Offering your customers personalised product recommendations is quickly becoming less of an option and more of a necessity when growing your eCommerce store. Here's why.
»We have 6.2 million customers, we should have 6.2 million stores.«
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, sat in his Seattle-office and said this. In 1999.
And this is exactly one of the reasons why Amazon is one of the worlds's largest eCommerce businesses today.
More than 15 years ago (a century in eCommerce-years), Jeff Bezos and Amazon understood that the key to being truly successful in eCommerce is to treat each and every customer differently. To personalise their shopping experience.
And the reason why has to do with simple math.
Online shoppers visiting your webshop typically have time to see just 1-2% of the products in your store.
So basically, visitors on your webshop are like Neo in The Matrix.
You get the point. There are just too many options.
And this is why it's crucial that you use personal product recommendations on your eCommerce store to narrow down your visitors' choices.
By doing this, you achieve 3 things:
1. You increase your average order value and sales rates by displaying the products uniquely relevant to your individual customers.
2. You vary your recommendations and thereby shed a light on your entire product catalogue, instead of always displaying the same products to all your customers.
3. You give your customers an improved shopping experience by making sure that they quickly find the products of interest to them.
Getting this right is a very important step in making sure that your online business isn't the one left behind when the eCommerce train leaves the platform.
And the wheels are already in motion...
Between 2015 and 2018 online sales worldwide are expected to increase by more than 70% from $1700 billion to $2356 billion.
The statistics really speak for themselves...
But that just means that there'll be plenty of online shoppers to go around, even if you don't make an effort to personalise their shopping experience... Right?
Weeell, not exactly.
Yes, more and more people will do their shopping online in the years to come.
But that also means that visitors on your webshop will be increasingly used to getting a personalised shopping experience of high quality.
On top of that your visitors will have a constantly growing number of alternative webshops to choose from (globalisation and all that).
...And just think about that for a second: on a street full of stores with enthusiastic sales personnel, who genuinely want to help their customers, would you really want to own the one store, where your customers are greeted like this...?
Many of your customers will feel this indifference through their screens if they enter your webshop and receive a one-fits-all service with default product recommendations that doesn't appeal to them.
And here comes the truly scary part: many will react by leaving and perhaps even visiting your competitor's website next.
So, it's all about showing your customers that you care for them and want to help them.
This essentially means that if your customer, like me, is looking into building his own film studio and browses for products on your webshop to do so, you should then recommend him DIY equipment when he returns to your site.
Jeff Bezos acknowledged this in 1999 and it has only become more essential since.
But not only do you need to use personal product recommendations to your advantage to optimse your sales and successfully grow your online business.
You also need to trust the recommendations and make sure to use them correctly.
...Even if it goes against your gut instinct.
Getting the most out of your product recommendations
Because you might think you know what your customers want and you most likely do... To a certain extent.
But this is where it's time for a little tough love.
Because it's dangerous to "force" recommendations on your customers or assume that you know them better than they know themselves...
Especially when it comes to recommendations on your product pages, where your customers would expect recommendations relating to a specific item.
You need to trust your recommendation software, because it listens to your individual customers and finds the products they are likely to be looking for or might be interested in.
What this means is that you really should think twice before you manually edit your recommendations to show snorkling gear all over your webshop, because you're convinced that this is exactly what all your customers are looking for (or because you want to sell more snorkling equipment).
Yes, snorkling is nice, but going all out on recommending this gear will only peak the interest of a relatively narrow segment of your customers.
And the rest? They will probably wonder why you suddenly want them to buy snorkling gear, when they were looking at longboards.
Now, it's understandable why one would try to promote a line of products this way.
But truth is that such "forced" recommendations on a product page just won't do any good for you or your customer.
Your customer will feel like you are wasting his time with out-of-context recommendations and you miss a great opportunity to actually recommend the customer relevant products that would help convert or upsell him - such as alternative boards or carrier bags for boards.
No, your customers might not be looking for the items you are dying to sell, but you can't always change that by trying to stuff those items down their throats.
Granted, it makes good sense to promote new arrivals, great offers or last season products that you want to get rid of by placing a banner or a product slider on the front page.
But the point is that your customers will see through your recommendations if too many of them are generic.
So, to conclude: The eCommerce business is skyrocketing and so is the number and quality of webshops.
This makes it more important than ever to offer your customers a personalised shopping experience.
With so many personalised eCommerce stores out there, your customers simply don't have the time and patience to browse through pages of products on your webshop.
This is where personal product recommendations makes all of the difference:
1. They will increase your conversion rates by displaying products uniquely relevant to your individual customers.
2. They will improve your customer retention by giving your customers a memorable shopping experience.
3. They will save you time, as you don't have to fiddle with manual recommendations
4. But they will only do so if you let them. You must trust the workings of the automated product recommendations. After all, they are built to know and serve your customers.
Remember to check out our product recommendation software to see how we can help you walk in Jeff Bezos' footsteps and offer your customers a completely tailored shopping experience.