4 Elements to Tweak to Improve Your Product Recommendation & 6 Best Practices to Follow

(This is the 3rd part in a three post series on Product Recommendation. Read the part 1 & part 2 to learn where to place your product recommendation section & how to keep it contextual)

In the part 2 of the blogpost on Ecommerce Recommender Series, we learned how you can make your product recommendation section more contextual. Continuing our series, today in the 3rd part we will discuss different elements of product recommendations and learn how you can tweak them to improve its performance. Later in the blogpost we will also dive into the Best Practices of Product Recommendation.

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Following are the 4 Elements of Product Recommendation that can be optimized and tweaked to increase your average order value:

1) Title of the Product Recommendation Section

Title of Product Recommendation

[Tweet “Title is the most important element of product recommendation section”]

In most of the cases, it is basically the first thing that a user sees in the product recommendation section.  Hence, Title is the deciding factor in encouraging user clicks and view more products in product recommendation section.


  1. Use Numbers
    • Numbers precisely tell users why they need to consider buying these products.  When you user numbers in your title, it instantly offers value to user & encourages him to learn more
    • For example: “83% people also viewed these products” will have higher chances of being noticed than “Many people also viewed these products”
  2. Make it Personalized
    • Personalization Headline or title always results into better performance. Try to have your product recommendation headline personalized/ Contextual.
    • For example: If you are running an apparel store a headline such as ‘people who considers wearing these jeans also bought’ will perform better than  ‘frequently viewed products’ title.
2) Use Clear & High-Quality Images

Image Product Recommendation

The second important element of the Product recommendation section is the Product Images. To encourage users to click & engage you should use clear & big product images.


Always use actual and clear images of recommended products. Zoom on mouse-over can be used if the images are too small to be noticed.

3) Call To Action

A product recommendation section can have two Call to Action including Add to Cart & Know More/Learn More.

  • Add To Cart

Add to cart Product Recommendation

An Add to Cart call to action works well to attract users. It is important to understand that a user may not add the product directly to their cart without learning more about the same. Hence, a Learn More call to action is advisable to use along with add to call CTA.

  • Know More/ Learn More

Read More Product Recommendation

Know more can be used either as your primary CTA or secondary CTA. It can be used as a main call-to-action while recommending on the product details page, as people are yet to discover products are you recommending.


  • Always keep Know more/Read links more wherever you are using “Add to cart” as the main call-to-action.
  • The main call-to-action should be a button while other CTA should be a link.
4) Use Contrast Colors in your Product Recommendation

This is again one of the most important elements to optimize your product recommendation section. When you use more contrast colors in your product recommendation section, you increase your chances of attracting more users.

For example:

Colors Product Recommendation

If you see the above product detail page closely, you will find that the recommendation section is in quite in contrast compared to the product detail page section. Additionally, it has nice color combination and offers great viewing experience.

The title of the page is on a khaki background, while the recommendation section is on green background. The CTA is in orange color, which is nowhere used on the page. Also, the recommendation section has a background color, which makes it look different from other parts of the page.


Use colors, which are not used on the rest of the page, especially in Title and CTA. Use contrast colors but also make sure that it doesn’t look weird & goes well with design of the overall page.

6 Product Recommendation Best Practices:

Now that we have learned the important elements of product recommendation section it’s time to move forward & learn some of the best practices. These are small but most ignored practices which if optimized can drastically improve the performance of your product recommendation section.

1) Less is always Good

Do not try to sell more products. In fact limit the products in your recommendation section to three or four.

2) Always try to upsell, if not then try to cross sell

While recommending products against a product in the same category, it’s good to show costlier products which offer much more features than the current product. It works well if you are really offering value, upsell and increase revenue.

3) Offer Discounts

While bundling product recommendations, discounts work well for both buyer and the seller. Seller sells more products and the buyer can buy a group of products, which is really essential for her, and at a discount.


Discounts Product Recommendation

4) Exclude Recommendation
  • Exclude/Blacklist recommendations are a smart thing to do to avoid logical mistakes. For e.g. a customer who has added a book to the cart can be recommended another book, but the same recommendation cannot work when he’s buying a washing machine or air conditioner.
  • Also, you might not want to recommend a product, which is outdated for recommendation. For e.g. the iPhone 3 is available for standalone purchase but you might not want to recommend it while someone is buying an iPhone 4, just exclude iPhone3 as a recommendation.
  • By creating few exclude product recommendation rules you can avoid a mistake of selling an outdated or unrelated products to your users.
5) Build Urgency

When offering discounts or showing a value deal, build urgencies to make user take immediate action. Urgency is a great a way to sell more products in short time.


“Valid for next 4 hours” in the below product recommendation section pushes the user to buy right away.

Urgency Product Recommendation

6) Test & Measure

We discussed 5 different practices that can improve the performance of your product recommendation section. These practices are good, but also ensure that you measure each of these practices. Use free testing tools like Google website optimizer to test & analyze the performance of different elements. Product recommendations have a direct impact on sales. So keep testing and implementing solutions that work best for your ecommerce store.

This ends our 3 part Ecommerce Product Recommender Series.  We hope that recommendation guide helps you in building a recommendation section that increases your average order value. Please let us know how you found our blogpost series. Additionally, please share with us in the comments which advice you found more relevant to your e-commerce store.

(This is the 3rd part in a three post series on Product Recommendation. Read the part 1 & part 2 to learn where to place your product recommendation section & how to keep it contextual)

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Kushan Shah
Kushan is a Web Analyst at Tatvic. His interests lie in getting maximum insights out of raw data using R and Python. He is also the maintainer of the RGoogleAnalytics library. When not analyzing data, he reads Hacker News.
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