Boosting Engagement Throughout the Customer Experience with Recommendations

Boosting Engagement Throughout the Customer Experience with Recommendations

The best way to capture the attention of your marketing-overwhelmed customers and win their engagement is through relevant and timely product recommendations. These recommendations make it easier for customers to find what they are looking for (and maybe even some products they didn’t know they needed). But, seamlessly incorporating product recommendations into your marketing and brand experience requires the right data, technologies, and strategies to pull them off. You’ll need the right recommendation know-how to succeed — and we can help! Check out our data-driven best practices from our Smart Guide to Product Recommendations: Retail and Ecommerce for choosing the right recommendation themes and executing delightful, tailored marketing campaigns across the customer journey for active, or engaged customers.

Best recommendation themes to drive engagement for current customers

Your welcome series or communications got new customers warmed up to your brand, your site, and more — now it’s time to wow them into engagement and conversion. For active customers, this means making the purchase journey as seamless as possible and the path to finding new or complementary products easy to navigate.

Especially for retail and ecommerce, this means investing in your omnichannel strategy. 73% of shoppers use multiple channels during their journey and the more channels they use the more they spend, so make sure that product recommendations are consistent across channels and that product interactions on one channel influence subsequent recommendations on another. And after customers have completed your welcome series or journey and continue to regularly interact with your brand, you’ll have a deeper and richer understanding of customers, their product affinities and preferences, and their buying patterns. This means you can start delivering truly 1:1 recommendations adapted to each customer’s intentions and where they are in the purchase cycle.


It’s also important to remember that the recommendation themes that worked well for new customers (you can learn more about the welcome series here) can still be used to drive engagement for active customers. Think of the themes you add at this stage as building upon your deeper understanding of customers and what they’re interested in or have affinities for. To make product recommendations personally relevant and drive conversions, tailor recommendations to each customer’s interests and activity with the following themes:

  • Similar Items and ‘Frequently Bought Together’: Help customers select the best fit product, avoid drop-off, and encourage upsell after viewing a product by promoting various relevant alternatives or complementary products to round out their purchase based on what others who bought the product bought with it.
  • People Like You Buy: The collective choices of others make us confident in our purchase decision. Showcase high-converting products that people with shared preferences and buying behaviors ultimately purchased.
  • Recent: Make it easy for customers to get back to where they left off in a previous shopping session by displaying the products they recently viewed, searched, or added to their cart.
  • Price Drop: Give customers a reason to buy now by alerting them when prices drop for recently viewed or carted items or for products that match their category affinities.
  • Repeat Purchase: For products with cyclical buying cycles, remind customers it’s time to buy again by promoting items they have previously bought with a timely reminder.
  • Back in Stock: Popular items sell out fast. Drive urgency to buy by alerting customers when an out-of-stock item they viewed or carted is available again.

Recommendation Tip: Add relevance and drive conversions by tailoring recommendations to each customer’s interests and activity.

Applying themes throughout the customer experience

It’s also not enough to lump all customers who aren’t new or lapsed into the category of “active”, there are some sub-stages within the active segment that marketers need to be aware of and make decisions accordingly. Within retail and ecommerce, it’s most helpful to divide up active customers by where they currently fall within the purchase process.

Here are just a few example phases a customer might be grouped within and any special considerations marketers should account for during these phases:

  1. Research Phase: Make product exploration easy by leveraging Similar Items recommendations within product pages and emails and aide discovery and introduce customers to products they wouldn’t have thought about searching by using New Arrivals, Trending, Seasonal Items, or People Like You Buy themes.
  2. Selection Phase: Use Frequently Browsed and Recent themes in emails and on the homepage to remind customers about the products they like, but have yet to purchase. You can also leverage People Like You Buy recommendations across channels. Price Drop alerts also work wonderfully at prompting conversions at this stage.
  3. Purchase Phase: Messages using Limited Stock, Back In Stock, or Expiring Deals recommendations featuring customers’ most engaged with products to encourage customers to convert before the products are gone for good. Also, send cart abandonment emails with Recently Carted and People Like You Buy product selections. Add Bought Together recommendations on the cart and checkout pages to encourage cross-sell and upsell and to increase the order value.
  4. Post & Repeat-Purchase Phase: Include Bought Together recommendations in post-purchase emails to encourage cross-sell and upsell and increase the order value. Use the Repeat Purchase theme to encourage customers to replenish their favorite items and continue engagement. Drive loyalty by sending messages highlighting loyalty reward reminders or how much more they need to purchase to achieve status and feature New Arrivals, Seasonal Items, and Trending products.

Recommendation Tip: Increase the order value by suggesting items other customers typically buy with the selected product.

More about our Smart Guide to Product Recommendations: Retail and Ecommerce

This is just a fraction of the tips and tricks we offer within our Smart Guide to Product Recommendations: Retail and Ecommerce. In this guide, we will cover all the best product recommendation themes, how to select the right ones throughout your customer journey, and best practices to add relevance across every interaction with your brand. You can access the full guide, available now.

If you’re interested in continuing your learning beyond recommendations, you can discover our full library of Smart Guides here.


Learn about different product recommendation themes, how to select the right ones throughout your customer journey, and best practices to add relevance across every interaction with your brand.