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How to leverage Product Recommendations for boosting ecommerce sales

95% of all purchases will be through eCommerce by the year 2040. ECommerce businesses are constantly looking for ways to optimize their customers’ shopping and browsing experiences to nurture sustained growth for their brand. With online shopping’s explosive growth in the last couple of years advanced by technological and marketing innovations, the only way for eCommerce brands to succeed today is by riding the wave.

This means welcoming and adopting transformational technological tools such as AI to boost the overall shopping experience for your customer. AI can be instrumental in delivering a superior online experience by helping customers and visitors every step of the way in their online shopping journey, be it in the form of chatbots, understanding customer behavior, predictive analytics, and more.

One of the most impactful ways AI helps online businesses is through insight-based product recommendations in eCommerce. Amazon is a pioneer in this area, so much so that 35% of Amazon’s total revenue can be attributed to product recommendations. Impressive as this is, product recommendations are one of the easiest ways to improve conversion rates and average order values, decrease cart abandonment, and help make your brand memorable and a delight to shop at. 

Product Recommendations – What ECommerce Businesses Need to Know

Accenture found out that a whopping 91% of customers are more likely to shop with brands who acknowledge, remember, and present relevant offers and recommendations to them. In fact, personalized recommendations can grow conversions by up to 35%, according to Shopify. This is revealing and critical for eCommerce businesses to consider while strategizing their business operations and marketing approach. 

More and more eCommerce stores are now leveraging customer data and online behavior to personalize recommendations for individual visitors and returning customers. ECommerce stores accomplish this by using a retail product recommendation engine that is based on AI and machine learning to evaluate customer preferences and customize recommendations and offers that would best appeal to them. 

A compelling product recommendation engine for eCommerce effectively studies customer

Source: Remarkety

behavior and online data to build highly specific individualized profiles. These profiles keep evolving in real-time as the engine gains new information through the customer’s online behavior.  

Product recommendations are based on different types of customer data, including website cookies, wishlists, liked items, most-viewed products, previous orders, shopping carts, feedback, purchasing behavior, and more. Product recommendation engines work in three major ways – 

Collaborative Filtering

The collaborating filtering technique analyzes users’ past preferences and data to predict future preferences and recommend products based on what others like. Collaborative filtering allows the product recommendation engine for eCommerce to display products that have been preferred by a large number of users and can be used for first-time website visitors. 

Content-based Filtering

Content-based filtering is more specific and uses individual customer data to personalize product recommendations in the future. According to a survey conducted by Invesp, 49% of consumers say that after receiving a personalized recommendation, they have purchased a product that they did not initially intend to buy. Content-based filtering for product recommendations is fast becoming mainstream in fashion eCommerce.

Source: LeSportSac

Hybrid Recommendations

Hybrid product recommendations combine the two techniques of collaborative and content-based filtering to offer recommendations that are both based on a user’s customer profile as well as from the data collected by other customers’ preferences. 

Here’s How Your Ecommerce Store Can Leverage Product Recommendations 

ECommerce stores that have a laser focus on growth need to adapt product recommendations to stay on top of the game and delight customers and visitors with relevant products, personalized offers, and discounts. Here are some of the ways eCommerce stores can benefit from incorporating product recommendations on their website – 

Personalized Email Campaigns

Dynamic product recommendations, both generalized as well as specific based on the customer’s profile can help eCommerce stores boost online sales. Dynamic product recommendations leverage AI to make recommendations more relevant and can lead to a boost of 30% and 35% in sales conversions and click-through rate, respectively.

Homepage Product Recommendations

Your website homepage is like your online storefront. It cements the first impression of your brand in the minds of first-time visitors while nurturing relationships with returning or existing customers. Including recommendations on your homepage is an obvious but effective way to direct your visitors’ online shopping journey. This can be done by displaying best-selling products, newly-added products, trending, discounted or on-sale items, and content-based recommendations such as products related to previous purchases or previously viewed products. 

Source: HM

Product Page Recommendations

The next set of product recommendations in eCommerce can be set up on individual product pages. Product detail pages offer a rich opportunity for online stores to recommend similar categories and products for increased average order and cart values. This is especially true for online fashion stores since they can use product pages for cross-selling by showing related items or items that would pair well with the product in view.

You can recommend products such as other relevant products, complementary products such as ‘shop the look’ items, and items bought by other customers who bought the product being viewed. 

Source: HM

Source: ASOS

Product Recommendations on Checkout Pages

The checkout process may seem like the end of your customer’s shopping experience, but the reality is it is the point where you can further delight your customers by showing relevant and undeniably appealing product recommendations that can possibly increase the cart value. You can do this by displaying products such as ‘frequently bought together’, ‘customers also bought’ or products that will provide shipping benefits if bought together, and other recommendations based on the user data. 

Source: WooCommerce

The Importance of Product Imagery in Product Recommendations

There is no doubt that product imagery plays a pivotal role in guiding customer behavior and purchasing decisions while shopping online. As a matter of fact, research by Shopify reveals that a meager 0.52% of consumers want to see a single product photo, 33.16% prefer to see multiple photos, whereas up to 60% of consumers prefer eCommerce imagery that will provide a 360-degree view of the product.

This is important to consider for fashion eCommerce stores since clothing and apparel are difficult to shop for without the tacit feel of the product that one can get in a brick-and-mortar store. Impactful, accurate, and aesthetically pleasing eCommerce product imagery can make a huge difference while shopping online, and brands that leverage high-resolution product photography build a robust foundation for success in the long run. 

It is, therefore, crucial to prioritize having high-quality product images to unlock the full potential of your online fashion business before you invest in a product recommendation engine for your eCommerce store. This will not only amplify your brand image and awareness amongst existing customers but will also elevate your product recommendation process by engaging customers through accurate and beautiful imagery. 

Conclusion – Product Recommendations Are at the Heart of Intelligent Ecommerce Marketing

Product recommendations based on advanced AI and machine learning technologies will help eCommerce businesses reach new levels of success through thorough customer engagement and making the customers feel heard and understood. Relevant recommendations can help you build stronger relationships with existing customers while giving new shoppers a legitimate incentive to stay, shop more, or return to your eCommerce website for more. 

Amidst all of this, eCommerce businesses need to remember that working on the basics of their website is their foremost responsibility, which includes product imagery that stands out and conveys your brand’s personality effectively. Combined together, insight-based product recommendations complemented with high-quality product images can help your brand set itself apart from the competition. 

Platforms such as FlixStudio empower eCommerce businesses with the latest photography solutions such as AI-based on-model imagery that is ready for eCommerce and marketing campaigns, that too at a fraction of the cost and time when compared with traditional photoshoots. FlixStudio eliminates the massive amount of effort and investment required for traditional in-person photoshoots by leveraging AI to generate large volumes of high-quality product images to help you boost your eCommerce store’s growth and success.

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Arunava Acharjee

(Product Marketing Manager)