Tips for Effectively Using Product Recommendations


Cross-selling and upselling can be important ways of increasing revenue for an ecommerce website—but only if you do it right! If you spend much time shopping online, you have probably noticed that every ecommerce website seems to approach these areas a little differently. Obviously you will have to develop a plan that works best for your unique business, but do so with the following “do’s and don’ts” in mind:

DO show related products and services, such as accessories and peripheral products.

DON’T show a random selection of goods.

You would think that this one is common sense, but apparently it isn’t. Don’t offer your customers a screwdriver when they purchase a blouse; show them items that go with the blouse, accessories, and things that other customers have bought with the same item.

DO show the goods through Quick Look, AJAX Hover or similar functions.

DON’T make the customer leave their original product page. 

While it is important to suggest related goods, do not do so in a way that requires your customers to be distracted from their original purchase. Offer a quick look at the product. If they choose to go to the product page after having their Quick Look, make sure there is a ‘return to your last page’ button to get them quickly back to where they were originally. Don’t make them push their own ‘Back’ button. A lot won’t.

DO include basic information about the items you are recommending.

DON’T show a simple text title. 

There is nothing alluring about a title, no matter how well-written. Your customers need to be able to see a photo along with a brief description. You get bonus points if your Quick View or other product recommendation display has a simple “Add to Cart” button that will make buying the recommended product a single step process.

DO offer bundles of related products.

DON’T make them hunt down each individual product.

The more time people spend shopping on a website, the more likely they are to be interrupted, get bored, lose their connection, or otherwise have a good reason to abandon their purchase. Offering bundles of related products—such as a cell phone, charger, and ear piece—encourages them to buy everything they need from your ecommerce website and ensures that they can do it quickly. Amazon offers this service and doesn’t even offer a discount. One of the supposed benefits of online shopping is the efficiency, so make it snappy.

DO offer comparisons.

DON’T compare products that have little in common.

To get back to our cell phone example, if a person is looking at a certain phone, your cross-selling could include other similar phones along with a simple comparison of the two. This is a little complicated in practice, but it will make it very easy and fast for customers to make a selection. And, after all, speed is everything in the ecommerce world.

There are many ways to upsell and cross-sell on an ecommerce website. Don’t lose out on profit; figure out today how you are going to offer your customers the relevant and necessary products they are looking for.