All ecommerce sites could benefit from having product recommendations, with research showing that they can potentially increase revenue by up to 300%, improve conversions by 150% and help boost the average order value by 50%.

However, the precise format varies from site to site and should be tested to make sure it’s converting the maximum number of customers.

The copywriting needs to fit with the brand identity and it’s also important to strike an emotive chord and pique the customer’s interest.

This isn’t an easy task considering the fact that you generally only have room for about three or four words, but there is still a great deal you can do with the limited space.

It can also be tied into a site’s personalisation strategy so individual customers are shown a different caption and product options.

In the new Econsultancy/Monetate Realities of Online Personalisation Report 94% of businesses stated that personalisation ‘is critical to current and future success,’ yet more than half (56%) of companies stated that they are not implementing the technology.

Thinking about your own organisation/clients, how would you describe the extent to which the website experience is personalised for visitors?

So to give you some inspiration around the different type of copy that can be included on product recommendations, here are 11 different examples from a broad range of ecommerce sites.

To be clear, some of the examples are taken from homepages while other appear on product pages...

Ted Baker


John Lewis

House of Fraser



Evans Cycles

Tommy Hilfiger


Donald Russell


David Moth

Published 7 May, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

1719 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (9)

Save or Cancel

James Doman, Product Marketing Manager, Personalisation Specialist at SmartFocus

Some good examples.

I wrote about how psychological tactics, including Authority, Social Proof and Scarcity, can be used in these titles (known as Sorting Cues) here:

My favourite? "Editor's Picks" on a fashion site - great for conveying expertise and curation for sites that sell aspirations where customers buy into concepts and trends.

about 5 years ago


Andy Smith

I think a lot of them can help increase purchases. I don't understand why you'd want similar products... if they are similar, they are likely to replace their current selection with a similar product, not add it to the basket?

about 5 years ago


Sean Owens

I agree with Andy, from a customer serving point of view we are always trying to focus the customer to select the item most suitable for them, once this is done we should stop displaying like items. When we do this we just introduce an element of indecision to the choosing process and then the customer "goes off the boil" and hence the risk of the basket being abandoned. Its is exactly the same principle of selling in a high street store.

about 5 years ago


Karl Harris

This type of recommendation is great and as a customer it helps me to build a picture of everything that I want, including things I didn't know I wanted.

It's also important to frame the purchase, proving options that are completely out of sync with the customers normal buying patterns. This gives the customer room to explore new ground or strengthens their decision to buy.

e.g. If a customer normally buys blue, and you have a vast range of blues to choose from, the customer is disabled by variety. On each screen you show the customer more options, but what if those options were:
a) Much brighter blue
b) Darker blue
c) Bright orange
d) Deep purple

The customer might look at those other colours and think, 'Actually, I fancy a change.' or they may think, 'No, I really don't like those, this one the best.'

When you pair this with price variation you can either guide the customer to a new product or make their dicision easier. Consider if all products were the same price, the customer might take time flicking between them all reducing the likelihood of purchase.
But what if
a) much more expensive
b) very cheap
c) a little more expensive
d) a little cheaper.

I might consider the quality of a) I might even consider d), but I would feel a bit more certain that my current choice was the one to go for.

New customers are fragile, especially in retail, if they buy from you then this is a seal of approval. But this buying process needs to instil the customer with confidence with variety and inspiration.

Differentiate the customers decision, provide certainty and build around their purchase other products that make their vision complete.

about 5 years ago


lesley adair, Fidelity

Agree Andy and Sean, I personally have done it time and time again.

I find a dress I like, select it, then I get distracted by the carousel of 'similar' dresses running along the bottom of the screen.

I click on one of those because it looks nicer than the one I'm buying, but, on further inspection, I find it isn't quite what i want.

Then I've lost momentum and end up abandoning and buying nothing.

about 5 years ago

Albie Attias

Albie Attias, Ecommerce Director at King of Servers Ltd

The thing is @Andy & @Sean, you can't always be sure on product suitability. Product pages have to be designed with the recognition that traffic to the page will originate from multiple sources (natural search engine listings, PPC ad, affiliate site etc). With this in mind, it's not always a given that a potential customer landing on a product page will identify it as a good fit with their requirements. It's therefore a good practice to showcase similar alternative products to hopefully keep the person on the website rather than them clicking their back button and going elsewhere.

It's a delicate balancing act requiring the right blend of information and design to allow visitors to properly assess a product's suitability and if they deem it unsuitable, navigate to alternatives easily.

about 5 years ago

Tom Howlett

Tom Howlett, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai

Amazon do this pretty well, especially with items that may compliment the product you are looking at, or your purchase.

Email is also a good way of following up when either a purchase has been made or a user has been browsing for a particular product. I have only noticed Amazon doing this.

about 5 years ago



I agree with Andy, the similar items may be useful in some cases but you have limited real estate and this would be better served with complementing goods. the customer is likely to have already picked a category and seen the alternatives and picked on, so you are probably showing them what they have already seen.

The one I like here is Reiss one, it doesn't seem to pushy/intrusive like 'you also viewed' and looks like a genuine decision someone has made thinking those shoes etc go with the basket product. Telling someone they will look good with an item of clothing (essentially validating the original basket item) and offering an upsell works well.

Evans Cycles one work well and the suggested products are quite logical.

Not sure about the Tommy Hilfiger one, £431 for an upsell item seems way over the top, these should be items the shopper can easily be tempted to add to their basket. Or perhaps I'm just not rich enough for badly made over priced trousers!

about 5 years ago


Myles Burke

You are in a physical store, you can wander for hours and buy nothing because you are looking at everything. Zoom and focus, two photo techniques that can define an outstanding photograph. It's the same on online shopping, you can't look at everything so bring zoom and focus to your display and you may stop the buyer right could be the brand, the season, the weather or what's in the news. Tailor your selection to one of those and keep it there for a short period...otherwise it's no longer topica.

about 5 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.