Where are Retailers Placing Product Recommendations?

Retailers are being more creative in where they place product recommendations on their sites. For example, recommendations on Category and pop-up “Add to Cart” confirmation pages, are creeping up in usage as retailers look for new opportunities to merchandise to their shoppers.

We shopped 120 randomly selected IR 500 eCommerce sites and Reflektion clients to get a sense of where digital retailers are not only placing, but varying their product recommendations. The results demonstrate what is becoming the norm, and also shed light on opportunities where retailers can change their approach by leveraging new pages or tactics that competitors may not not have tried yet.

For each retailer, we visited each standard page type, along with “no results” pages to add as many product recommendation placements as possible to our analysis. Here’s what we found:

Product Recommendation placement

The majority of retailers had at least one set of recommendations on the main three pages (homepage, PDP, and cart) of their sites. Here’s a closer look at trends for each page:

Homepage

  • Retailers favored “Just for You” product sets, appealing to returning shoppers
  • Featured or Trending Items were also common, appealing to new shoppers

Product Detail Page

  • Retailers who didn’t have a PDP placement either didn’t offer recommendations at all, or opted for a single placement on their entire site
  • Retailers were split 50/50 on displaying 1 or 2 sets of recommendations combining “You May Also Like” with a cross-selling opportunity like Complementary Products

Shopping Cart

  • Brands favored “You May Also Like” and “Shoppers Who Bought This Product Also Bought” selections on the cart
  • Some used this opportunity to support promotions with coordinating accessories or low cost products to easily hit free shipping thresholds

Category Pages

  • This placement is gaining in popularity, but it’s success depends on whether shoppers regularly use navigation, if not this content could be lost on low traffic pages

No Search Results

  • Retailers are turning a poor search experience into a positive one, by drawing shoppers back in with “Best Sellers” followed by “You May Also Like” suggestions

Add to Cart

  • A few brands that use pop-up add to cart confirmations are leveraging product recommendations to help shoppers navigate to other categories or areas of interest

Conclusion

The statistics show that the product detail page and carts are by far the most common placements. But the numbers also suggest that retailers are branching out in terms of locations and the number of approaches used to select products. When it comes to the nature of the recommendations themselves, retailers have shifted from “Most Popular” towards more personalized sets that their shopper “May Also Like.” Once a shopper is engaged at the product level, many brands are taking the opportunity to draw them deeper into the product catalog, introducing them to complementary products through additional placements.

Hillary Wilmoth
Hillary Wilmoth

Hillary Wilmoth is the senior product marketing manager at Reflektion. Having worked in merchandising, consumer products, publishing, analytics and technology over the past 9 years, you might think she has ADD; but each marketing role was shopper-focused and research-driven. Hillary is a native of Baltimore, and, no, it’s not exactly like The Wire.