Product recommendations come in all shapes and sizes, using different algorithms and technology, and with varying levels of success. Brands that use a product recommendation engine on their website do so in the hope that they will improve conversion rates, but not all product recommendations will hit the mark with customers. To do so, they need to be intelligent, personal and most of all, relevant.
So how can you deliver personalised product recommendations that have the power to influence conversions? Let’s start by looking at the different components that make up a good product recommendation.
What makes a good product recommendation?
Above all else, a good recommendation must be highly personalised and relevant to the individual it is targeting. This is particularly prevalent considering research from Accenture which found that personalisation increases the likelihood of a prospect purchasing from you by 75%. But we’ll come onto personalised product recommendations in more detail later.
Aside from personalisation, brands should be taking a number of other factors into consideration if they want to deliver impactful recommendations that will have a measurable impact on conversions. The first of these is website UX (user experience), which when done well, ensures that recommendations are delivered in a seamless, unobtrusive and engaging way. UX refers to how the recommendations appear, how the experience is delivered and how it makes people feel when they see and engage with it. Recommendations must be brand-native, therefore feel like a natural addition to the website and user’s journey. They should assist a user, providing an additional layer to their browsing, without replacing or dominating what it is they were trying to look at.
Not only are personalisation and UX important, but so is the ability to deliver recommendations at the most appropriate times. Ensuring recommendations are relevant and timely (both in the right place and at the tight time) is critical to obtaining engagement from your website visitors. Think about the frequency you are delivering such messages – you don’t want to risk being seen as ‘salesy’ and ‘spammy’. It’s also important to avoid distracting users that are ready to checkout. Yes, there’s a chance you could encourage them to buy something else. But it’s equally likely that you could take them away from completing their journey and therefore stop them converting.
How to deliver personalised product recommendations that hit the mark
Personalised recommendations consider various digital consumer data points to generate the best possible suggestions for every individual. Each customer’s unique user profile, which is made up of a mixture of demographic and profile data, helps product recommendation engines to build up a picture of what an individual is looking for. Combined with the context of where a user is in their purchasing journey, brands can utilise data to transform the recommendations they deliver.
Recommendations can be generated based on the type of page being viewed (this includes homepage, product pages, category pages and basket pages) and take into consideration the user behaviour of different visitors to your website. By personalising recommendations by page type, brands can suggest highly relevant products to customers at multiple touch points during their online journey. Intelligent algorithms make every shopping experience feel more unique, as recommendations consider where in their journey a customer is currently at, rather than simply who they are.
And the effect of personalising with a focus on relevance can be huge.
The benefits of personalising recommendations
While the focus of any onsite strategy often falls on the impact it has on driving conversions, there are many more benefits that brands can expect to see if they get their product recommendation personalisation right. In addition to conversions, sales and profits, brands should be using personalised product recommendations to improve onsite engagement, time spent onsite and the overall customer experience.
Brands that deliver more relevant, personalised recommendations have seen a 70% increase in engagement with their recommendations, compared to brands who deliver more generic suggestions. Not only that, but when such recommendations are clicked, customers are likely to spend 70% more time on site than if they had engaged with a more generic recommendation or simply not engaged at all.
But naturally, the impact on the bottom line is still critical. By providing improved recommendations for every customer, brands are increasing the likelihood that customers will purchase more than one item. And in improving the customer experience, they can also expect more customer journeys on their site to end in a purchase. With this in mind, it’s unsurprising that recent research from Gartner found that by 2020, smart personalisation engines that recognise customer intent will help brands increase online profits by up to 15%.
When we look at the benefits combined, it’s hard to argue with the importance of improving the level of personalisation that powers your product recommendations engine.
It’s clear that product recommendations should be a core part of any ecommerce website, not only to help increase conversion rates, but critically to better engage every visitor with their experience onsite. Brands that deliver more personalised product recommendations have the opportunity to reap the rewards, and therefore marketers must be looking at the ways in which they can improve the quality of their recommendation engine to add relevancy to every interaction.
Digital Assistant understands true customer intent to deliver highly personalised product recommendations that your customers will want to receive. Find out how you can use Digital Assistant to inspire customers at every stage of their journey.