Michael

15 % Conversion Uplift: Automated vs. Manual Cross-Sells

Many online shops are offering cross-sells. What you normally don’t recognize as a shop visitor: some of the cross-sells are manually created by the shop owner, others are automated. So what are the reasons for a shop owner to use manual or automated cross-sells?

What are Manual Cross-Sells?

Many ecommerce systems like e.g. Magento have built-in solutions to add cross-sells to product pages or the cart page. You then define manually for every product which other products should be cross-sold when the customer visits a product page.

When to Use Manual Cross-Sells?

Many of our customers – especially in the fashion area – tend to argue that they know best what their customers want to buy. Of course, the shop owner is an expert for his target group and therefore it absolutely makes sense, that he adds manual cross-sells for products where he e.g. knows, that customers in their retail stores always buy a specific shirt for a selected trouser.

But then, after we’ve talked to the customers and asked, if they’ve ever tested what happens when they offer perfectly matching other shirts for the taste of the current customer. Of course, this scenario has never been tested in retail stores because it is simply not possible. But in online shops you have a user profile, recurring customers and the possibility to complement your manual recommendations with automated ones.

Advantages of Manual Cross-Sells

  • Integrate knowledge from retail stores into online shops
  • Sell outs are possible for specific products
  • You as a shop owner know exactly which products appear as cross-sell for the currently selected ones

Disadvantages of Manual Cross-Sells

  • It is a huge effort to maintain the cross-sells
  • …and therefore very expensive
  • Visitors could not like the manual recommendations
  • You have to keep your recommendations manually up-to-date after e.g. season changes

What are Automated Cross-Sells?

Automated Cross-Sells can be used on every product page and on cart pages. Looking at the current product context, this kind of cross-sells automatically determine the perfect matching products for the currently selected one. This can be influenced by the conversion of the current products (“Others also bought”), but also by seasonal changes, the current stock availability, the categories of the product and much more.

Automated Cross-Sells combine personalization logics with product-based logics to get the best matching result out of the current visitor profile, combined with the knowledge of the shop owner regarding his product portfolio.

Advantages of Automated Cross-Sells

  • Automation for perfectly fitting products for the currently selected one
  • No effort to maintain the recommendations
  • Only the products currently in stock are suggested to customers
  • The conversion rate can be optimized by changing the rule set for the recommendations

Disadvantages of Automated Cross-Sells

  • You can’t exactly determine which recommendations will appear
  • Sell outs are only possible by “faking” the recommendations

Comparison of Manual and Automated Cross-Sells

A real comparison of manual and automated cross-sells is difficult, because except of the name the two kinds of recommendations don’t have any commonality. That’s also the reason, why we always have to explain, that “manual” cross-sells on product pages are actually only a manual way to add some kinds of recommendations on these pages if you have no automation. But: many of our customers still believe in the manual way and don’t want to switch completely to automated recommendations – at first. That’s why we recommend to use both: give your customers the chance to decide for you!

Add one manual widget next to an automated cross-sells widget and afterwards compare their performance. In our experience automated cross-sells nearly always convert better than manual ones. Which is no surprise in our opinion, because the automated cross-sells are not only suggesting product-based recommendations, but also use the knowledge about the current visitor to combine this with the product-based logics to then really suggest the best matching products for the currently selected one.

The results are amazing: e.g. our fashion customer HALLHUBER uses both. And compared to manual cross-sells the automated ones don’t only convert 15 % better, but also the revenues generated by customers using the automated cross-sells are amazing and nearly doubled compared to manual cross-sells. Therefore our customer is thinking to completely switch to automated cross-sells.

Conclusion: Don’t forgo the Revenue Uplift of Automated Cross-Sells

  1. Add automated cross-sells in addition to your manual ones and start with both: one widget with manual cross-sells and one with automated cross-sells.
  2. Compare the performance of your manual Cross-Sells to the automated cross-sells.
  3. Use an A/B testing tool to see what works better for you.
  4. For fashion customers: believe in the style of your customer. Of course you know which pieces should fit best for your customers, but maybe they have another opinion on this.
  5. If the results of your automated cross-sells are as amazing as for our customer HALLHUBER, then you can also decide to remove the manual cross-sell widget and completely trust in the automated way. Also offering two cross-sell widgets with slightly different configurations is a great conversion driver.

With Recolize you can easily add automated cross-sells to your product pages. Visit this article to see what’s possible.

Michael15 % Conversion Uplift: Automated vs. Manual Cross-Sells
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5 Reasons for Offering Automated Product Recommendations in an Online Shop Blog

Many online shops are also offering a blog to generate SEO traffic and inform their customers of interesting updates. Blogs are a great way to make an online shop feel more human and up-to-date when updated regularly. But as shop owner the main goal of a blog is of course to bring traffic back to the online shop and also convert blog visitors to online shop customers.

Therefore here are the 5 reasons why you should offer automated product recommendations in an online shop blog.

Reason 1: Make Your Blog Posts Sell

Most of the blog posts in supporting e-commerce blogs are talking about new products, changes in style, product seasons, a sale etc. After or while informing your customers, they should always have the possibility to buy something, which is missing in so many blogs. In static blogs the visitor has to navigate manually to the online shop and then search for the products he read about. Always offer these products directly in your blog posts and also other fitting products like e.g. personalized recommendations. This is easily possible with automated product recommendations without additional effort. Your blog visitors will thank you with a higher conversion rate.

Reason 2: SEO Traffic is Worthier Than SEA Traffic

An e-commerce blog mostly exists to improve generic SEO traffic for your online shop. The visitors coming through this sales channel were searching for exactly the content you are offering in your blog. Also, these visitors regularly stay much longer on your site and the chance to convert them is much higher than with dumb paid SEA traffic in your online shop. Because of these reasons you should offer product recommendations on your blog pages to make this worthy high quality traffic convert.

Reason 3: Avoid Potential Customers Leave Your Site

How are you behaving when reading a blog post? If interesting, you probably completely read the article, have a short look at suggested links below the article and if you came from a search engine, you use the browser back button to go back to the search results and visit the next interesting result. That’s where you lose your conversion chance as a shop owner!

Exactly at this point you have to interrupt the user by offering interesting and perfectly matching product recommendations. Make your own products more interesting than the next search results on Google. Only when you convince your visitors to visit your shop here, you have the chance to convert them. And of course product recommendations don‘t only make sense at the end of your posts – offer them also in between and give your posts more product context and flexibility.

Reason 4: Your Blog as Starting Point for a Perfect E-Commerce Customer Journey

Think about the traffic of your online shop. There are lot‘s of starting points for your onsite customer journey:

  • Paid SEA visits
  • Returning customers
  • Newsletter clicks
  • Generic SEO traffic

Especially the last one, generic SEO traffic, is the one where your potential customers at first get in touch with your blog. So the starting point for your online shop‘s customer journey then suddenly is your blog! Then you have to ask yourself: „Ok, now I have lot‘s of generic SEO traffic, but how can I make them visit my shop?“. And one of the answers is: use the recommendation engine which is already used in your online shop. Then you have a win-win situation: on the one hand you improve the performance of the recommendations also with your blog traffic and on the other you use the intelligent recommendations generated by your shop‘s traffic in your blog.

Reason 5: Automated Product Recommendations are Always Up-to-date

You probably know this szenario: you are constantly creating great blog posts with static links back to your shop products. But with a season change all these products are gone. Or your products are out of stock. This can be really bad for your customer journey and also your SEO rankings. With automated product recommendations instead of static links you always only offer currently available products. You can also fall back to personalized recommendations if e.g. the season is changing. So you avoid additional effort to update old blog posts and dead links and therefore disappointed blog visitors will never be a topic on your todo list again.

Automate Your Blog Product Recommendations

With the 5 reasons above you‘ve learned why you should no longer pass on automated product recommendations in your online shop blog. You can completely automate the recommenced products, guide the traffic into your shop catalog and improve your conversion rate with this traffic.

If you are searching for a personalization solution offering this, try Recolize. Our unique cross-domain feature offers the possibility to integrate your product recommendations e.g. into your WordPress blog with 2 clicks. Furthermore you have the possibility to integrate your recommendations also on all your other domains like e.g. on your company website. Visit the reference page of our customer Resch&Frisch who does exactly this on his TYPO3 company website.

Michael5 Reasons for Offering Automated Product Recommendations in an Online Shop Blog
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6 Reasons for Automated Recommendations on 404 Pages

The power of 404 pages is often underestimated. “Not found” pages are of course not the #1 conversion generation pages, but you should really invest some thoughts in creating reasonable 404 pages instead of displaying a standard “Ooops, we’re sorry.”. Help your lost visitors on your 404 page. Here are the 6 reasons why you should do that and offer automated recommendations on these pages.

Which Traffic can Result on 404 Pages?

There are lot’s of possibilities why your visitors are landing on a “not found” page:

  • Old links from external sites
  • Missing redirects for old pages
  • Old SEA links e.g. in Google AdWords
  • Wrong internal links
  • Deployments of new versions
  • Partial downtimes of your website

Whatever reason, it is lot’s of effort to solve all of them and avoid 404 visits completely. That’s why you should really invest some time in optimizing the 404 page, because it will probably be displayed to a significant part of visitors.

Reason 1: 404 Pages Often Have Lot’s of Traffic

Especially when you have an online shop and generate paid traffic e.g. through Google AdWords or Bing Ads, it is always possible, that you buy traffic for product pages which are already offline because the products are e.g. out of stock. The product feeds for the mentioned paid services are normally updated only once a day, but many online shops are updating their product catalog much more frequently. This can result in 404 pages for at least some hours a day for very expensive traffic.

Reason 2: Help Your Lost Customers

When visiting a “not found” page, most of your customers will be irritated. They intended to visit a specific page, but it is gone. Therefore it is very important to help your lost customers not only by displaying them that they are lost. This is what most 404 pages do and your customers will be even more irritated and the chance that they will leave your website is very high. Therefore you should help your customers by saying “Sorry” and propose next steps by displaying relevant recommendations.

Reason 3: Don’t Interrupt the Browsing Experience

404 pages are normally visited as first page or somewhere in the middle of the customer journey of your website visitors. This customer journey must be as smooth as possible to convince a potential customer of buying or a visitor to stay even longer. Therefore “not found” pages should not look like “sorry pages”, but also contain relevant content for the current visitor. The customer has to think: “Oh no, the product I’d like to visit is gone, but hey, I already see great matching similar ones. Let’s move on and buy something different”.

Reason 4: Help Your Broken Links

Broken links are nearly unavoidable. In online shops you will always have products that a suddenly out of stock and in blogs there will always be external broken links to your website. Of course you should repair all these broken links with redirects, but you should also care for the time in between fixing the causing issue and when the issue started. A great 404 page is one perfect possibility to mitigate the issue as broken links will always occur.

Reason 5: Convert Traffic on 404 Pages

Why shouldn’t 404 pages be conversion optimization pages? As written above, there are several reasons why 404 pages can become lot’s of traffic. So, you should conversion optimize it like e.g. your home page or any other landing page. Add automated and relevant recommendations, beautiful teasers and images and e.g. coupon codes. This will convince your customers to continue and improve the conversion rate of formerly lost visitors. A great chance to increase your overall performance and to not lose all the traffic landing on 404 pages.

Reason 6: Automation vs. Manual Updates

A great reason for recommendations on 404 pages is the automation possibility. It is easily possible to keep your 404 pages up-to-date like your home page, but normally you don’t have additional time to also update your 404 pages manually. Therefore automated recommendations or product recommendations are perfect for keeping “not found” pages current and investing no time in doing so. The recommendations update and improve automatically, and your customers always get displayed perfectly fitting proposals.

Summary: Take action!

Invest some time in your “not found” pages. The integration of automated recommendations to cross-link your customers back to your website is a great possibility to do so. This can be done once and afterwards all your different 404 pages display relevant content to your visitors – no matter where they came from.

With Recolize you can easily integrate several recommendation widgets on 404 pages. Many of our customers are displaying two widgets: one with personalized recommendations for the current visitor and the second containing last viewed products to improve the browsing  experience of the customer.

Michael6 Reasons for Automated Recommendations on 404 Pages
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HALLHUBER wins 2. Place at the Shop Usability Award

Our customer HALLHUBER relaunched its online shop in February and moved from Magento 1 to Magento 2. With this switch a beautiful new design and usability concept was implemented.

Directly after the relaunch HALLHUBER participated in the german Shop Usability Award and won the 2nd place. We are very proud to be part of this award-winning new shop and we’ve implemented a completely individual design for the online shop based on their amazing new concept. In the screenshots above and blow you can see the Recolize integration on the home and on a product page.

Recolize on a Product Page of HALLHUBERCongratulations to HALLHUBER and thank you for your support.

What Does Recolize Do for HALLHUBER?

Recolize optimizes the onsite traffic of the online shop. With our recommendation widgets integrated into every important shop page, the shop increases its conversion rate and average order value drastically. Recolize is integrated into the following pages:

  • Home
  • Product pages
  • Cart
  • Wishlist
  • Mobile cart layer
  • Search results
  • Checkout success
  • 404 pages

On the product page, the search result page and on 404 pages our customer decided to use more than one recommendation widget to reach a perfect customer journey through their online shop. Offering the possibility of a browsing history with last viewed products is also a feature of Recolize they are using on these pages, just as automated cross-sells next to manual cross sells on product pages.

What are the Results of the Recolize Integration?

After some months with the updated Recolize integration in the new online shop, the KPIs of the integration are amazing. Over 25 % of all the customers are actively clicking on a recommended product by Recolize before buying something. This number increased around 10 % after the relaunch thanks to our flexible integration into the new design. Furthermore 7 Recolize domains for all countries and languages are used and in one month now already over 4.5 million recommendation widgets are offered to the customers.
In the updated HALLHUBER case study you can now also find all the great results Recolize generates for HALLHUBER.

MichaelHALLHUBER wins 2. Place at the Shop Usability Award
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3 Ways to Integrate Cross-Sells on Product Pages

Lot’s of customers ask us how to integrate cross-sells into their product pages. Of course, the definition of cross-sells differs from customer to customer. Some are understanding manually selected fitting products to the currently selected one as cross-sells. Others want to automate. This article describes the automation: 3 ways to integrate automatic cross-sells into your online shop’s product pages.

What are Cross-Sells?

Cross-sells are defined in many different ways. Assuming that we are talking about an online shop, then cross-sells are offered on product pages. Cross-sells then are product-based recommendations and fit to the currently selected product. In comparison to real personalized recommendations, cross-sells have another context and only really work on product pages, because they need the currently selected product to function properly.

Way 1: Display Products From the Same Category

In many shops you get recommendations for products from the same category. This can make sense for shops with low-priced products like e.g. fashion stores. If you think of high-priced products like e.g. in bike online shops, then products from the same category don’t make much sense. Cross-sells are per definition additional products your customers should buy on top of the currently selected product. If you really want to display products from the same category, then please think of the pricing of the currently selected product and if it really makes sense to offer similar products within the same pricing range. If you still decide to display products from the same category for high-priced products, then you just offer one more way to improve the customer browsing journey through your shop, which can also make sense in specific cases.
To sum it up: cross-sells containing products from the same category make sense for low-priced products or product variations (e.g. sizes, colors). For high-priced products you have to think about different logics.

Way 2: Display Accessories for the Current Product

Proposing accessories as cross-sells is a great possibility to display matching products which don’t conflict with the currently selected products and also don’t interrupt the current user journey. To do this, you explicitly have to exclude the categories of the currently selected products to avoid similar products.
Try the following to find out how to configure your accessories rule:

  • Answer this question: which products do you think your customers would buy on top of the currently selected product?
  • Analyze your quotes, have a look at what your customers are already doing and narrow this down to a more specific rule.
  • Don’t only create one general rule for all cases. Cluster your products in categories or price ranges and then create separate rules for these clusters.

Way 3: Display Lower Priced Products

This is not only a great possibility for your product pages, but also for an online shop’s cart page. On product pages you can offer low-priced products for a high-priced selected product. Or just display low-priced products in your cart without any context. An example can be a bike bell for a mountain bike. So you can easily increase the average order value and push sales for cash and carry products. This can be compared with the checkout in a supermarket: these tiny little chocolates and we always think: “Ok, just one for the way home”. Try to reach this experience in your online shop.

Does Recolize Support Automatic Cross-Sells?

In the Recolize Tool you have lot’s of data pools available. One is “Cross-Sells” which is exactly what you need for offering automated cross-sells. In combination with filtering the attributes from your product feed you have a very powerful marketing tool to improve your conversion rate.

The Logic Behind Recolize Cross-Sells

Recolize cross-sell recommendations are not static at all, but depend on the automatically generated product recommendations based on your visitor’s behavior. For all 3 ways described above, this data pool should be the base of every cross-sell rule.

Michael3 Ways to Integrate Cross-Sells on Product Pages
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Recolize Becomes PrestaShop Premium Partner

PrestaShop is one of the world’s most popular E-Commerce platforms with a growing international community. Currently, it is used by more than 270,000 eCommerce retailers. With just one click, all of them can now offer our personalized product recommendations to their customers. The installation of the Recolize module takes place directly in the PrestaShop Back Office.

Easy Installation of Recolize Module in PrestaShop

Recolize offers an unlimited number of recommendation carousels with personalized products, cross-sells, up-sells, best-sellers or recently viewed products that can be integrated on every web page. In addition, our PrestaShop retailers can personalize their product recommendations across all domains, for example, blog, E-Commerce shop and company websites. Thanks to our smart assistant, all data is collected in real time. Therefore, anyone can quickly understand how Recolize personalization help to achieve the goals and maximize the revenue.

We support all PrestaShop versions 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7 in many languages (German, English, Spanish, French, Polish, Italian).

Start right now! 
And install our Recolize module directly from the PrestaShop Addons-Page.

About PrestaShop
PrestaShop was founded in 2007 with the aim of providing free E-Commerce software using open-source technology. PrestaShop features in the Inc. 5000 2016 list, which includes rapidly growing private companies in Europe. PrestaShop won the People’s Choice CMS Award for best SME e-commerce solution. PrestaShop has offices in the USA and France and is financed by XAnge Private Equity.

MichaelRecolize Becomes PrestaShop Premium Partner
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Recolize Emerges on the Australian Market through a Partnership with Magenable

With our new partner Magenable we want to capture the Australian market and provide our novel Recolize Recommendation Engine to all Australian online shops and websites.

The partnership enables us to easily integrate our Recommendation Engine for customers at the other end of the world. Magenable helps us to provide one of our main goals in Down Under: an easy, perfect and fast integration within minutes.

Magenable is the Australian Partner Supporting us with our Plans

Magenable is the Australian Magento Ecommerce Consulting company based in Melbourne. With their razor-sharp focus on Magento they can really focus on the specific need of online store customers in Australia.

Magenable Is Special

  • Blended delivery model
  • Lean management structure
  • Boutique consultancy approach
  • Razor-sharp focus on Magento

With all their know-how Magenable cuts development costs up to 40% in comparison with other development agencies. A partnership between Recolize and Magenable is the logical consequence and we hope to satisfy lots of common Australian customers in future.

Find more information regarding Magenable on their official website.

Contact Us

You are an Australian Magento merchant and eager to integrate the Recolize Recommendation Engine into your shop or you need further Magento services? Please contact us.

MichaelRecolize Emerges on the Australian Market through a Partnership with Magenable
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10 ways to optimize your conversion rate with personalized recommendations – part 3

In the first and second part of this series we showed how you keep your customers browsing on your website and inspire them to purchase more.

Personalization is not alike personalization. With the following tips you make your website more unique and improve the customer journey with personalized recommendations even on otherwise static pages.

5. Personalize everywhere or “Don’t just use all the well known places”

Personalized recommendations, especially in shops, normally appear on product detail pages, at the end of category product lists and in the cart. But why don’t also think about other places to integrate your recommendations? Think of blog posts containing recommendations with your shop products to bring the readers back to your shop. Or also static landing pages in e.g. a newsletter archive or on an AdWords campaign landing page. And how about integrating recommendations into your service pages or FAQs?

6. Bring back customers to convert from static pages

How great would it be to bring back customers from boring static pages to your conversion pages with personalized recommendations? This is possible!
Integrate the recommendations e.g. in your help area. Help texts are often highly SEO relevant because of their uniqueness and therefore also visited frequently. Real personalized recommendations on these pages, which change very rarely, always fit the taste of the visitor and are heavily relevant for him. And with the integration of e.g. a recommendation carousel in the left or right column of these static pages you guide back the customers nearly automatically.

Michael10 ways to optimize your conversion rate with personalized recommendations – part 3
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10 ways to optimize your conversion rate with personalized recommendations – part 1

With this new blog series we show you 10 ways to optimize your conversion rate with personalized recommendations.

In the first part of the series we start with two simple points. Or aren’t they that simple?

1. Make your visitors feel comfortable or how you keep the customers on your website

No matter if the visitors of your website are completely new or recurring customers. You have to attract them and make them browse through your offers to make them stay on your website as long as possible. To make your site more interesting to your visitors, personalized recommendations can be a great little helper to give the customer a more personal feeling and so encourage him to browse. This increases the average time on your site and therefore the conversions with more clicks on ad-based pages and more sales in an online-shop.

2. Personalized at first or “My customers expect great offers”

“My customers expect great offers”. Of course they do. And that’s what they get on all commercial websites worldwide. But what does “great offers” mean? It’s not only a matter of the best price, the best contents or the uniqueness. It’s also a matter of offering the right things at the right time.
Just try to offer personalized recommendations at first e.g. on a newsletter landingpage and analyze the results. Mostly the personalized recommendations will be clicked more and even convert better for most of your visitors. You can even do A/B testings to prove this with two versions of your landingpage with the same newsletter group.
We made the experience that this point is not so easy especially for larger customers, because of the argument that they know what their customers want. That’s a hard point to argue about. But you should give it a try and let the real personalization convince you with better conversion results.

In part 2 of this series we show how positive completely personalized pages can be for your conversion rate.

Michael10 ways to optimize your conversion rate with personalized recommendations – part 1
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Recolize Quick Start Guide

It’s really very easy to integrate personalized recommendations with Recolize. With our 2 click integration every website, blog and online shop – no matter which size – can start within minutes. The following quick start guide shows you how easy it is.

1. Register without any obligations or payment data with just your email address

Just visit our registration page here and you can start immediately.
Recolize - register now

2. Add your domain in the Recolize tool

Just enter your domain name and the url to your blog’s RSS feed, your online shop’s product export or e.g. a Google product feed, and copy the displayed JavaScript snippet to your website.
Recolize add domain

3. Add the JavaScript snippet to your website

Just add the generated JavaScript snippet to your website and you are already completely set up and your recommendations will be displayed.
If you use Magento, you can download our Magento extension here.
You are using WordPress? Then download our WordPress Plugin here for an easy integration.

MichaelRecolize Quick Start Guide
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