Product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10%-30% of ecommerce site revenues.

However, with so many ways to present product recommendations, I’ve decided to highlight four facts based on anonymous aggregated data collected from 50m sessions that were exposed to product recommendations.

Keeping these four facts in mind can really make a difference in generating what can be up to a third of your site’s revenue.

1. Location matters

Designing your new product page?

Make sure you leave a space for product recommendations on the right side of the page above the fold.

When recommendations are placed above the fold on a product detail page, CTR more than doubles and sales from recommendations jump by 70% (compared to when they are displayed below the fold).

For more on product page design, read our post on where to place 30 elements and why.

2. Personalization is key

Want to increase engagement and reduce bounce rate on your homepage?  

Show personalized top sellers instead of generic top sellers. Personalized top sellers doubles the CTR compared to generic top sellers.  

For example on the first visit to dollskill.com one is presented on the homepage with general products under: “We think you’d be into these”.

However, after I had looked in the bags category, I returned to the site and the recommendations presented to me on the homepage changed to:

 

For more on this topic, check out these 17 useful blog posts on personalisation.

3. Social proof works

According to Nielsen’s latest Global Trust in Advertising report, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family are still the most influential, as 84% of global respondents across 58 countries to the online survey said this source was the most trustworthy.

Our data backs this up when it comes to product recommendations. From the 20+ product recommendations that were reviewed in our study, the most engaging recommendation type was “what customers ultimately buy.” 

 

4. Don’t confuse your customers

Many websites mistakenly try to cross-sell on product pages. At this point in the buying cycle, most customers are still searching for the right product and therefore respond better to alternative products (“customers also viewed”) rather than a totally different type of product.  

In fact, our study shows that the engagement, or CTR, of the recommendation type “customers also viewed” was double the CTR of the recommendation type “customers also bought” which presents cross-selling products. 

To sum up:

  1. Place recommendations above the fold on product pages (ideally on the right hand side).
  2. Always show personalized recommendations.
  3. Social proof works: show people what others bought.
  4. Help your customers: when a website visitor is looking at a product, show similar products that other users have viewed or eventually bought.
Ido Ariel

Published 7 November, 2014 by Ido Ariel

Ido Ariel is Founder at Barilliance and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

6 more posts from this author

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Comments (2)

Mark Selwyn

Mark Selwyn, eCommerce and Multi-Channel Retail Consultant

You don't state where you would cross sell. How about on the basket page, with an easy "one click add to basket" i.e. not taking them away from the basket to the product page.

You also don't state any rules for alternate product recommendations e.g. one product at a similar (e.g. +/- 10%) price, and three products at various higher prices, as an alternative to "whatever the best matches are".

about 3 years ago

David Bloy

David Bloy, Digital Marketing specialist at bluebox

Very useful and practical article - thanks for sharing.

about 3 years ago

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