7 product recommendation strategies to increase sales

product recommendation strategies to increase sales

Whatever the size of your business, product recommendations are a powerful, data-driven tool to increase sales. Suggesting the right product at the right moment creates a personalized experience for customers, who often end up spending more than they intended.

But with so many types of product recommendations, it can be hard to know which strategy is best for your business. Get it right and you could increase conversion rates by 320%, according to Barilliance.

You’ll also be rewarded with ongoing loyalty. Research from McKinsey shows 78% of consumers are more likely to return after a personalized experience.

Yet despite the effectiveness of product recommendations, they’re often missed opportunities. Many digital commerce sites don’t use recommended products, while those that do often manage them manually. Painstakingly coding top sellers lists by hand can’t keep up with customers’ changing needs. However, with the latest advances in AI and machine learning technology, automated product recommendations are within reach for businesses looking to maximize success.

The following seven product recommendation strategies are proven to work, and provide real-life inspiration to get you started. In this post, we’ll look at these strategies:

  1. Highlight the hits—bestsellers and featured products
  2. Introduce new arrivals and category pages
  3. Inspire with similar and related products
  4. Tap the power of “people also buy”
  5. Make personalized recommendations personal
  6. Provide product recommendation pop-ups
  7. Emphasize deals and discounts

Think of your homepage as center stage — shine a light on top performing products and let people discover what’s popular with other customers. Because bestsellers are based on real data, customers can shop with confidence and make purchase decisions faster.

In this product recommendation example, outdoor retailer REI features both top sellers and popular products on their homepage. Presenting the recommended product categories in clear, organized sections lets customers easily scroll through the options.

Top seller and popular product recommendations

Bakery franchise Nothing Bundt Cakes highlights bestsellers with a rotating carousel of high-quality images and mouthwatering descriptions to bring the products to life. Each item has a starring moment to focus the shopper’s attention.

Best seller product recommendations

2. Introduce new arrivals and category pages

Help customers quickly find what they’re looking for. By sorting products into different categories for your customers, every shopper has a map to navigate the storefront’s inventory.

Consider the possibilities. Whether it’s in a section on the homepage or elsewhere on the site, a “New arrivals” label is exciting for customers, old and new, curious about the latest products. Other types of category pages allow customers to narrow down what they’re searching for, while also showing them a recommendation for a product they might not have initially considered.

Canadian furniture retailer Structube highlights new arrivals, layering in additional details to help inform the customer’s decision. Knowing at a glance whether a product is in stock and offering free shipping creates a faster, frictionless shopping trip.

New arrivals product recommendations

Clothing brand DKNY combines the new arrivals and category page strategies so shoppers can browse both at the same time. Seeing “What’s new” in the “Women’s bags” category narrows down the options to a focused number of choices for the customer to consider.

Category product recommendations

This is one of the most popular ways to recommend products, and encourages cross-selling and up-selling items complementing the one being viewed. Most effective on product detail pages, you can also incorporate data to show what other shoppers looked at in addition to this product.

Vitamix offers several high-end blender product lines, a serious purchase for any kitchen. When a shopper views one of their products, the website suggests other related blenders that may be of interest. It may be a more expensive model the customer hadn’t considered before or help confirm their initial choice of blender.

Related product recommendations

In this product recommendation example, when a customer considers a t-shirt on the Zumiez website, the apparel retailer offers customers the option to “complete the look” by purchasing complementary clothing items. Providing a personal styling touch, the feature makes purchasing a complete outfit a seamless part of the shopping trip.

More related product recommendations

Similarly, shoppers can also explore other products they may find of interest based on what they’re viewing. In this case, while viewing a pair of snowboard boots, they’re also invited to check out snowboard mittens and socks — naturally relevant accessories.

You might also like product recommendations

4. Tap the power of “people also buy”

Timed for when a shopper adds a product to their cart or goes to checkout, this recommendation suggests related products customers have purchased. A more targeted form of the bestsellers strategy, you can guide shoppers to discover recommended products that complement the one they chose or that they might have missed.

As a pioneer of this approach, Amazon sets the standard for boosting average order value. According to MarTech, this strategy accounts for 35% of revenue. In this product recommendation example, each product is shown both individually and together so shoppers can easily weigh the options and decide to purchase one, two, or all of the related products.

Frequently bought together Amazon product recommendations

Marketplaces and retailers with expansive catalogs have also made this strategy popular. Searching for a new sofa at Wayfair? The retailer will smartly suggest chairs and a coffee table to complete your living space.

Frequently bought together product recommendations

5. Make personalized recommendations personal

Use a customer’s history to guide their shopping journey. By referencing what shoppers previously purchased or browsed, personalized recommendations deliver highly relevant products. As a more focused recommendation grounded in customer behavior, you make a personal connection with your audience leading to greater retention.

Personal care and beauty retailer Sephora serves recommended products under the “Chosen for you” label, providing shoppers with curated options based on purchases customers with similar preferences have bought. This product recommendation example takes creative liberty with the label copy to create a personal connection with the customer.

Personalized product recommendations

6. Provide product recommendation pop-ups

Let shoppers choose their own adventure. This versatile approach allows you to respond to customer behaviors with recommendations tailored to what’s happening in the moment. For instance, if a customer is leaving your page, suggest one last recommendation for a product to encourage them to stay. Or if an item has been added to cart, you can show similar products in a pop-up message. As a reactionary measure, it should be one of several product recommendation types you draw on to deliver a personalized experience.

At Wayfair, when shoppers add items to their cart, the home retailer analyzes what’s in it to make a recommendation. Additional customization features like selecting the style and size right within the pop-up make it easy to complete the order without navigating away.

Product recommendation pop-ups

REN Skincare provides a pop-up window right next to your bag, suggesting additional items to go along with what’s already selected for purchase. Presented front and center with product descriptions and customer ratings, the pop-up offers another opportunity to suggest relevant items for the customer.

REN product recommendation pop-up

7. Emphasize deals and discounts

Every shopper delights in discovering a good deal. Help them find the best ones on your website by featuring discounted products on the homepage or on product pages where you can suggest related products that are more affordable.

Best Buy merchandises their long-running “Deal of the day” promotions across their website for maximum visibility. The retailer also introduces a countdown timer to create additional urgency and underscore the unique offer.

Deal of the day product recommendations

Fashion retailer Oliver Bonas doesn’t just highlight sale items, but also creates an exclusive feeling for their customer by marking select items as “New to sale.” As shoppers browse, they have a “Quick add” to cart option, which makes the purchase decision one easy click.

Quick add product recommendations

Supercharge your business with powerful product recommendations

Today, any ecommerce company can use personalized product recommendations, whether they sell to businesses, consumers, or both. Suggesting relevant recommended products delivers real impact — research from Barilliance suggests product recommendations account for up to 31% of ecommerce revenues. And they’re quickly becoming an expected part of the customer experience for business buyers as well as consumers. In a recent Adobe research study, more than half (67%) of respondents say they would like to receive personalized promotions or offers based on their spending habits when shopping in store or online.

From the customer’s first visit to checkout, adding personalized product recommendations elevates their shopping experience — and reduces your dependence on third party marketplaces that offer similar services. As you grow your business, consider a powerful ecommerce solution to take your product recommendation strategy to the next level. When powered by AI and machine learning technology, ecommerce solutions can automatically suggest relevant products based on your shopper’s behaviors, popular trends, product similarity, and more.

Ready to build a product recommendation strategy? Check out A Beginner’s Guide to Personalized Product Recommendations, with proven methods for getting started.