Choosing the Best Product Recommendation Technology
Product or content personalization recommendations can be huge marketing – and conversion – boons for online retailers, and we doubt that that is new news to you, as it’s been buzzed about a great deal over the last few years.
The problem is if you don’t have an Amazon sized budget how can you make use of the idea for your online retail store or website?
The good news is that there are an increasing number of tools out there being offered at a reasonable price, but the bad news is also that there an increasing number of tools out there, and choosing the right one for your business – and your website – is not always easy.
To help guide you in your decision-making, here are some important issues to consider when shopping for for product recommendation technology:
When you call or email for information on the various softwares available to implement product recommendations you are likely to be blinded by a slew of sales pitches and pricing offers. So much so that it can be easy to overlook the one thing that you really need to know first; will it work with your website?
Ideally the solution you choose should be one that pretty much works ‘out of the box’ and will require the minimum of set up and/or interruption of your site. But even before you ask about all of that you need to make sure that it is even compatible with both the types of product you sell and the content management system that your site runs on. Not all solutions, for example, are compatible with WordPress.
Level of Personalization
“One-to-One” retail marketing is a concept popularized by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in their 1996 groundbreaking book on the topic. But it hasn’t been truly practical for retailers until the arrival of automated product recommendation technology.
A Forrester Research study found that 52% of those shoppers who have experienced personalization – such as when a store remembers their name, or recommends a relevant product – preferred the experience.
All recommendation technology providers you contact will claim to support some level of personalization, but you really do need to make sure it’s a true one-to-one personalization solution.
This means that it is one that can provide relevant, dynamic and unique suggestions to the consumer with every click a customer makes as opposed to a solution that is based on the segmentation of categories.
Level of Customization
Recommendation tools all use proprietary algorithms and certain input metrics, such as individual shopping history and product category. However the best solutions are customizable so that they can be fine tuned to work with your current business model.
Scope of Distribution
Shoppers, even those that eventually become loyal customers, do not always begin their shopping journey with a company at their website. That means that if at all possible your product recommendations should be able to go ‘off-site’ too.
That means that finding a software that can also generate its recommendations when you are engaging customers via their smartphones, via social media sites and via email would be especially valuable.
Now that you know what you should be looking for where should your research begin? One great place to start is Captera. This site collects reviews of all kinds of software – including product recommendation software – form real people and active users, offering you perspectives that go beyond sales pitches that can be very helpful.