Product Recommendation Strategies that are Working this Holiday Season

Friday, December 19, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Recently Listrak CEO Ross Kramer reported on what personalization strategies he’s seen working for Listrak clients this holiday season. It was posted by Internet Retailer on December 18, 2014: 
Offers based on the last item a shopper viewed, automated recurring campaigns and personalized recommendations throughout a web site session are all proving successful, says Listrak’s CEO.
One thing we’ve seen that has been making retailers’ season merry so far is the use of personalized recommendations on-site and in e-mail. As long as the recommendations are contextual, based on where the customer is in the purchase process, her behavior, purchases and preferences, they are welcome—appreciated even—by shoppers in all types of e-mail campaigns and on website pages.
Below are some examples of what we’ve seen lately that’s really working:
Taking clues from intent
Recent browse and abandonment data is critically important to consider when marketing to shoppers, especially this time of year when traffic is at its heaviest. Including personalized products based on last items viewed or abandoned helps the performance of broadcast, as well as triggered campaigns.
And it’s never too soon to start. While you might assume that you don’t have enough browse data to recommend relevant products in the first welcome series e-mail, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that this is not the case. Recently a skin care client, who was already featuring top sellers and CEO picks in the first welcome series e-mail, updated the algorithm of the top two products in the message to those recently browsed and saw conversions increase more than four-fold.  
Making e-mails shoppable
We are a scrolling society, and in e-mail, we have found that the more products featured the better, as long as they are personalized and organized in a way that makes sense. Our clients who send automated recurring campaigns such as Monday Markdowns, Tuesday Top Sellers and What’s New Wednesday are finding that subscribers are actually “shopping” from the e-mails, with one client finding that one in four of all openers are clicking on multiple products.
Sending more often
While some retailers fear sending too many e-mails over the holiday season and irritating subscribers, we have clearly found many benefits to sending more often with automated recurring messages.
For example, one fast-fashion retailer who was previously only sending broadcast e-mails on Tuesday and Thursday, recently added three automated recurring campaigns featuring personalized products—Top Sellers on Mondays, New Arrivals on Friday and Sale Items on Sunday—and increased orders per day by 17%.
In addition, because the campaigns are automated, once set up, they are sent each week, presenting each subscriber with a wide array of products personalized based on her activity and purchase profile, without any additional time or resources required of the merchant. What’s more, two out of three of the new campaigns only feature full-price products, which increases the retailer’s profit margin on incremental revenue.   
Helping potential purchasers throughout the visit
The holiday season thus far has shown that shoppers are aided by recommendations throughout the pages of retailers’ web sites. We’ve seen on average a 23% lift in conversions for retailers featuring personalized recommendations on the home page, category and sub-category pages, search page, product display page and cart page.
The key to on-site recommendations is to make sure to feature products that fit the context of where the shopper is in her visit and to identify why you are showing them.
While testing is the only way to know what works for your particular customer base, you may want, for example, to include top sellers on the home page to get the shopper to explore what others are buying, but items frequently purchased together on the cart page to upsell and maybe even to help the shopper meet the free shipping threshold. Especially this time of year when shoppers may be hurriedly searching your site to find what they want, decrease bounce rate when they do a search with no results by showing them products to keep them engaged.
What have you seen working in e-mail and on-site so far this holiday season?

Listrak provides e-mail marketing services to 61 of the Internet Retailer Top 1000 web merchants.

Strategy Guide: Personalize Product Recommendations on Your Website

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