A Guide To Choosing The Right Product Recommendations For Your Shopify Store

Ellie Ho
Jun 7, 2024
3 min read

Product recommendations are a powerful driving force in the success of your eCommerce store. In fact, product recommendations can account for up to 31% of eCommerce revenues. These impressive figures don’t just happen by chance, you need to make sure you’re showing the right types of product recommendations at the right time. In this article, we’ll show you how to get the most impact from product recommendations in your Shopify store.

What Types Of Product Recommendations Can I Add To My Shopify Store?

Product recommendations come in many different forms. Before piecing the best ones for your store together, knowing what sets them apart is a good idea. The key differentiators in product recommendation types are the data used to generate recommendations and how the data is collected.

Statistic-based product recommendations

Statistic-based product recommendations use statistical data from your Shopify store to create suggestions. The products your customers interact with, and data from your inventory form the basis of these recommendations. Product recommendations that fall into this category include:

  • Bestsellers
  • New arrivals
  • Most viewed
  • Recently viewed
  • Trending

Statistic-based product recommendations are available with premium Shopify themes such as Prestige and Impulse. However, this is typically limited to recently viewed. To include the full scope of statistic-based product recommendations, you’ll need to install a third-party app like Boost AI Search & Discovery.

Auto-generated product recommendations

Automatically generated product recommendations are a bit more sophisticated. Rather than relying solely on your store’s statistical data, algorithms run in the background and make suggestions based on shopping behavior as well. This creates product recommendations that are a lot more in tune with your customers’ preferences.

Related product recommendations in Shopify’s Search & Discovery app are auto-generated. These are products that are similar to what a customer is interacting with. The algorithm looks at purchase history, products with a similar description, and products in related collections.

Boost AI Search & Discovery, on the other hand, takes it a step further. The auto-generated product recommendations are powered by AI and machine learning models focusing on various data points. The tool can remain sharp and up-to-date as it is trained with the latest data on a weekly basis. As a result, the relevance of auto-generated product recommendations is kicked into top gear.

Rule-based product recommendations

Rule-based recommendations give merchants more control over the suggestions with the added bonus of remaining relevant. In this case, merchants set up rules based on various product attributes.

rule based product recommendation setting in boost ai search and discovery

Shopify Search & Discovery doesn’t support rule-based recommendations, so a third-party app is needed. Boost AI Search & Discovery gives Shopify merchants immense flexibility for rule-based recommendations. The app allows you to set up rules based on product tags, collections, metafields, vendors, and more.

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Hand-picked product recommendations

As the name suggests, hand-picked product recommendations are chosen by the merchant. This type of product recommendation is available on Shopify Search & Discovery and Boost AI Search & Discovery.

Product recommendation quizzes

Product recommendation quizzes are a simple yet effective way to personalize the recommendations you show your customers. Visitors answer a series of questions that aim to identify their preferences. These answers are then matched to product attributes to suggest items matching their needs.

dermalogica product quiz recommendation

(Source: Dermalogica)

The best way to build out a product recommendation quiz on your Shopify store is with an app. PERFECT: Product Quiz Builder and Shop Quiz are great for creating fun and engaging product quizzes.

A Few Things To Consider When Choosing Product Recommendations

As you begin to think about which types of product recommendations to use and when it’s a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Think about the different scenarios they could be in and how their state of mind changes as they move through your store. Are they new customers or returning ones? What does the page they’re viewing tell you? How can the product recommendations you present to them be sensitive to their frame of mind?

The shopping experience is a journey. Your product recommendations should act as a conveyor belt of inspiration that seamlessly leads shoppers to the products they’ll love. Each page of your store holds golden opportunities to guide your customers to these products. Let’s take a look at what types of product recommendations work best on different pages.

Homepage Product Recommendations

Your homepage is generally the first page shoppers will land on. At this stage, they may not be entirely sure what they’re looking for. These shoppers are here to explore.

If they’re a new customer, you’ll need to wow them and reel them in with the best your store offers. If they’re a returning shopper, you’ll want to remind them of why they loved your store in the first place. The key here is to impress, but you’ve got little information to go on regarding preferences. This makes the homepage an ideal spot for statistic-based product recommendations.

Showcase your bestsellers, trending items, and most viewed products so newcomers can get a glimpse of the first-rate products with the added bonus of social proof. New arrivals also work well on the homepage for all types of customers. Shoppers want to be on trend and stay up to date with the latest styles. Having your latest additions on the homepage, like Bad Perfectionist, lets them know your store is an excellent muse for new inspirations.

newest arrival product recommendation on homepage

The homepage is also an excellent opportunity to showcase personalization. As there is still an air of uncertainty, product quizzes can work a treat at bringing shoppers closer to the products of their dreams with minimal effort. This can be especially helpful for new customers unfamiliar with your store.

Miss Amara features its rug finder quiz toward the end of the homepage - a great move to stop shoppers bouncing off their site.

product quiz recommendation on miss amara

For returning shoppers, remind them of the products that piqued their interest with recently viewed recommendations.

Collection Page Recommendations

Now, shoppers are beginning to better understand the type of product they want, but they haven’t settled on it yet. These shoppers are still in the exploratory phase of their journey.

As part of this exploration process, shoppers will jump between product and collection pages. Including recently viewed items on collection pages will streamline the experience and reduce friction as shoppers explore. It will act as a bookmark and a clear path to items of interest.

If your collection pages are extensive, include a link to a product recommendation quiz. Statistic-based product recommendations should also be used here, but this time attuned to the collection being viewed.

newest arrivals product recommendation displayed in carousel

Sunsum Intentional Living’sUnique gifts collection is quite extensive. So, rather than forcing shoppers into an endless click-and-scroll ordeal, the store displays its newest arrivals as a carousel.

Search Bar Recommendations

An overwhelming majority of shoppers go straight to the search bar. Searchers are also more primed for purchasing. These together make the search bar an excellent spot for product recommendations. Think of the search bar as its own mini shopping journey and experience. This will help you carefully adapt the product recommendations as they move through the different steps.

Clicking on the search bar is step one. So just as you would on your homepage, present statistic-based recommendations like trending products and bestsellers. Rule-based recommendations can also promote products in a running campaign.

popular searches and trending product recommendations on search bar

Protein Package displays Popular Searches and Trending Products for search box on-click. Using Boost AI Search & Discovery to optimize filter and search experience, Protein Package has witnessed a 28% increase in conversion.

The next step is typing. At this moment, the shopper is conveying to you the type of product they desire. So, as they are typing, use auto-generated and rule-based recommendations to show related items.

Product Page Recommendations

Shoppers on product pages are now giving a clear indication of what their tastes are. That means it’s time to hone in on relevance with your product recommendations.

Use auto-generated product recommendations to display items that are frequently bought together, as well as ones that have similar attributes.

hand picked product recommendation using boost ai search and discovery

Otto Frei hand-picks a lubricating gel for a bur

This is also a great opportunity to flex your creative muscles with hand-picked recommendations. Choose products you feel go hand-in-hand with what’s being viewed and consider offering them as a bundle. A great move is to recommend hand-picked products in the form of a complete set or look. You can also use product page recommendations as an opportunity to promote overstocked product lines that need clearing out.

Even though shoppers’ interest is evident when they’re on product pages, they’re still considering their options. This provides excellent grounds for upselling and cross-selling with rule-based recommendations.

Cart Page Recommendations

At this point, shoppers have pretty much settled on what they want to purchase from your store. However, a full cart doesn’t necessarily mean a purchase is absolutely in sight. Almost 70% of shoppers abandon their cart, so use product recommendations as an enticing hook for a sale.

You’ll need to be cunning with your product recommendations here, as even 1 questionable recommendation will come across as pushy and cause shoppers to lose faith.

To resonate rather than frustrate your customers and reel them in, cart page recommendations need to add value to the purchase being considered. Focus mainly on rule-based and auto-generated product recommendations that are frequently bought together or related. Green Fresh Florals takes this approach by showing complementary items that are also new in. You can further persuade shoppers to purchase these recommendations by presenting them as discounted product bundles.

product recommendations on cart page using boost ai search and discovery

Statistic-based recommendations can also be valuable if your store has a free shipping threshold. Unexpected shipping costs are a top reason for cart abandonment, so popular product recommendations can give a well-needed leg-up to closing a sale.

Thank You Page Recommendations

The thank you page can act as more than a means to express your gratitude for a purchase. In fact, it can be a persuasive mechanism for drawing customers back to your store.

All the work you’ve put into creating a positive shopping experience has worked. The customer is pleased with what you’ve offered and is brimming with excitement to receive their goods. Their fondness of your store is at the highest, so they’re well-primed for influence.

Use AI-generated product recommendations to show products closely matched to your customer’s tastes that can be snatched on their next visit. Statistic-based recommendations are also a good idea to keep your store's best offers at the top of their minds.

Unlock Exceptional Shopping Experiences With Product Recommendations

Showing suitable product recommendations at the right time ensures your customers have a seamless and enjoyable experience in your store. Carefully plan your product recommendation strategy around your customers’ movement through your store, and you’ll forge an iron-tight relationship that keeps them coming back for more.

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Ellie Ho
Content Marketing Specialist
June 25, 2024
6 min read