How to build a product recommendation system for e-commerce?

21 Oct


I was searching for scented candles on a renowned website. After spending a good 10-15 mins looking for the right fragrance, I added a few to my cart.

But as millennial as I am, I wanted to have my options open so I didn’t order them right away - Instead, I explored the ‘products you may like’ section and did find a few better than the ones already in my cart.

Do you also experience that?

When you make an online purchase, you may see a section called ‘products you may like.’

This is how companies upsell or cross-sell their products.

So, how does this work?

This is because of Product Recommendation Systems.

A product recommendation system is a software tool that generates and provides recommendations for items or content that a specific user might want to buy or engage with.

When we think of the most successful and widely used applications in business, recommender systems may come to mind as one of the first examples.

Personalized experiences are important

Customers demand experiences that make them feel valued.

They expect the apps, news sites, social networks, and online stores they use - to remember who they are and what they like.

One of the most difficult challenges for e-commerce businesses is to provide customer service online that is comparable to the experience of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

E-commerce businesses do not have the advantage of having a friendly sales assistant to help their customers at every step of their shopping journey.

How do product recommendation systems work?

While you can manually implement rudimentary "also-liked" recommendations on your eCommerce site, best practices for product recommendations need a "product recommendations engine."

Nevertheless, below are some of the effective product recommendation ideas that can amplify the eCommerce conversion rate:

  1. “Recommended for you”

    Highlighting a list of recommended products based on the user's browsing history is a popular yet simplest form of product recommendation – personalize with the shopper's name to add greater impact.

  2. Personalized email campaigns

    Product recommendations must be incorporated into your email marketing strategy by sending personalized emails to your shoppers with product recommendations based on their past purchases.

  3. Access to browsing history

    Allowing access to a shopper's browsing history can help save sales that would have been lost if the customer had not been able to locate an item previously viewed.

  4. Peer-generated recommendations

    “Customers who bought [this item] also bought [that item]” recommendations offer social proof of relevant products the user may be interested in.

  5. “Frequently bought together”

    Create product bundles (commonly purchased items) and provide a special discount for purchasing together. This will increase the average order value (AOV) as well.

  6. “Featured recommendation” and “Recently viewed”

    This can initiate buyers to purchase items they would not have considered searching for otherwise.

  7. Feature best-selling items

    Display best-selling items for each brand to provide indirect social proof and to boost buyer confidence. Recommending best-selling products on the homepage is a highly effective strategy for capturing your users' attention as soon as they arrive at your site.

  8. Adjust your recommendations

    Alter your recommendations to keep popular items in the spotlight while also providing more viewing opportunities for lower-selling items (20 percent of your items will provide 80 percent of your sales).

  9. A/B testing is your best friend

    Your product recommendations engine isn't a ‘set it and forget it’ function; incorporate it into your testing regimen for conversion optimization.

Why must you start with product recommendation systems?

Strategic marketing plans differ from one company to other.

Business tactics that work for one business may not be appropriate for another. Implementing a product recommendation engine, on the other hand, is something that every eCommerce business should consider.


Because if you don’t — your competitors might!

Ending thoughts...

Product recommendation engines may be an investment worth making.

You're doing more than just getting your customers to add more items to their cart — you're providing them with a valuable shopping experience by making personalized recommendations for products they might not have found otherwise.

However, building a highly analytical and smart eCommerce platform is equally challenging.

With experience in building eCommerce platforms and devising effective strategies to help them stand out in the market - we know the art of turning ideas into reality.

Have an idea?

We'd be delighted to discuss your requirements and advise you on the best course of action.