Marks & Spencer has introduced personalised recommendations to its website.

Customers will be shown other products based on recently viewed items, items that other customers have purchased and top sellers. 

M&S says that by adjusting results in real-time users see suggestions that are “highly relevant and meaningful.”

Powered by RichRelevance, this is a useful addition to the M&S shopping experience online – but research has shown that it’s actually more effective to upsell than cross-sell similar products.

Upselling, in which visitors are shown similar but more expensive products than the one in view, drives over 4% of sales compared to just 0.2% of sales driven by cross-sales tactics.

M&S, which recently came third in YouGov’s BrandIndex behind Google and Amazon, may also benefit by integrating social media into the recommendation tool.

Several brands have successfully used Facebook to promote their products and increase sales – you can see 11 examples here – and while M&S’s core target demographic are perhaps not heavy social media users, it does have 540,000 Facebook fans and 72,000 Twitter followers.

With a community of this size there may be value in incorporating peer-driven recommendations, possibly through a branded Facebook timeline app.

Yesterday Groupon set its sights on improving social commerce offering by acquiring Mertado.

M&S has already shown that it is willing to incorporate peer reviews into its marketing activities by using customer reviews in its post-purchase email campaigns.

After redesigning its consumer feedback process to make it more convenient for customers to respond, the response rate increased 427% and the reviews are used by the product marketing team – as well as the customer service and buying departments.

M&S has also integrated social media into its recycling programme with Oxfam.

Customers can take used M&S clothes into a ‘Clothing Exchange’ instore, and are then given a voucher for a £5 discount when spending over £35.

An interactive web app shows how each item goes to help worthy causes and the results can then shared on Twitter and Facebook.