The Advantages of Product Recommendation Engines for E-Commerce

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Many of those familiar with online marketing have come across the term product recommendation engines at least some time in their career. Websites like Netflix, Ebay, and Amazon make regular use of this website optimization technique in enhancing the user experience of their site and leading towards conversions.

Many small to medium-sized business owners are latching onto its success in the creation of their own websites. Not sure how product recommendation engines can benefit your business? Read on to understand the principles and how they can be applied to your website.

Product Recommendation Engine: A Brief Explanation

As you may already be aware from your online shopping endeavors, many sites prominently feature a list of recommended products on their homepages. These lists are the results of their product recommendation engine.

These engines provide a customized shopping experience by taking into account your preferences and then correlating it with the products or services available on their site. The engine scans the entire website and information is filtered with your interests in mind. From there, products and services that are likely to appeal to you come up on the product search engine.

Not only do the predictions from product recommendation engines come from the description of the product or service but also the information it can obtain from your social networks and previous web history.

Basic Components of Product Recommendation Engines

Despite small differences across product recommendation engines, the same basic similarities exist across all systems:

User Registration: These systems require you to voluntarily register for an account with your website to avoid legal complications.

User permission: These systems must also obtain explicit permission for gathering user data and, if necessary, communicate with the user as well.

Method for Data Acquisition: Although most of the work of product recommendation engines is done behind the scene, some systems may also be configured to directly interact with customers in order to obtain a more specific type of data.

How Does a Product Recommendation Engine Work?

By default, these three types of approaches are utilized to come up with accurate results for your website’s visitors.

Collaborative Filtering

With this approach, the product recommendation engine accesses a database of users and collects information based on their behavior online as well as activities and preferences. This information is then collected and filtered, then submitted to a platform which categorizes them into products that a group of users may like or dislike.

Upon entering the site, they will determine which group of users you fall into. From there, it will provide recommendations on the assumption that your tastes are similar to users it had studied in the past.

Content Based Filtering

Complex algorithms are used in this approach so that only activities, browsing history, and preferences attributed to you alone are considered. The more time you spend on the site, the more effective this approach becomes. But the product recommendation engine will have nothing or little to base its recommendations on during the first few times you visit the site. In these instances, the results aren’t likely to be accurate as you would like.

Hybrid Recommender Systems

The hybrid recommender system is the last and often best approach as it combines the two aforementioned strategies. Because the web behavior, activities, and preferences of similar users as well as those attributed to the actual target customer are both considered, the product search engine has more information to work with. As a result, the chance of reaching an accurate and valid prediction is much higher.

The ROI of Product Recommendation Engines

Want to see a steady increase in sales of your business? The following are the benefits of utilizing a product recommendation engine on your site.

Increase volume in orders:  An increase in orders is a natural result of using product recommendation engines. This is especially true if the order was made after the recommendation.

Customer Retention: This particular benefit can only be possible if the system you’ve selected is also able to accumulate and interpret data related to cart abandonment. In this case, your system can establish a few ways to gain contact with your visitors.

High level of customization or personalization: This is an inherent benefit of using product recommendation engines and one that makes the user’s experience on your site that much more enjoyable. You can use the data accumulated indirectly to improve your website’s overall services and ensure that they are suitable according to a user’s preferences. In return, the user will be placed in a better mood to purchase your products or services.


Sure, making an online sale is satisfying, but what if you were able to make a little more? It’s obvious that Amazon is successful at this principle. Whenever you buy an action figure as a gift, you’ll be recommended more things based on the content itself; for example, the DVD animation series based on the action figure you just bought. Amazon actually takes it a step further by making its own bundle related to the product you’re looking at, but allowing you to add three items in a cart with the click of a button.

So make sure that you’re not missing out on the benefits of product recommendation engines, because this alone will make your online sales go through the roof. Doubting it? Put yourself in your own position as a consumer.

About the author: Ruben Corbo is a freelance writer that writes about technology, gaming, music, and online marketing. You can learn more about product recommendation engines by going to and learn more about other online marketing related topics. When Ruben is not writing, he is composing and producing music for film and other visual arts.


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  1. Great post! Product recommendations enhance product discovery and help visitors find product they’ll love.
    I recently made a presentation on how you can use recommendation engine to increase sales. Take a look

    Let me know what you think about it.

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