Big retailers like Amazon.com and Netflix reap big profits through product recommendations, “Customers who bought this, also bought…” This is because recommendations help your customers find what they’re looking for. They create a better shopping experience. Because of this, they also boost sales. Personalized recommendations convert browsers to buyers, generate larger average order values, lower cart abandonment and result in more repeat business. Recommendations have quickly gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have. They are an integral part of your online marketing and customers expect them.
You might be thinking you already have recommendations, because you manually enter them through your admin panel, or have business rules that pull recommended product from the same category as a viewed product. Perhaps you’re thinking that your merchandising or sales expertise is better than any automated system could be. But using intelligent, automated recommendations is not only easier, forget the resource-intensive maintenance effort you may be used to; Our customers’ tell us they receive a much bigger sales boost as well. For example, Smartpakcanine.com boosted revenue a whopping 36% over manual recommendations. On average, most retailers experience a 10-25% increase in sales. If you’re not yet using personalized product recommendations, you’re definitely leaving money on the table.
So, how does it work?
Automated systems provide much more robust recommendations by leveraging your existing data, including historical sales data, new sales data, and product catalog information. The resulting recommendations are displayed on your site – including in product detail pages, landing pages, within the shopping cart, even in email. Different types of recommendations can be used in various locations throughout your online store, but all take into consideration what a customer is looking at, who they are and/or what’s in the cart.
Delivering this personalized experience, by leveraging the sales and product data you already have, is easier and more affordable than you might think. We’ve created a plugin for 3dcart that makes integration a cinch. You don’t have to change your page templates or do any coding. This means no IT or agency bills. It takes less than an hour to integrate, and uses historical sales data so it’s smart on day one.
Here are a few things to consider when adding recommendations to your site:
- Ease and speed of integration with your ecommerce platform
- Minimal start-up time, meaning that the system does not require a lengthy burn-in/learning period prior to being able to start making recommendations
- Ability to generate recommendations for each customer, known as one-to-one personalization. Some vendors are selling market segmentation solutions as personalization. These segmentation solutions categorize shoppers into only a few segments, and, thus, are not as effective as a true personalized recommendation system. They also take longer to setup.
- Ability to generate effective recommendations even for products with limited sales volume or history
- Try before you buy trial
- Transparent pricing, avoid long term commitments, set-up fees and hefty integration charges. These can add significantly to the total cost of ownership.
Amy Weissfeld is the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at 4-Tell. She has 7 years of ecommerce and interactive experience, successfully leading companies of all sizes. At 4-Tell, Amy works to bring value to clients and partners by helping strategically implement 4-Tell’s personalization and recommendation solution.