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Product Recommendations

How to Deliver Intelligent Shopping Experiences with Personalized Product Recommendations


On June 15th at 12pm EST/9am PST, Searchspring hosted a 1-hour Product Recommendations webinar featuring an expert panel from Overdose where we discussed how to deliver intelligent shopping experiences with strategic product recommendations.

Sites that leverage personalized recommendations yield five times higher conversion rates on average. Not only do recommendations help acquire more first-time buyers with bigger carts, but they also give incentive to returning customers to come back for more!

How exactly can I 5x my conversions with recommendations? As we’ve said before, the power lies in personalization. Sure, maybe you have some products you THINK your shoppers might like (and you’re not necessarily wrong if you want to give it a test). But, ultimately your customers are going to buy what they WANT. 

So, we set up this Product Recommendations webinar to share the types and tactics of personalized recommendations that have the greatest impact. Here they are:

cross sell definition

Show products that a shopper should consider purchasing in addition to the item currently being viewed with cross-sell recommendations

ecommerce recommendations

Serve up higher priced alternatives to the product currently being viewed with similar recommendations

personalized recommendations ecommerce

Recommend best-sellers from across your entire product catalog or category with trending product recommendations

product recommendations engine

Leverage individual shopper preferences personal product recommendations and session recommendations

ecommerce recommendations

Control which products are recommended with exclusion rules and attribute rules

Ready to 5x your site conversions? View the webinar today!


Welcome to today’s webinar, everybody.


Today, we’re going to talk about product recommendations, Delivering intelligent shopping Experiences with personalized product recommendations.


So we’re going to cover some key themes today try to cover all things, recommendations, right?


So strategy and business rules and algorithms and lots of wonky words like that. We’ll talk about some data, we’ll talk about cross selling and selling similar products and understanding shopper preferences. So we will get to all the good, juicy stuff about product recommendations.


So if you’re using recommendations today, wool, like focus on how to help you make that better. If you’re not using product recommendations today.


We’ll help you focus on how to get started there.


So thanks very much for joining. My name is Jason Ferrara. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at Searchspring and I am the host of the webinar today. So it’s first at Searchpring, You know, we realized that when shoppers go to a site, they can’t find what they want.


They hate that experience, and they leave, and they usually go to a competitor and find what they want there. You know, what we’re focused on at Search spring is enabling you to drive the ultimate shopper experience.


And we help you do that by getting the right product to the right person at the right time, through site, search, technology, product merchandising technology, personalization, and insights.


But we don’t do that alone.


We do that with some great partners. We do that with a great team, search spring. And I want to introduce those panelists to you today, those panelists, who will be on our webinar. So we’ve got Van, and Carlos, and Neil. I’d ask them to turn their cameras on now, And we can have them start the introductions. Carlos, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself briefly, a little bit about you, and your business, and then we’ll move on to Neil, and then Dan.


That’s good for everyone. My name is Carlos Barrero, I’m a strategic Partner Manager here at Klaviyo, working with third party technology companies that integrate with Klaviyo. You can think of it as a marketing automation tool and CDP that enables e-commerce marketers to activate on e-mail and SMS and a few other channels.


I’ve been in the martech space for about eight years.


And here at Klaviyo for two, most recently as a customer success manager working with mid-market and Enterprise accounts before moving to partnerships.


So, humbled to be here among these panelists and thank you, Jason, Searchspring team for hosting.


Yeah, thanks, Carlos. Alright, Neil. How about you?


Hi everyone, Neil Lofgren Principal Architected Searchspring.


And I’ve been working in personalization and search space for the last 13 years or so lot of.


lot of a lot of track record in, uh, and kind of, in the trenches work in this area. And love to share what I think works best.


Hear what your ideas are.


Excellent. Thanks, Neil and Van.


I’m Van. I’m the director of Strategy at Overdose Digital, which is a global, full service e-commerce agency.


I focused on helping our clients build amazing digital experiences, using all the best tools available.


I’ve been in e-commerce about 22 years, both on the brand and on the agency side. Good to be here.




Well, thanks everybody. Really appreciate that. I also want to introduce our producer, Charles Summers. He’s behind the scenes, moving the slides back and forth and helping keep everything straight in and goto Webinar here. You probably won’t see or hear, Charles, but you may hear me mention him or ask him for something so side introduce that, sort of back there behind the, behind the curtain. So, that’s Charles. We’ll move on to today’s agenda. So pretty simple agenda for today. We have some polls. We’d like to ask poll questions of the audience.


It’s a great way to understand who’s listening.


It’s a great way to understand the issues of all of you in the Listening audience, And it’s a great way to use as a jumping off point for our panel discussion, which comes directly after the polls, and then we leave some time for Q&A. So if you have questions, please ask them.


You can ask them in the questions Q in. Go to the goto Webinar interface there, I have that open. Charles has that open. We constantly look for these questions, and I’ll either slot them in where we have conversation, or we’ll ask them at the end with Q&A. So, please feel free to ask questions whenever you, whenever you have them in, and we’ll get to those questions.


And so, let’s talk a little bit about our organization for today. You know, back at the end of last year, we did a little bit of research with our clients and prospects, asked them, What was super hot for them in 20 22? And personalization and recommendations were in the top 10. Which is, what drives some of our decision to have a webinar focused on personalization and recommendations? So those are the top 10 things you can see there.


Obviously, we’re going to focus on the two hottest items today, which with the little low with the little flames. They’re personalization recommendations.


So let’s start with polls. Lisa talked a little bit about audience interaction. So here’s the first part of that audience interaction. Let’s get to our first poll.


So, which are you most looking forward to learning about in today’s webinar, cross sell recommendations, similar recommendations, trending product recommendations.


Personal product recommendations or session recommendations to all different sorts there. I see numbers coming in already. So it’s great to see you participating.


We’ll give it a few more seconds here while we gather some.


We’re almost to where we should collect. We’re looking at about, let’s see, that looks like.


Yeah, Charles, I think we’re good.


Alright? So, here are our results. So, just ban, and Carlos and Neil, maybe just take note of this, we’ll get to this specifically. But, what are you most looking forward today? The personal product recommendations coming in, on top, and at 48% followed by cross sell recommendations, and then, you know, similar trending session, those seem to be grouped together. So, it looks like, obviously, we’ll have a really robust conversation about the different types of recommendations to.


And so, let’s, let’s mark those down fellas. And we’ll we’ll get to those in just a second. And then we’ll go to our second poll.


To what extent are you leveraging personalized recommendations on your site today? So, we have fully implemented a recommendation strategy across our site.


We have some recommendations, but are still building and optimizing.


We’ve done very little with recommendations, and I see those votes coming in fast and furious, fewer choices, and that’s really coming in. Looks great here.


Looks great here.


I am incredibly interested by the numbers that I’m seeing right now, and I think, Charles, we’re probably good too. Good to stop the poll here.


Fully implemented strategy across our website, 2%.


So, you are the, you’re the enlightened 2% on the webinar today, but that’s great because we have lots of best practice conversation to talk about as we look for still building and optimizing and doing very little with recommendations, I think those are tremendously relevant and important responses there. So we will look to answer some of those.


And bring some, bring some attention to those issues.


Let me just organize my notes quickly here as we jump off into the panel discussion.


So Carlos and Neil and Van, the first thing I want to ask about are the poll results.


So, the first question is really about, what types of recommendations are you most interested in learning about anything? Anything jump out at you guys there? I don’t, Carlos, we’ll start with you, so they don’t talk over each other. We’ll run around to everybody, Anything that jumped out interesting to you than that poll?


Yeah. I’m not surprised to see personal product recommendations.


At the top, all marketers nowadays are working to We’re striving for personalized recommendations, personalized communications in general.


So it’s, it’s good to see that folks are focusing on this, because it’s super timely.


Yeah, and Van? How about you?


Yeah, it’s interesting to see, you know, personalization, like, years ago, everybody was talking about 1 to 1, personalization.


And understanding, you, know, like not really necessarily understanding what that is. And I think a lot of people now, realizing that, it’s, it’s much more than your on site tactics.


And it’s, and it’s obviously much more than any one platform, It’s about pulling all the data together, and creating a, a very personalized experience for each individual, which is much easier said than done, which is why we’ve been saying it for so long.


Yeah, absolutely, Well, I, uh, in the in the prep for this session, I think I mentioned to the panel here that we would be talking about data at some point, and, gosh, that point has come up already within the first 90 minutes, so, obviously, we will dig a little bit deeper into the data topic. Neil, how about you, that first? first poll, anything jump out to you of interest?


Yeah, you know, I think that, To me, the way, that was, where did we, kind of, everyone jumped on the personalized recommendations, one there.


I think best practice, the way, the way we have it, usually implemented, is really all recommendations are personalized.


And then you still have those different choices, and you can still do cross sell, and have that personalized cross selling, and same for all of them.


That’s that’s It’s great that everyone is interested in personalized recommendations and ideas, completely?


Yeah, great. Great point there in terms of in terms of recommendations as a subset of personalization, right. So I think we’ll get to that. We’ll get to that topic, too. And then, let’s hit poll number two. And that was, To what extent are you leveraging personalized recommendations on your website?


So, it looks like most of our respondents were still building and optimizing.


The next group was done very little with it and then, and then, like I said, we’ve got an enlightened couple people out there who are fully implemented. So, Van thoughts on that? We’ll start with you this time.


Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, because I think I’ve been in that same situation many times where I feel like I have a good mix of tools and tactics that I’m using, but I don’t really feel like I’ve pulled it all the way together.


And so when I saw that poll, I go, you know? that’s everybody’s in that spot where they go. I know that there’s more, because I hear people talking about personalization.


And I, I know what I’m doing now, but I feel like there’s much bigger, better picture of the customer, much more comprehensive view of of how we’re actually reaching that customer out there that I haven’t achieved yet.


Thank you and karla’s thoughts on that?


That sounds like, at least 98% are in the right place, or what sort of in that messy middle of trying to figure things out and naturally looking to talk to vendors, to agencies, to the rest, of the martech ecosystem. You folks are definitely the right place!


Great! And I know it’s, It’s interesting.


We spend a lot of time talking about e-commerce, specifically, but, I like raising it up to marketing technology, right? Because that’s really what, what we’re trying to do, and we’re trying to market and drive people in to the site. so, it really very squarely in our tech, where there are in my past. You know, martech has always been B2B marketing and getting to my prospects. Whereas, I think today martech is a much broader, much broader umbrella, So, I like like, hearing about that, and Neil, thoughts on, on that second poll?




I think that, um, there’s always that, uh, like interplay between personalization and merchandising control, I think that it’s important to be able to strike that balance, too.


I see from those numbers you think, Bruce, what that spoke to me, it was a lot of opportunity.


Everyone’s got a lot of opportunity, too, Employees and personalization, add that to their stack, and then they’ll drive ups, and then I’m, who’s really, I think that’s great.


Very good, Thanks.


And so, we’ll get back to some of those comments as we begin the rest of the discussion here, so I thought we’d start talking a little bit about goals, like, it’s, it’s exciting to jump right into, let’s talk about how to execute a recommendations or personalization strategy.


But, but let’s talk a little bit more about the goals, like why do we want to be doing this, and what should we be collecting in terms of KPIs and things like that. So maybe, Carlos, let’s start with you. And in terms of goals, like, if I’m leaving this webinar, thinking, yeah, my personalization, strategy, why am I doing this, What would you recommend people start to those goals to have?


Yeah. I think, ultimately, the goal is really to boost conversion on your website, or through your e-commerce store. And that conversion can happen in several different contexts, which we’ll dive into in more detail, you know, such as a cross sell situation, an upsell situation, right, To add to a particular cart.


To boost the average cart size to boost average order value, or repeat purchases over time.


Ultimately, that can be kind of bundled up into lifetime value for all of your customers, So a ton of different metrics in there.


But, I think, ultimately, comes down to conversion, by way, of product discovery through Eric.


Just based on that answer, I could fill an hour with, follow up questions on all, on all those things. So, before I do that, Van. Thoughts, thoughts, on goals?


Yeah! You know, I think Carlos touched on something that I think is the most fundamentally important part of personalization. That’s lifetime value, you know?


In the CRO world, oftentimes people are testing and they’re looking at, you know, single session conversions or a very short time window. And I’ve found that, oftentimes.


Showing our customer, especially a new customer, is something compelling, It’s easy to purchase and may not necessarily drive order values and things like that on that first session. If you look at it over a period of time, you’ll actually find that that customer sometimes will come back. It depends on the industry and the product, obviously.


But, you know, oftentimes engagements with the site and getting that conversion, even, you know, while sacrificing necessarily some some cross sell or order value, can have a longer and longer term, positive net effect.


And so I would say that that engagement and really understanding what that, you know, months three months, six months, view of that customer as is very important.


Great. Sorry, I’ve just caught myself making some notes there and Neil, thoughts about goals.


Yeah, you know, I think that it’s, we always talk about the metrics, which are very important, Um, conversion rates and average order values, but really the, the basic is we need to deliver that ultimate shopper experience.


We want to try and provide, help help those shoppers find what they’re looking for.


And the great thing is that those two things go hand in hand, right?


So you’re not, it’s not like you’re trying to trick shoppers into converting, You’re actually trying to deliver that shopping experience they want.


And that naturally is going to help increase conversions so they go right together.


Yeah, great. Thank you, so for a couple of follow ups here, and, and just in the, in the audience, when you have questions, feel free to put them in the questions queue.


If you’ve got questions, but on any of these topics or follow up. Questions on anything anybody says, so, let’s talk quickly about engagement. I underscored that in my notes here.


What’s the best way for us to be measuring engagement? What does, what does engagement mean? Is it different for every site?


Is it, is there a standard definition that we can go away, and have for engagement?


Van, you, you used the term. So, we’ll start with you.


Yeah, I think it absolutely is very different for, not necessarily every site, but different industries. Engagement has to be measured in different ways, fundamentally. If you’re selling apparel or your lifestyle brand, engagement is really about how much you can get that customer to engage with your content and spec on your site. If you’re, if you’re selling a more technical product or product, where cross sell is related to the relation between those two products more so than an exploratory process, I think that it’s really more about getting them to click rather than the time that they’re spending actually considering the product.


So, I think, I think engagement is something that, in a single session, view, is really about, what would you do as a customer.


You know, we, we like to talk about AI tools, and all of this, but the truth is, is that, you know, everybody on this call knows a certain amount about their customer, and their industry.


And so taking that knowledge and understanding of how people shop, and applying it to your strategy is very important, and sometimes is something that’s lost when when embarking on a personalization campaign.


Thank you. And, Carlos, you had talked a little bit about lifetime value, and that, that came up in a couple of other comments. So, I define, define, for us, lifetime value the way that you think about it, and again, it Is it the same for everybody is a different depending on what industry or what. what business you’re in.


How would, I know when, you know, if I’m having an impact on my life?


Yeah, so, I think the simplest definition for lifetime value, at least mathematically write that the sum of dollars! Of, from all purchases orders from a customer. Since they’ve been a customer of yours.


And, yeah, I do think it’s, it’s different for, for, different brands over time, because, you know, Sometimes, depending on the time, between orders to pick up on a point. Van was mentioning where it depends on the different brand or vertical. That also has implications for the difference in LTV.


So, for example, the, the sales cycle between, let’s say, buying ground coffee beans, let’s say, month over, month is very different from, let’s say, buying a mattress. Maybe, once a decade. Who knows? So, you know, lifetime value can mean different things to those brands in that context, for the mattress brand and might be, you know, maybe some other things going, you know, through the funnel, maybe upselling accessories will recommendations can become really valuable versus that, that coffee brand, right as far as the level of stickiness. Or repeat purchases over time.


Great, thank you.


And, Neil, I wanted to get back to something you had said about helping shopper find what they wanted. And we talked just briefly about product discovery earlier just in this, in this conversation.


So if I’m a if I’m if I’m an e-commerce merchant, how am I understanding the ease of product discovery? How do I know if I’m having an impact on people finding what they want?


Really, it’s, it goes back to what Dan was saying about engagement.


If you can keep the customers engaged and look at what’s your bounce rate mature, what’s your conversion rate?


Look, those, those feedback tools are going to tell you a little bit about how your customers are engaging with the process, and if they’re finding what they want, then they’re gonna stay engaged.


You’re going to keep longer time on site wrongdoer, lifetime value. All those things are going to improve.


Um, and kind of what harms were saying that the you may have different requirements based on the type of products you’re selling.


So, for example, if you’re selling, um, high priced goods than customers, you’re going to want to browse around, maybe, look at alternatives. You want to promote that on your pages.


You want to show that, oh, you’re looking at this, um, high end product, here are some other alternatives just to keep you.


So you can finish your discovery and look at all those products if, on the other hand, you’re looking at some lower priced items.


And my people might just be looking at immediately throwing in the bag, then maybe you want to show some cross sell items a little bit more prominently to say, hey, grab that one.


You also want these others that that can play into your strategy as well.


Great. So I have a question from the audience that I want to ask, and then I just got really excited because Neely said two things converged for me, in my mind, based on this conversation. So we’ll get to those in just a second. Question is, Why is lifetime value so important? What aspects of my e-commerce, and digital marketing does it affect?


So I think, you know, really, where we’re talking about, OK.


I get that lifetime value is mathematically the, you know, total money that I’m making on a person, but, but why does that matter?


And why don’t we start with Carlos, why don’t you go ahead and start.


I think the simple answer is, you know, without it, you don’t know if your, Your marketing is working.


And you’d want to keep a cumulative track per per customer, a cumulative count per customer. Right?


That lifetime portion of that, of that, of that metric, key to what it is you’re focusing on, Right.


It’s not just, you know, one purchase here or there, but over time, you can start to understand who are your most valuable customers and what, you know, the average lifetime value but looks like for that group, compared to maybe the lifetime value for customers that have come in through.


Let’s say some new marketing channel or new marketing activity, you’re trying without that measurement, you don’t know what’s working or whether or not it delivers Value cumulatively in the future.


Got yvan, anything to add there on lifetime value and the importance of that, and the why of that.




I would say that lifetime value is something that It’s very important from the perspective of measuring it against your, your current tactics on the site.


We’ve all been to sites where, you know, there’s like, popup’s, e-mail capture, various things that, that actually show a positive ROI on, on some level, however.


What is the net effect of that, on your customer, long-term, particularly through multiple visit cycles?


Um, there’s lots of retailers that have kind of damage their own objectives by seeing something that creates some revenue upfront. In fact, the most common is like apparel retailers that get into that. Everything’s on sale all the time cycle, where they just keep going back to the same Well.


And what they find out is that they, now, they’ve shifted their business more to having to focused on acquisition, because now they’ve shorten that cycle of customer.


Where they’re there, pulling a lot of revenue from the customer, over a much shorter period of time.


Rather than taking the long view, and saying, you know what, we want something that we can build over the course of a couple of years, and really build, a longer cycle, customer life cycle, into our business.


Great, thank you, I want to jump off into a second topic, because it’s this, like you said, the perfect thing to segue into this fan, which is talk about the shopper journey.


Because I think we’re getting, I’m, I’d like to make a transition to talk a little bit more specifically about data. We just talked about goals, but I think the connection point there is, that is that shopper journey.


Uh, why don’t, why don’t we start van with you, and just talk briefly about how do you define shopper journey in and the importance of understanding that, in terms of, in terms of the people that you’re selling to?


Yeah. So I think, you know, customer journey is another one of those terms like personalization that we see everywhere.


And, you know, I tend to define a customer journey From the perspective, well, really, when I hear it, I think of two different things, one is that off cycle.


Lifetime value of what does that interaction look like over time, over a long period of time, or the customer that you’ve just been introduced to?


And from that perspective, it’s, it’s really about layering and your interactions in a way that doesn’t hammer your customer into ignoring you, but, at the same time, gets their attention at the right time.


But I would say, in the context of site personalization, the other journey is really about landing the customer in the right experience, based upon the expectations you can reasonably assume, based on where you got them from.


So, an example of this is, you know, social media traffic is generally, a click is pretty, like, you can get somebody to click into your site. But, their engagement and their level of intent is, is relatively low.


So, the journey for that customer to getting that first sale from them is, is really about landing them in the right place.


We do lots of campaigns with, with our clients where we’re talking about what is the perception of this customer group, working with the marketing team on, on their side and saying, you know, what is the perception of this customer. What can we reasonably assume, OK. Let’s try lending them in these three different places. That journey through that site, that initial acquisition journey is vitally important to setting the expectation and the engagement with the brand long term.


You guys keep saying things that are ready to write down and then you end talking and then there’s dead air entrained frantically writing down you know an initial acquisition experience. So Neil, let’s turn to you and talk a little bit about chopper journey customer journey buyer journey. Like, where does that? Where does that fit into this larger conversation about recommendations?


I think on the personalization side, for the journey I like to focus on immediate journey of the customers on your site, how do we help them?


one, How do we identify what it is they’re trying to do, so we can help them find it?


All right?


So that’s taking into account where they came from.


So for example, if you look at the PDP and you say, How did how did someone arrive at the PDP that they come?


Were they already on the site, and they searched? And they found it that way, than they are already engaged there already.


I’m working with your site.


And so maybe you want to be push, push your recommendations down a little bit lower on the page. Things like that.


If they just arrived directly there from Google search, are from social media. They maybe they don’t know anything about your site, they’ve just landed on the product, and all they know is that one products. And maybe you want to elevate and expose some of your other products in your catalog.


Show alternatives a bit more prominently so they don’t just go right back to where they came from or you want to keep them in your site to keep them engaged.


And then really leveraging if they have been, if they’ve clicked a few different pages on your site, leveraging that information, So you may know some history about that person and what they’ve done in the past, or even some geographic information about where they are. But, really, what they’re doing now is the most important thing.


So, if they’ve clicked a few things, and they put something in their cart, that’s the most important thing that tells you what their current intentions are, and you want to try and focus on that.


Great, Thank you.


And then, Carlos, I want to talk, talk about, finished the shopper journey.


Customer journey conversation, aye.


There, there’s no doubt that understanding the journey of the people who buy from you, is important.


It sometimes can seem like one of those things that. I know I should do, but I don’t.


So how important is it to start with do people start understanding the buyer journey and then put pieces in place? do they put pieces in place and then figure out the buyer journey? You know, where? Where is this happening with with?


In that or that marketing technology stack and with marketers in general?


Yeah. Great question. Yeah. I recommend starting with the buyer journey. It’s going to be different for every, for every brand, and be vertical, the different touches that you have with your customers, and then, kind of working into the stack that will help you really pick up on those really valuable bits of data exhaust. You know, it, of course, starts at search, and a very top of the funnel, social media, et cetera. Anything to drive traffic to your site, once they’re on the site there, is, of course, an entirely, you know, robust tech stack there that can, that can really give you some some interesting insight depending on what platform you’re using. You know, Shopify, e-commerce, Magento, etcetera.


Lot of valuable data there to tack O’neals point on the cart’s, on the order of data.


And then, beyond the first purchase, there’s also an entire, you know, ecosystem of, of technologies out there that can really help lend some insight into the journey, such as, loyalty, loyalty management sites, or technologies. Reviews, management, technologies, and even customer service.


Types of types of management tools. All, these types are, all, these different touchpoints may live in different departments across your company, but they’re all valuable, you know, for for your marketing endeavors as well.


So, it helps to make friends with no IT department marketing, operations department, you know, merchandising shipping, logistics. All of these areas, I’m can kick off, give off really valuable points of data exhaust to pick up on.


Great, thank you. Data exhaust. I’m putting that in my, in my lexicon of cool terms to use. For first of all, our audience is really active, OK? This is fantastic. I get a lot of questions here. They’re great questions. I had one question that I was going to jump in and ask next. And Carlos, I think you began to answer it before.


You might have even seen it, which is, What departments manage the customer journey?


And, you know, does it does it live in the marketing department, the e-commerce department, the data department? And so, Carlos, give your opinion, I think we just go around and talk about this, because it’s a very important question.


Yeah, yeah, I mean, who owns the customer journey? Ideally, the entire company from, from the CEO down, especially if you’re direct to consumer and taking on, you, know, what?


You know, third party retailers, but otherwise take on, you know, getting products in front of your customers.


It weirdly falls into marketing realm because I think historically marketing has been perceived as, you know, you are the voice of the company externally, and therefore, you know, any Any insights that come from that external world, you’re also responsible for gathering. That’s, that’s not always true.


As I mentioned earlier, there’s a whole life cycle, or hole, an ecosystem of different technologies and departments that handle other valuable parts of the journey, such as customer service, then your opinion on who owns the customer journey.


Yeah, you know, it’s, It’s interesting, I’ve, I’ve seen this evolve over time, and, and it’s it’s crazy, And in 20 years of e-commerce, that I’ve seen pretty much since that kind of started, There’s always been this weird divide between, Well, there’s marketing over here, and there’s e-commerce, or experience digital experience, over here.


And these are different things, because they’re people with different qualifications, and different kinds of graphs that they look at.


But the truth is, is that it’s the same customer.


The customer doesn’t care, you know, who’s who’s managing their experience.


And years ago, I had the opportunity to take over digital marketing at an organization where I was already doing e-commerce because somebody departed and they didn’t have a backfill ready and I, it was supposed to be a couple of months.


But I ended up managing it for like, two years and from that experience, from that ability to control both sides, from the initial touch with the customer, all the way through to the site experience, I was able to drive up conversion rates and lifetime value significantly.


And it wasn’t because there wasn’t co-operation between departments. It was simply because we were able to have a unified strategy.


I think marketing looks Rosten, and various other indicators that are really about, for the most part, and most organizations, if their data houses in order it’s, it’s really about that.


First, that first touch, oh, get the act, get the conversion on that first visit.


But if you start taking a longer view view, that digital experience tends to look at, um, you know, in terms of lifetime value, you can pull that whole thing together. We do lots of campaigns with our clients that, frankly, is just tying together a couple of their internal departments that don’t really talk well together, and putting a strategic framework around it. And that’s where the biggest successes have been had is, being able to break down those barriers and just say, we’re all the same team, and we need to stop looking at these as a different set of metrics. It’s one set of metrics across all of digital. And look at it from that perspective.


OK, thanks, thanks for both of those answers there.


Collaboration among all departments is a consistent theme.


When I talk to, when we have these types of webinar conversations, silos in a business will absolutely hurt your ability to understand the buyer journey or your ability to understand what what your shoppers are doing and where they’re where they’re attentive, where they’re having success.


So it is really that collaboration is just critically critically important. two things I want to clarify before we move on one is, Van. You said row *** and we all nodding our heads. I can’t see anybody in the audience, but I guarantee there is somebody who says, what was that? What does that so define ROAS quickly?


Return on Ad Spend, so oftentimes, you know, marketers are marketing, is the gambling arm of any company, right. Spend the money, I mean, Jason you’re a CMO also, you know, Well, the Revenue Engine come on now, but, But it is, it’s, you know, it’s about spending the money in the ads channel and then getting that, that conversion. And, you know, as anybody who’s implemented tracking pixels for ad networks knows, the window of that tracking generally is pretty short, unless you’re doing some work on your end to tie that to a longer view of the customer.


It’s really about, get that conversion, first visit.


And I’ve had plenty of conversations with marketers where I’m like, actually, the conversion is less important than getting engagement and getting a return visit and even showing them data that go, yes. But, that messes up my graph. So, you know, so Ross is great but it needs to have a long, longer legs.


Yeah. I think you’re exactly right.


I mean, being a professional marketer, you know, like like you’ve and I’ve been doing this for a long time and expectation around data has completely shifted from, I need to know exactly that $1 drove something specifically for marketing to today. It’s a much more of a multi touch world where we’re celebrating the multi-touch rather than celebrating that initial interaction. So that that definitely has shifted.


And then And then Neil, I want to ask you to clarify something you used the acronym PDP, I just wanna make sure everybody’s on the same page about what PTP is.


This Product Detail page should smell.


Thank you. So, occasionally, we’ll get questions like, well, it’s pretty pay me, and so I want to make sure that we, that we know, So let’s, let’s take this as a jumping off point to talk about data. So we’ve talked about goals, we’ve talked about understanding the shopper journey, and now I think we wanna talk about data. I don’t think we have to, to beat this one over their head, but I didn’t nail.


I do want to start with you in terms of, like, what are the core pieces of data we need to be collecting in order to have some sort of meaningful personalization recommendation approach.


Right, Well, there, there’s, um, a couple of different levels there.


There’s the, the base level is we need to be tracking what people are buying and what they’re looking on.


So we know basic behavior hallisey interacting with the catalog.


We want to make sure we have good categories or collections defined in our catalog so that we can link those, find out the relationships between those products and know that, gage similarity, both by user behavior and by catalog definitions and attributes.


And then we, in order to get the feedback loop, we want to make sure that we’re also tracking things like impressions.


So, how are we, How many times people see that product on the page, you know, where it is show up?


So both impressions and clicks and where they like, so they click on a product listing page, or in search results to the click and recommendation.


How did they get to that product detail page, subtract tracking that behavior is very important.


Great. Thank you. And, Carlos, we’ll go to you next key, key pieces of data to be to be tracking like specific data points.


Absolutely. That’s piggyback off of Neil’s point there on, you know, PDP views, anything really that’s happening on the website.


A lot of this is more accessible than most people think through your e-commerce platform of the, the integrations that clever Yokum power, e-commerce is really the core.


So starting with, you know, your Shopify, backend, your, your Big Commerce Backend, Magento, Woocommerce, et cetera. That can already give you a rich dataset, including some of the points that Neil mentioned. And also, things like, that somebody refund an order, and when exactly that happened, or how many individual products have they ordered over time, what is the value of the cart altogether. All this rich information gives you, purchases, orders, and also a level of intent as well.


Yeah, gosh! I feel like we could have a whole session on.


The word intent, two, I just got questions, or like blown up in my mind, Van! How about, let’s talk specific data points, things to add there to this conversation?


Yeah, so, I think, um, the most important data points after you’ve gotten your, your basics in place, is actually not in the shopping funnel itself.


I’ve done a lot of testing around, particularly retailers and brands that have a certain education aspect or a certain content engagement, seeing how users are interacting with that content. So, whether it be blog content, or whether it be more static content related to your products, I think there’s, there used to be this feeling that, you know, driving them off the purchase path can can be bad.


And sometimes it can be, but if you’re measuring that, and, in particular, if you’re putting the right thing in front of the customer to actually learn, um, that, I think, is, is extremely valuable. And seeing how people interact with that.


one interesting thing that I, I ran across, in a campaign at one point, was, I was looking at the dwell time on, on a given content page, and it seemed like every customer was pausing halfway down this page. And.


so we all got together and looked at the page, and we go, why?


Well, it was actually giving a piece of detail that really drove conversion on the product, that the product page, the link to it. And it was a piece of detail that we weren’t really pushing very much. It wasn’t, it wasn’t particularly apparent that it was important, but it was apparently important enough to customers that, they were all stopping and reading this, this paragraph, and the chart that went with it. And so we, we wove that into the shopping experience.


So, sometimes you can quite a piece of stimuli in front of a customer and use that as a valid data point for making decisions elsewhere.


Sometimes a campaign doesn’t need to be about putting the right thing on the page.


It means putting something on the page that will help you learn, that will then inform your next steps.


Yeah, great, great point. Thank you for that. I think as we, as we look to what needs to be in our database, we’ve got a good set of that. And then, how do we look at, how do we look at our site, test, pages and campaigns that, maybe, that are still quantifiable? But maybe a little bit more qualitative to understand what’s happening with the, with the shopper. That’s fantastic. So I’d like to, wait, we have some, or, you know, we gotta, we gotta like little over 10 minutes left here.


I’d like to shift our, our conversation.


We talked about goals.


We talked about buyer journey. We talked about the data that we need. I’d like to talk a little bit about best practices, specifically for recommendations. And I’ll start with a question that came in.


And that is, where, on the website?


Do we find that personalized recommendations are most valuable?


That’s the biggest impact.


And then where do we find that they might have diminishing returns?


So in context of best practices Let’s Let’s hit that that question, please.


Why don’t we start with fans?


Yeah, and it’s interesting. I have a front of mind example of this.


So, product recommendations personalize to the individual user, are actually, It can be incredibly effective at keeping a user’s attention beyond what is new. So, especially in fashion brands, and apparel and things like that. There’s this tendency for people to be very interested in, you know, what’s new. They come back to the site to see What’s that new line. What’s that new set of products that are, that are being launched. And you would think that you want to keep that user actually focused on that new campaign.


But we’ve actually had a lot of success putting carousels, personalized carousels on, like, new or campaign based landing pages that have products in them, that maybe they’re not related at all, because they’re based on that individual user, or not on the campaign that you’re trying to show. But you put it, you know, lower on the page. So somebody scrolls through, doesn’t find anything compelling. And then they see something compelling at the bottom of the page. And so that’s a very effective place that, even just a few years ago, I think a lot of people have resistance that they’re like, no. We’re talking about this, this great campaign that we, we’ve just spent weeks launching, and developing products for, and all of this. And it’s like, well, yes, that’s great. But if they scroll through that and they haven’t found anything compelling, let’s show them something compelling, let’s show them something that gets that click into another PDP. I don’t think there’s any marketer, e-commerce professional that would have a problem with a PDP view that’s off the campaign they’re trying to drive customer. So that’s really what it’s about is, is putting something in front of that customer to keep them engaged on that visit?


Yeah. Very good. Thank you. And, Carlos, thoughts on thoughts, on where recommendations fit best from a best practice perspective?


Yeah, absolutely. I’m clearly, I think it’s closest to e-mail and SMS, so, you know, there’s definitely some effectiveness on, on those channels.


I’d argue it’s, as far as where things work best or, or where they have diminishing returns.


Not so much a function of, of the medium, I think there’s, you know, that does contribute to some extent, but I think more so, A function of when you, you serve these recommendations, so when it comes to when, one, interesting example, I can think of his, um, a brand. We work with.


They have premium, women’s apparel brand on returns, actually.


So when a customer returns A A, product, you know, perhaps recommend a different product to prevent another negative experience. Maybe something that is, you know, perhaps improve the experience the next time around, so that they’re not seeing the same things that you know, that probably led to that return for whatever reason.


So, so I think if you, if you’re thinking of product recommendations, sort of as an afterthought, on let’s say, you’re weekly or daily campaigns, for example, they may not be as effective there, right. That’s probably where you’ll get some diminishing returns. But the, when, for example, when you abandon your cart or a brand and browse session, those instances can be really effective for including returns, which I mentioned.


Great, thank you. Appreciate that. And then, Neil, there’s a question that I’d like you to address quickly, and that is, can product recommendations be merchandized?


I think it’s part of a best practice to say, I know when to serve them up, but can they be merchandized? And by that, I think we mean, can we sort of manipulate the, meaning, Of those recommendations and things like that.


Yes, there’s a couple of different ways you can merchandized.


So you can merchandise on placement where it is on the page, that can be important, just from a basic layout perspective, right?


You don’t want to overwhelm the shopper with too many recommendations upfront, but you might want to spread them out as I So for example on, on a PDP, you often want to do similar items pretty close up, so that, in case they arrive on the page, and that’s not exactly what they want. They keep browsing.


You may want to put cross sell items farther down at the bottom, maybe after description, something like that, so that you can, um, keep them engaged. If they, if they read through the whole page, and they’re, they’re Very engaged in that. They might want to see what the other complimentary products are that go with it.


Um, and you can also merchandise based on that type of product. So, you don’t have to have the exact same layout for every product.


You would say, depending on the value of the product, maybe I want to shift those things around, Or, depending on how they arrived at that page, as mentioned earlier, if you arrived from, um, media who will search.


Then you want to bring up those alternatives even higher on the page. Sometimes, even right at the top.


Um, you can also merchandise, though, in within the recommendations.


So within that profile of recommendations, you might want, something where you’re driving things.


Like, if you’re looking at, if main item on the page is from a certain category, I want to promote these other categories, and my cross sells.


And I want to say, hey, I want the first cross sell to be from category Y in the next one from Z, based on no category that this product’s in.


You can even have, for certain items, where you kind of put in your own mind at times and apparel to be complete the look.


Play profiles where you want to have your own merchandisers, choose specific products to go with that main one, but then let the AI fill in for other products in your catalog.


So some of those choices in both the position of the profiles and also what’s in them can be merchandise.


Thank you. And I want I’ve got a couple of thoughts and questions here, but I want to talk another round of best practices. So, Carlos, thinking in terms of best practices, like, what’s, what’s your, sort of top best practice when people are talking about recommendations?


Make sure you supplement the e-commerce data that you’re collecting from, you know, your Shopify Big Commerce, or whatever platform you’re using, with, any, you know, zero party data that you can get your hands on, like a soft preferences.


Something, I’ve added to my lexicon over time. So, you know, you can recommend just based on what, you know, what people are buying and ordering or viewing, et cetera. But if you can sort of get that, maybe like the subtle, you know, affinities for product or a lifestyle.


For example, you know, for example, a sporting goods retail that we work with, you, know, or somebody interested in, you know, mountain biking versus motocross versus, you know, skateboarding sort of can all fit within that extreme sports category but there are, you know, subtleties and nuances there that can really help tailor your recommendations. And, you know, like on-site quizzes or forums, can help collect that information.


So, to summarize, I think the best practice there is supplement the first party data you’re, you’re getting naturally from your e-commerce platform with zero party data that can be sourced to get these, like, soft preferences out of customers.


Great, first party data, meaning what’s already being collected, zero party data means, what the shopper is going to give to somebody, is that what you mean?


Correct, yeah, the difference there is the solicitation of it.


Got great, thank you. Van, how about you, like gear, kinda? Number one, best practice recommendation.


Um, I would say, uh, the most important thing is to connect data.


two, a logical and put together persona that you’ve developed around individual customers.


So we work with a lot of clients that are like, it’s either top-down segmentation, where you’re put together your conceptual segments, and then you support that with data, or it’s bottom-up, where you’re trying to build those personas from, from the ground up.


I would say that that using, to karl’s this point, using multiple data points and crafting that picture of that typical consumer is very important to being able to figure out what the next step is. It’s easy to get lost in all of the various data points and saying, Oh, well, this customer does this, then it might indicate that.


But, really, at the end of the day, this is a human. You know, a group of humans that we’re talking about And they have a lot of different interests. And there’s lots of cohorts and overlaps of that data, and so it’s important to conceptualize the data that you have into kind of a logical persona. A picture of that that target consumer you’re going for.


Great. Thank you, and, you know, I’m glad that came up in this session, which is the people that we keep saying, buyer journey collect data. We’re actually talking about real humans, right? Who are interacting with the site? who are trying to get what they want? And I think that that?


Know, that, that would be that will be my best practice, is don’t forget, that these are people people have feelings, People if people have questions, you know, those sorts of things, and we need to be conscious of that. So, thanks for bringing that up. Neil, best, practice for you.


Well, there’s so many different places you can go with that, but I think that, um, It’s important, It’s important, too.


Try, again, Provide the those, a variety of different profiles. The merchandized on your site, in locations where you may not have thought of it.


So, don’t forget things like the 404 page of the zero search results page, things like that.


You don’t want to just leave that, that airspace.


You want to put something there, and that’s a great place, for those session based recommendations, where you’re, you’re saying, OK, we didn’t find the thing you were looking for. Something went wrong, but based on everything you’ve done so far, based on what you’ve looked at, based on what’s in your car, based on what we know about you, Here’s what we think, the best things that we keep you engaged, and help you find what you might be looking for.


So, keep keep those.


Don’t forget those extra pages where you might otherwise just have a dead end.


Yeah, that’s that’s great. Thank you.


You know I Think about that a lot I keep referring to my day job as a as a marketer, but if even on you know, the the searchspring website, We, we always go through and look for places where there might be a dead end there. Because there shouldn’t be a data frame. So we want to help facilitate that. So really, really important, right? Before we end, I just want, I want to plug a couple of keywords here. one is about flexibility.


And one is about experimentation because I think what we heard was, there are lots of date, data points you can collect.


There are lots of goals that you can have, but the ability to collect those in a flexible way and the ability to understand something and make changes based on that data is important.


And then the corollary to that is experimentation, like be free to experiment, actually ask questions, actually come up with little experiments to run because like Dan said, for some reason, everybody stops on this one paragraph. We thought it was nothing, and it actually is something. So how do we understand the the things that are something that we think are nothing? That’s, that’s a barrier.


Well, we’ve come to the end of our session, Carlos and band. Neil, thank you so much for, for the time and the interaction and the conversation, your expertise.


Really, really important, really helps.


Certainly, me understand better, but hopefully our audience, understand better impressed with your, with your comments and where we’ve been.


I think that as we look down down the road here to Black Friday, we’ve definitely set people up with a, OK, how am I gonna get started with my thinking about this incredibly busy time of the year?


Do I have a handle on what my goals are, or where I’m getting my data from, how I’m going to experiment, where I’m going to do interact with recommendations? I think you’ve done.


You’ve done a great job of helping us get get really get started understanding that process. So thank you so much for that. And if you’re in the audience, thank you for staying here tour to the end. I know that Neil and Van and Carlos are appreciative of your time to as MI. And just really excited to have had you here. Thank you very much.


We have another webinar coming up in a month.


It is our, we’ll really be doing a whole series based on Black Friday. So this is a Black Friday survival kit.


What are those things? Well, we can tell you on June or July 13th.


So if you’re interested, join us again on July 13th for Black Friday Survival Kit. Got any follow up questions. You feel free to send that through to to search spring.


You can ask those questions on our, on our social feeds, or find Van Carlos and Neil. And I’m sure you can ask them through LinkedIn. There’ll be happy to happy to interact and respond.


So thanks, everybody, for the time today. Really appreciate it. Have a fantastic rest of your day. Thank you.