14 Types of Products Recommendations That Go Beyond the Basics

Most eCommerce businesses will have some form of product recommendations on their website, but many will be only covering the basics.

They may place a few last minute suggestions at the checkout or highlight the same old bestsellers on an email.

But the world of product recommendations has moved on.

There are now a greater variety of ways to display them and more types of product recommendations to choose from. What’s more, they’re all tied to customer behaviour. Rather than simply broadcasting recommendations at visitors, you can now start to deliver different recommendations types based on how they behave and where they are on the customer journey

We take a look at the smarter types of product recommendations in eCommerce—all of which are possible in our personalisation platform btw!

We’ll show you how to improve your website experience, increase conversion rates, and drive more sales with smarter product recommendations.

1. Previously viewed

It’s pretty rare that people buy something when they first come to your site. In fact, only 17% of consumers browse with intent to purchase on a first visit. It means there’s a lot of browsing, comparing and checking out competitors before shoppers make a final decision.

With all this back and forth it can be tricky to find what they saw before. ‘Recently viewed items’ takes the hassle out of the whole process. This feature surfaces the products that the person clicked and browsed before and makes it easy to pick up where they left off.

2. Similar products

Sometimes it’s tricky to narrow down your search and hone in on the products you really want to see.

Similar product recommendations are an effective way to guide the shopper through their research. It matches the products which are similar and displays them next to each other. It’s a useful tool that lets shoppers compare products easily without having to start their search from scratch each time.

3. Recommended for you

Now this is one that the big guns use. Think Amazon and eBay. And there’s good reason for them pulling out these personal recommendations. A staggering 35% of Amazon.com’s revenue is generated by its recommendation engine. It’s all because they’re highly relevant to you—based on previous purchases and personal preferences.

4. Upsell recommendations

Suggesting higher priced products to high-intent browsers is good technique to increase your revenue per transaction. Upsells can easily be displayed next to similar products to tempt customers to spend more.

The browser can be invited to ‘upgrade their purchase’ for just a few pounds and get a whole host of additional features. It’s tempting stuff for a consumer and an easy way to drive revenue for the retailer.

5. Frequently bought together

Recommending items that are frequently bought together will help you build basket values. Once someone clicks on an item or puts something in their basket it’s easy to come up with complementary suggestions.

If they’re purchasing a camera, suggest a compatible tripod and carry case. If they’ve bought clothes then invite them to ‘complete the look’ with matching accessories.


6. Higher margin recommendations

Recommending products that have a higher margin is an advanced technique that few businesses have cottoned onto.

Your customer’s don’t know what your margins are on each product, so their experience isn’t impacted by recommending products that give you a higher profit.

Case study: Learn how Fitness Superstore use higher margin product recommendations to deliver 11X ROI from personalisation.

7. Post-purchase cross-sell

You don’t need to make all of your product recommendations at once.

In fact sometimes it’s better to wait and show them some post-purchase recommendations later. It gives the buyer time to enjoy their first purchase and decide they want to add to it. For example, recommending a clutch to go with a recently bought handbag.

It’s easy to send an email after with a few handy cross-sells. And when they visit your site next don’t forget to base some of your recommendations on what they bought before.

8. Add-on recommendations

These are the type of recommendations that appear because they’re linked to a product you’re currently looking at. Things like hotels at destinations you’re searching for flights to. The likes of Expedia and Easyjet are masters of this. They simply look at your actions and make a logical jump towards what you’re likely to want next!

9. What people like you bought

It’s nice to know what other people decided on. It takes the pressure off and means we can rely on the fact they did the research.

It’s especially the case when those people are similar to us—we tend to think it must be the right decision. Today it’s much easier to profile your customers and match their behaviours, interests and demographics to those of others. It means you can then make suggestions based on what similar people to them did.

By putting these options in front them it’s much more likely that they’ll follow suit!

10. What other customers are doing now

Again this one really capitalises on our natural curiosity about what others do and adds a sense of urgency. It uses real-time updates to show how many people have purchased the product you’re looking at. It shows how popular your products are and gets people to act fast before they miss out!


11. People also viewed

This type of product recommendation simply shows what other browsers looked at. It helps lead people around the site by following the actions of others. It might throw up similar items or completely different categories but because we’re intrigued to know what others did next, it often leads shoppers to stumble across items they might not have considered before!

12. Product bundles

If you sell products that often require (or inspire) purchases of complementary items, then make it easy for people to buy bundles. And better yet, offer a discount when they do!


13. Bestsellers and top-rated recommendations

It’s always great marketing to show others what customers love to buy from you. That’s why featuring your bestsellers reinforces what’s brilliant about your brand.

Browsing bestsellers is a nice starting point for new customers too. It provides inspiration and lets customers get to grips with popular products they’re likely to love. If you want to mix it up a bit then don’t forget to add in your customer ratings and reviews to the list too.

13. Trending products

Featuring a list of trending products is a nice way to display real-time recommendations—they show you what’s popular this instant.

You can show products that are trending on social and even surface social media feeds by featuring hashtags linked to your brand.

14. New arrivals

These are product recommendations based on new product releases you think people will be interested in. For a clothing retailer it might be a new seasonal collection. For a phone retailer it might be the latest Samsung Galaxy mobile.

By displaying these latest products you can encourage people to purchase before anyone else. It’s a great way of making the customer feel as if they’ve got their hands on an exclusive treat!


If you’re stuck in a rut with product recommendations then take some time to try out a few of these. They just go to show how varied and sophisticated product recommendations can be.

Product recommendations aren’t complicated or expensive to implement either. You can integrate any of the product recommendations above using PureTargeting, our platform platform, on both emails and your website.

So all you need to do next is pick which product recommendations are right for each stage of the customer journey. Then just weave them into your eCommerce experience, sit back and and reap the rewards.

Book a free demo now to boost your eCommerce performance with product recommendations.

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