13 ways of Products Recommendations to increase online sales

Feb 25, 2021 9 min read


13 ways of Products Recommendations to increase online sales

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Product recommendation isn’t a new technique to boost sales. Retailers use it daily for walk-in customers. But, product recommendations for an eCommerce store are a bit complicated due to consumers’ changing preferences and each different way will bring a different outcome.

Look at the pandemic, it has changed the consumer behavior towards online stores. During the beginning of COVID19, it was only essentials and entertainment. But now, it has spread its wings to various categories, according to this report by Deloitte.

Though we saw an increasing demand for niche brands even during the pandemic, consumers heavily rely on marketplaces for most of their online shopping requirements.

What is the secret sauce? Marketplaces use product recommendation to bring customers back to the site and persuade to buy. Some stats to get convinced,

  • 91% of consumers say they are more likely to buy products from brands that provide relevant recommendations (Accenture).
  • 47% of consumers are willing to check Amazon if the brand they want to buy from shows no product recommendations (SmarterHQ).
  • 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a website that recommends products (according to Invesp).

Let us understand product recommendation engines.

What is a product recommendation engine?

A product recommendation engine is a system that analyzes your users’ data including their needs, preferences, browsing, and buying behavior, and showcases products accordingly. This system uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to analyze the data and deliver the right information on products and services.

When we talk about providing personalization or personalized user experiences on an online store, it’s a product recommendation engine that helps online stores to provide such UX.

Here are the benefits of the product recommendation engines to offer personalization:

  1. Targeting the right audience
  2. Enhancing customer engagement satisfaction
  3. Evolving your products/services
  4. Increasing sales
  5. Boosting ROI

An eCommerce website can gain such benefits by including different types of product recommendations this engine offers.

Let’s look at them in more detail.

13 Types of Product Recommendations you should utilize to increase online sales

1. Recently viewed

The first and the most important type of product recommendation is the “Recently Viewed” one.

Not every first-time visitor on an eCommerce website comes with the intent of buying a product. Less than 20% of consumers explore options with the intent of buying on their first visit to an online store. A lot of exploration, comparison, and competitor analysis takes place before they make any final decision.

Amidst the search for the best product, consumers often fail to recheck what they had seen before. It is where ‘Recently Viewed’ product recommendations on eCommerce stores help them a lot. This type of product recommendation includes items that visitors have clicked or browsed previously, making it easier for them to pick what they looked at before.

Here is the example of a “Recently Viewed” product recommendation from AJIO, a fashion retailer-

types of product recommendations - example by AJIO

2. Similar products

Another type of product recommendation that is highly popular is the “Similar Products” one.

Today’s online buyers are PROs in picking up the right products with the best quality and rates. But, imagine what happens when a consumer has to go back and forth to make sure the product they’re picking up is the product they were looking for. The experience becomes frustrating that might affect the sales of that online shop.

That’s where “Similar Products” product recommendation type comes to rescue. 

Similar product recommendations guide your customers with products similar to the ones they are looking at. In this case, the product recommendation engine works based on product categories, names, descriptions, or tags. 

On one hand, it allows potential buyers to see a wide range of products on your eCommerce store. While on the other, it is a good way to upsell products and bring in more ROI. If you frequently add new products to your eCommerce store, you must make the most of this product recommendation type.

An example of product recommendation by Hopscotch (a children fashion store) using Similar Products-

types of product recommendations - example by Hopscotch

3. Recommended for you

This type of product recommendation is the one that offers the most personalized user experience.

Here, the product recommendation engine uses its algorithm to monitor the product browsing and purchasing history of consumers and personal preferences. With this, the product recommendation system recommends products that a consumer is most likely to buy.

Amazon, eBay, and Walmart are great product recommendation examples in this category. They earn a significant ROI because of showing product recommendations that are highly relevant to a customer. You can achieve that too, with the successful implementation of product recommendations on your eCommerce store.

Recommending products this way is only possible when the product recommendation engine has considerable data about returning customers.

Check out this You May Also Like product recommendation example by one of the top niche brands, ThePostBox.

types of product recommendations - example by ThePostBox

4. Frequently bought together

This is one type of product recommendation that you see while adding items to your cart on almost every eCommerce store. The best part– it is mutually beneficial for both the store owner and consumers in some way.

For you (the eCommerce store owner), recommending products that are usually bought together builds up the bucket size. The higher the total cart value, the higher will be your profit margin. 

On the customers’ side, these product recommendations remind them of complementary products that they might have forgotten to add to their shopping list.

Most of the eCommerce segments can bundle their products and inspire customers to buy them together. Pepperfry, the top home furnishing brand in India, utilizes this product recommendation on their eCommerce store.

types of product recommendations - example by Pepperfry

5. What people like you bought

For online shoppers, the product reviews and purchase decisions of other customers matters a lot. Around 95% of online customers read reviews before buying anything online. For consumers, it feels good to know what people like them have decided to buy and this can ease their decision-making. 

‘What People Like You Bought’ is one of the types of product recommendations where you match the online behavior, demographics, and interest of one consumer to the other. The product recommendation engine on your online store can suggest similar products to consumers with matching interests or behavior.

This type of product recommendation requires high-end marketing technology, which not every brand is able to implement.

6. What other customers are doing now

While browsing a product, you might have seen one of the following notifications 

  • “415 people are viewing this product”
  • “5312 people have added this product to their cart”
  • “12 people have this product in their cart”
  • Or others

Yes, this product recommendation type helps in creating FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) among the visitors. The visitors feel confident about their choices and can help them make buying decisions faster.

Below is the product recommendation type used by Myntra, the leading fashion eCommerce brand in India.

types of product recommendations - example by Myntra

7. People also viewed

“People also viewed” is somewhat similar to the ‘What People Like You Bought’ category. This type of product recommendation guides customers around your eCommerce store based on the path followed by similar other customers. Again, the consumer engagement metrics like behavior and interest come into the picture here.

For some web visitors, these recommendations might also open up ways to completely different product categories. While some might like the recommended products, others may stumble upon the items they were not expecting as recommendations.

Usually, this product recommendation technique can sometimes help you to boost sales with products with higher margins. 

Most of the world’s top marketplaces have this type of product recommendation on their store. Look at an example by Amazon

types of product recommendations - example by Amazon

8. Bestsellers and top-rated recommendations

It is always good for an online brand to showcase what people love buying the most. That is what best-seller product recommendation is all about– to build a psychological impression of the range of best products into the consumer’s mind.

Usually, this type of product recommendation should be used on the homepage of your online store that can help you persuade new visitors to become your customers.

Don’t forget to add product reviews and ratings while using this product recommendation technique to make the most of it.

Take a look at this product recommendation example, which Beardo uses-

types of product recommendations - example by Beardo

9. Trending products

Trending product recommendations are based on real-time data in terms of sales on an eCommerce website. They include products that are popular at any specific time. 

Given the current trends of social shopping, you can also include products that are popular and highly liked on your brand’s social profiles in these recommendations.

This product recommendation technique boosts sales the most during the holiday season sale.

Myntra has got another product recommendation type-

types of product recommendations - example by Myntra

10. New arrivals

This type of product recommendation is about the latest collection of products or new releases on an eCommerce store. The idea behind showcasing these recommendations is to encourage the customers to purchase certain products with a sense of urgency, like before anyone else orders them. 

After all, everyone loves to buy new products, and flaunt them too, before anyone could buy them.

Every brand must have this product recommendation type on their own store just like Nike

types of product recommendations - example by Nike

11. Products back in stock

When it comes to the niche eCommerce segment, the brands with casual items have some trending products. With trending we mean, the products that get sold out faster. Also, such brands have limited inventory for the same, and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) increases the customers’ love for those products.

To make sure the customers’ love remains with your brand and its products, brands need to bring those products back in stock. That’s where this product recommendation type comes into the picture.

The eCommerce CRO expert, Luke Carthy, got this product recommendation type on his own eCommerce store, Afro Drops

types of product recommendations - example by Afro Drops

12. Products by filters (More dresses in blue color)

Not every eCommerce site is able to utilize the power of this type of product recommendation. Consumers browsing online for specific products with specific attributes would need a bit of more help from the eCommerce store as well. Just like the way they get in an offline store.

For example, they’re looking for a blue-colored dress in a retail store. They would ask the staff to get all styles of blue dresses available in their preferred size. The sales professional would help them see all the dresses and help them select one.

The same experience needs to be present when they go and buy online. Mostly, there are less chances for such customers, but they are not negligible.

This product recommendation type is mostly seen in the fashion eCommerce industry because the filters can be created based on product attributes such as color, brand, style, etc. Check out how another fashion giant, Nykaa Fashion utilizes this type of product recommendation-

types of product recommendations - Nykaa Fashion

13. Products from the same brand

This type of product recommendation is for the marketplaces because they have products from multiple vendors/brands. A customer browsed two products simultaneously from the same brand, they should start getting recommended products from the same brand with the “Products from the same brand” tag.

You don’t need to use this product recommendation technique for every visitor. You can use it either for the people who buy a product mostly from a specific brand or recently viewed or wishlisted products from the same brand.

With this type of personalization, you can enhance the speed of conversions.  Take a look at how another top marketplace, Etsy utilizes this product recommendation type-

types of product recommendations - Etsy

Choose the relevant types of product recommendations

For every eCommerce site, you need almost all types of product recommendations. But, there are a very few ones that are only for marketplaces. Consider the SKUs you have, product attributes, business model, and consumer behavior before choosing the product recommendations. 

You can have almost all of the above ones, but the trick is to make sure how to keep the online store design simple yet conversion-oriented. Also, you need to make sure how these product recommendation techniques help with eCommerce success metrics.

Himani Kankaria is a content writing and marketing consultant, a brand ambassador of Hootsuite. With 7+ years of SEO & digital marketing experience, she has helped various enterprises to achieve 800% organic growth YoY. She shifted her focus from core SEO to content writing and marketing utilizing her SEO skills just to offer enterprises with high-quality content that ranks on Page 1 of Google and even converts. Himani talks a lot and loves dancing. She enjoys networking with the like-minded people and enthusiastic about achieving new heights in life.