Recommendations are a key part of the revenue streams of most online stores. A recent study found the average revenues generated from product recommendations worldwide was 12% and the conversion rate of visitors who clicked on product recommendations was found to be 5.5 times higher than the conversion rate of non clicking customers. Given the limited real estate available, it’s critical to get it absolutely right. Here are some pointers.
The Recommendation Funnel
Shoppers interact with your store differently based on where they are in their user journey and you should customise your recommendations based on that. What changes as they go along is also how much information you are going to have.
- Entry level recommendations
- Before and during the add to cart
- After the checkout
Entry Level Recommendations
Shoppers are going to land on your store either directly or via an external link through your ads, organically and otherwise.In most cases when a shopper first lands on your webpage, there’s only a little info on them to tailor recommendations. To get around this you can personalize the point of entry to cater to different personas. Shoppers fall into one of the following categories, they either know what they are looking for or aren’t entirely sure. Those that are of the former type are typically going to use either the site nav links to directly navigate to the product category or the search to navigate to the product. Once the shopper is on the category page or the search results page, you can then base on your recommendations on the frequently purchased products from the page.
To cater to shoppers who are only exploring, you can include a series of collections on the page that will offer them possibilities to explore. While the shopper information available at this stage can be rather minimal, you will still have access to some information like location and any information gathered via cookies from previous sessions. If you have a series of products on your store that are currently trending across any one of these factors you can create a recommendation widget to push those. If you have shoppers who are navigating directly to a landing page from external sources then you can use the recommendation widget to display frequently purchased products from the products on the page.
Before the Add to Cart
Once shoppers have spent some time on the store you have more information on the products or collections they’ve seen. At this point they also given more of an indication to buy. This opens up some possibilities to experiment with the recommendation widget. One thing you could do is to play with the prices and try pushing up sells. Most recommendation widgets have just enough real estate to display 4 products, have two products which are in the exact same range as the ones being viewed and two others which are priced slightly higher. When you are showing a higher priced product. The shopper has no way of ascertaining the added value of the product, except thru the price and that doesn’t work all the time and can put off shoppers. Have a small popup description/quick view type description for each product outlining the extra value.
You can also modify your recommendations based on how long the shopper has been on your store or the number of products they’ve viewed. If you notice that shoppers are viewing similar products for a while you can also use the recommendation widget to offer combos or something on the lines of “products frequently bought together”.
After the add to cart
It’s not always a good idea to show too many recommendations once there are a few products in the cart. You might end up removing the shoppers from the funnel and putting them back at the research stage or even worse they might want to continue their research elsewhere. It’s not a good idea to remove a shopper from a funnel while they are looking for what product to buy. The best thing to do would be to offer product bundles based on the ones already in the cart or offer products that are frequently bought together.
After the Checkout
It isn’t all over once the checkout is complete. You can try to put the shoppers back in the funnel by recommending combos based on the products that were purchased. In case the shopper purchased just one product, you can recommend products bought together to try increasing their order value. You can also recommend collections that are related to the ones purchased.