E-commerce Recommender Series: The Beginners Guide to keep your Product Recommendation Contextual

(This is the 2nd part in a three post series on Product Recommendation. Read the part 1 & part 3 to learn where to place your product recommendation section & how to tweak your product recommendation to improve average order value)

In the first part of the series on effective product recommendations for e-commerce, we discussed how we could use placements for recommendation section to get maximum click through rate to increase the average order size. Now, let’s head to the second part and learn why you should keep your product recommendation engine contextual & its best practices.

Quick Navigation:

Why it’s important to have a Contextual Product Recommendation Engine?

Once I was on an e-commerce store looking for buying a washing machine. I added a model to the cart. When I was on the cart page, the site recommended me other washing machines that I should consider buying. So mechanic! It’s so obvious that no one would buy a second washing machine even if you gave him 50% off.

Since the product recommendation was not contextual in above example, the store owner missed the opportunity to further increase the average order value.  To improve your e-commerce store sales it’s important that you have a smart production recommendation engine that always consider product category while serving product recommendations.

General Guidelines for Keeping Product Recommendation Engine Contextual

  • Don’t show products from same category unless the price low enough to impulse the user to buy another. Works with Books, DVDs, Music, Flash drives etc.
  • Accessories as recommendations work very well. E.g. while buying an iPhone, the customer would love to consider buying the case or the car charger.
  • Add-ons are good for upsell. Showing matching earrings with a purse would never be ignored.
  • Make sure that if you are up selling, it remains within the Average Order value or little more

Now that we have learned the general guidelines for production recommendation engine, it’s time we go into little depth and learn the best practices for content of product recommendation for different pages of your e-commerce store.

Best Practices for Home Page

Product Recommendation for Home Page

While user is on the homepage, you don’t know what she’s looking for. Hence, showing recommendations for a particular category would not serve the purpose.  Since we are not sure about users interest we highly recommend keeping the homepage product recommendation engine content generic. But if you are forced to do so, just do not communicate strongly.

What to show: Show top selling products for that day under the heading, “What people are buying today?”

Best Practices for Product Category Page

Product category page is a little more detailed page & here we know what types of product a user is interested into. Learning the user’s interest we should customize our offering in product recommendation engine.

What to show: Let’s say the user in on the category page of SLR cameras. Since we know that the user is interested in SLR Camera’s, a product recommendation will be a list of bestselling SLR cameras. Here, you can’t show camera lenses because you don’t know which camera a user is looking for.

Best Practices for Product Detail Page

Product Recommendation for Category Page

Consider a case when the user is looking for Cannon EOS 500D. She found the product on your site and now she’s on the product details page reading specifications. You can use this page to increase the order value.

What to show: Show a camera here, which is a little costlier than what she’s looking for, but offers more features. Changing her mind for a few $ should be difficult here if you are really offering value.

Best Practices for Shopping Cart Page

Product Recommendation for Product Detail Page

Shopping Cart Page is the most important page for you. On this Page you know exactly which product a customer is buying & hence offer the opportunity to increase the average order value by up selling your products.

What to show:  Consider the user is buying an SLR Camera. Since she is on your shopping cart page, you know exactly which SLR camera brand and model she is buying. Since the goal here is to make the user buy more we can show user a camera lens that can go well with the existing camera, a tripod or a photography magazine subscription.

Product Bundling

Product bundling is the best way to increase the order value. A Product Bundle is basically a group of products that you offer to your users, mostly at a discount. It’s a nice way to encourage impulse buying and increase order value. It isn’t bad as long as you are offering value.

To better understand the concept let us have a quick walk through of two examples of product bundling:

Bundling main product with accessories

Show accessories that would suite the main product. This bundle works for every 10th buyer for a client of us. If someone were buying an iPhone, why wouldn’t she consider buying the case for 50% off? It’s completely contextual and you are offering value.

Bundling different products in same category

Product Bundling

Bundle many products in the same category. Give discount on the package. Show huge savings. This also works well with low priced products. Book, DVDs, Apps, Games and so many such products can be sold in bulk. The order quantity increases. So does the order value, and so does profit.

In the following blogpost we learned why Context of Product Recommendation is important and what content should be severed on each different pages of your e-commerce store. Use the practices mention in this post to improve the average order value of e-commerce store. In the next post, we will discuss the best practices and important elements of Product Recommendation.

(This is the 2nd part in a three post series on Product Recommendation. Read the part 1 & part 3 to learn where to place your product recommendation section & how to tweak your product recommendation to improve average order value)

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E-commerce Recommender Series: Where to Place Your Product Recommendation?
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4 Elements to Tweak to Improve Your Product Recommendation & 6 Best Practices to Follow

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