand, reminding customers of what they might miss from recommendations on product pages. Items picked on the shopping cart are very clear of customer’s need, so suggested items here must be as highly relevant and personalized as possible. Recommendations in average increase cart size by 50% and conversion rates by 150%, which heavily depends on how well the strategy is done at this point.

Takeaways for your online store:

Now that we have seen how the top e-Commerce sites in the world use product recommendations, we see 04 most common types of recommendations that all top websites implement:

  • Recently viewed and recommendations based on browsing history by customers:

– Shown on homepage to remind customers where they left on last visit.
– Should follow on all site pages in to make sure customers can always return to viewed products without leaving the current page they are on.

  • Top sellers / Best sellers

– Generic recommendations of store’s hottest items at a time
– As these items are trendy and most likely to be bought at a time, they should be shown on all site pages

  • Bought this also bought / View this also view:

– Recommend complementary and alternative choices to offer customers more choices and increase cart size
– Placed on product pages
– Must be relevant and personalized to each customer’s taste and preference

  • Cart recommendations:

– Placed at cart page to increase cart size and prevent cart abandonment
– Should be even more relevant and personalized than suggested items on product pages

What’s handy for you to crack the strategy?

If you are doing business in E-commerce, product recommendation should be in your top list of marketing strategies to focus on. While biggest e-Commerce website in the world have been doing product recommendation for a few years, small and medium stores cannot implement this simply because they have no resources to build a recommendation engine like big sites.

Personalized Recommendation app is a solution built by Beeketing to make this happen for small and medium stores. Seeing what the top leaders are doing, we believe in the success of personalized recommendations in this marketing automation era. Take a look at our top secrets here on how to take the best advantage of this app for your store.

Together with Boost Sales for up-sell and cross-sell strategies, Checkout Boost for social word-of-mouth marketing and Email Automation for automated email marketing, Personalized Recommendation completes our full platform of marketing automation apps to help you sell like big brands.


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