How to build a product recommender for ecommerce sales – the easy way

Posted in: Digital marketingLast update: 23/10/19

Imagine if you could predict the perfect product for every single customer. Sales would go through the roof, right? Well, here’s the good news: you don’t need to be an expert developer with your own product recommendation engine. Here’s an easy, affordable way to promote your brand and run giveaways with personalized product recommendations.

What is a product recommender?

Nowadays online retailers and e-commerce stores face a lot of new challenges. Mobile shoppers, cart abandonment, trying to reach an ever-growing audience. And that’s all without losing that personal touch which made your brand special in the first place.

Statistic: Online shopping cart abandonment rate worldwide from 2006 to 2019. The chart shows a steady increase from 59.8% to 69.57%.
Chart via Statista.com

That’s why so many are turning to product recommenders, also known as product advisors. These are smart systems which offer product recommendations depending on tastes and preferences of each client. And because product recommender systems are automated, they can work on a large scale.

It is proven that when a user receives offers of products based on their likes, the rate of cart abandonment reduces and sales conversations increase. Thus, product recommenders and personalisation in general are incredibly effective ways to promote a product or brand online. 

For example, this quiz from beauty brand Tatcha can suggest up to 30 products and 500 different beauty routines, and that’s based on only five questions about daily skin care routine. The questionnaire asks about the user’s current beauty habits, skin problems, products that they currently use. This product recommender significantly boosted customer dwell time and conversion rates.

Screenshot of the Tatcha beauty quiz product recommender. The first question asks customers whether they are "minimalists", "ritualists", or "enthusiasts" about skincare.

But not everyone can afford the time or money to build their own product recommender engine. If you run a small business, e-commerce, Etsy or Shopify store, then you need more accessible – but equally successful – tools.

The good news? You don’t need your own development team. The Product Recommender app by Easypromos will allow you to write great product recommendations, reach customers via email and even set up targeted offers and product giveaways. Read on to learn how!

How to build a product recommender in under 60 minutes

Most product recommenders need a customer history to make predictions on what could be suitable for the client. Therefore, it’s normally difficult to share targeted product recommendations and offers with new customers.

Here’s the solution: just ask. A customer quiz is the easiest way to find out what people really want, whether they’re your loyal customers or they only just discovered your website. At the end of the questionnaire you can create a personalised message for each user, with a few product recommendations that fit the participant’s profile. 

Image of product recommender showing examples of questions asked to users

It’s time to get started with the questionnaire! Create a range of different questions and illustrate them with pictures or videos, take care of the overall design of the quiz. The theme of the questions is a personal thing for each brand; you need to keep in mind that at the end of the day you are trying to sell a product! You can ask the client about a thousand different things! Ask about their favourite colours, where the client plans to wear the outfit or what is their favourite product from a specific selection.

Image of product recommender app with cheese recommendation as example

Then you simply assign a score to each answer. Use the option to present final messages according to the most popular responses. When a customer completes the quiz, the system will automatically review which answers were used the most and present a final personalised message. In this case the personalised message will include a product recommendation.

3 mobile screenshots sohwing a product recommender from a travel agency, created with Easypromos. The first screen reads "Which Canadian city should you visit?" The second screen shows a sample question, asking users to choose one of Poutine, Ice cream sandwich, Japadogs and Bloody Caesar. On the final screen, the app recommends a trip to Toronto.

You can offer a product giveaway, introductory discount right or a raffle then and there. You can use the email platform integrated in the control panel of the questionnaire to follow up with customers later. It can be useful to hand out coupons, QR codes, free gifts, delivery coupons. Any idea of email promotion will encourage customer loyalty and tempt your quiz-takers into making a purchase.

Image of final message in product recommender showing personalised message with a discount code

Click here to learn about the Kettlewell Colours product advisor, and how the clothing brand collected over 5,000 email addresses.

Use product recommendations to drive sales

If you make the time to write quizzes and product recommendations that really connect, then you’re sure to see a bump in sales. Modern shoppers are searching for personalised, helpful customer service – especially online – that will save them time, money and headache when it comes to looking for products. 

If you’re looking for more tips, click here for more info on the product recommender app, including an in-depth tutorial. And if you’d like to talk about your product recommender plans, get in touch!

Corinna Keefe

Content marketer at Easypromos

Publication date: 2019-08-21