As consumption increases, marketers have more opportunities to connect with customers, but using only generic, run-of-the-mill promotions simply won’t work anymore.
If you launch a product and market it well, you’ll have an initial “aha!” moment with some of your audience. The rest of the crowd won’t immediately see it because they don’t know your product is the key to solving their problems. That, or they’re just generally indifferent.
Consumers spend a lot of time online. Eleven hours a day, in fact. Research shows the average person spends the majority of their day listening, watching, reading or interacting with content. As consumption increases, marketers have more opportunities to connect with customers, but using only generic, run-of-the-mill promotions simply won’t work anymore.
Customers demand personalization, and that includes personalized product recommendations. By suggesting a relevant product to a customer, they’re more likely to act. Recommendations can increase the average order and keep customers on your site longer.
In my earlier article, we explored the who, when and why of product recommendations; now, let’s look at how to create the perfect recommendation campaign.
Tips To Create And Deliver Personalized Product Recommendations
Product recommendations take personalization to a new level. It goes beyond adding a customer’s name to an email subject line or sending a birthday promotion by providing real-time suggestions when customers are ready to buy.
Here are some tips to create effective product recommendations:
Use data science to know your customer.
To deliver personalized product recommendations, you have to know your customer. To do so, you need to gather intel. You need to know things like a customer’s name, age, sex, hometown, interests and buying habits to create relevant recommendations.
While you might think gathering that kind of information is a bit intrusive, customers say otherwise. Research shows 52% of consumers are willing to provide personal data in exchange for recommendations that are relevant to their interests and needs.
The first step toward personalized recommendations is to make sure your data-gathering platform pulls data from online and offline sources to create a centralized database that includes individual profiles. The platform should not only collect and store data but also create automated campaigns based on collected data.
Make real-time product suggestions based on customer actions.
You want to deliver product recommendations to customers in a timely manner. If a woman is searching for an outfit to wear to a wedding, for example, you want her to see a variety of options while she’s in shopping mode.
To provide real-time suggestions, use a platform that triggers recommendations based on a customer’s actions. Let’s say a customer looks at dresses on your site but doesn’t make a purchase. Her browsing activity can serve as a trigger to immediately deliver an email that showcases the viewed products and includes some additional choices.
Customize recommendations based on customer segments to upsell and optimize inventory.
Armed with data, you can segment your customers into small, niche groups and tailor product recommendations accordingly. Of course, product recommendations aren’t just meant to inspire an initial purchase, they can be used to upsell customers and optimize inventory as well.
For example, create a segment of VIP customers who recently made a purchase and consider sending them a personalized promotion via email for a related product. A jewelry store could send its elite customers a 20%-off coupon for a necklace that matches the set of earring that the segment recently purchased. In this case, you create an offer that’s aimed at a specific group with the intent to upsell.
Your inventory can direct your product suggestions as well. The company in the previous example may need to sell that necklace to make way for another shipment. The tailored promotion serves two purposes: to encourage customers to buy a relevant product and to sell a specific kind of jewelry that the store needs to move.
Consider recommendations as add-ons.
Product recommendations can also serve as “add-on” promotions.
Let’s say a customer is using your app to shop for shoes. Once the shoes are added to the cart, it triggers a pop-up that asks the customer if he or she would like to add socks to the cart as well. In one click, socks are added to the cart and you increase your revenue because of it.
While socks weren’t necessarily on the shopper’s list, the well-timed product suggestion landed the sale. Research shows nearly half (49%) of shoppers have purchased a product that they didn’t intend to buy after receiving a product recommendation.
Think of accessories or additional items that can complement your products as they’re added to the cart.
Integrate your engagement strategy with a recommendation strategy.
Your recommendation strategy should be part of your overall engagement strategy. Essentially, you want to work product recommendations into various customer interactions, but you can’t do that if you treat recommendations as one-off campaigns.
Your entire marketing mindset should incorporate recommendations, and since they’re a fairly new concept, I find that marketers sometimes overlook them and their importance. In today’s digital age, where personalization is demanded, product recommendations can’t be ignored.
To succeed in marketing, it’s not enough to create beautiful, engaging campaigns. Customers demand personalization, but they’re not always getting it. An overwhelming majority (71%) of customers have been frustrated with an impersonal shopping experience. Product recommendations change the tides and deliver a tailored, relevant shopping experience to customers. That is, after all, what customers want and respond to.