Product Recommendation Engines - and What They Can Do For Your Company


Have you heard of something called “product recommendation engine?” I haven’t, well, until I started seeing products that someone suggested I buy whenever I am shopping on eBay or Amazon and getting ready to check out. In this day and age, the battle of online market share is raging, and your business certainly needs all available tools if you want to be among the top players in your industry. Gone are the days when you would rely solely on traditional marketing outlets—say, direct marketing or word of mouth—to increase sales and build up a consistent, loyal clientele. In the present-day economy, the marketing battle has moved online, and this is where product recommendation engines come in. They provide several helpful tools and can optimize your corporate portal.

What Is a Product Recommendation Engine?

A product recommendation engine helps track user behavior, collect purchasing data, match clients with similar purchasing and/or browsing patterns, and create matching sets based on myriad algorithms. For example, if you bought footwear in the past, and the engine reckons that you share the same socio-professional or geographical criteria with another user, it would recommend that the other user purchase the same pair of shoes you bought originally—or, at least, something substantially similar. For better visibility, website owners like to display the engine on the home pages, so that visitors can’t miss it.

What Benefits Does It Provide?

A properly displayed product recommendation engine can help drive traffic to your website or the portals of affiliated companies. It also contributes to increasing your conversion rates, because the engine specifically shows a potential buyer a product or service that he or she may need or has already thought of buying. This ability to match a buyer with a specific item is not unique to product recommendation engines. Behavioral targeting also achieves an identical goal, by displaying on a user’s page specific ads or promotional content that may suit his or her preferences. Note, though, that you can easily implement a product recommendation engine on your website if you do your homework, know what you want, and talk to the right specialist. A product recommendation engine also plays a pivotal role in optimizing your website, particularly by displaying highly relevant content on your website—something that Google’s Panda loves—and drawing the right type of traffic to your website.

How Does It Work?

A product recommendation engine utilizes three tactics to suggest relevant products and services to users: collaborative filtering, content-based filtering and hybrid recommender systems. In collaborative filtering, a product recommendation engine collects and analyzes data stemming from the preferences, activities and online behaviors of a user pool. Content-based filtering adopts the same analytical approach as collaborative filtering but focuses on a single user. A hybrid recommend system uses a process that combines information from both collaborative filtering and content-based filtering. In other words, it tries to see how  you, the user, reacts when left alone and when surrounded by others. 


A product recommendation engine is an important part of your online marketing arsenal, similar to things like website optimization, behavioral targeting and multivariate targeting. Don’t let these words confuse or scare you. These are processes you can implement, and when you can’t, there is professional help available, that you can always find through a fast Google search. Besides SEO experts, you also can use a lot of online tools to implement an effective product recommendation engine on your website.

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