A recommendation system is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your e-commerce platform. If your website is poorly optimized, even the best recommendation systems will struggle to save your website. When designing an e-commerce website, it is important that you optimize it in order to generate an increase in sales. Simple optimizations, such as detailed and original product descriptions, suitable images, proper titles and keyword usage, and cutting down on website clutter can greatly improve the effectiveness of your recommendation system and convert an average consumer into a paying customer.
1. Product Descriptions
When a customer browses your website, a recommendation system analyzes their choices and provides them with real-time recommendations that it believes will improve their shopping experience. When a consumer is browsing your products, it is essential that they are adequately described and unique. Generic descriptions will bore potential customers and convince them that you haven’t put in the time or effort to advertise your products. It may also deter them from making a purchase if they feel that the description does not adequately tell them enough about the product.
Your recommendation system is working hard to increase a customer’s engagement with your website, having suitable product descriptions will greatly improve your chances at converting a browser into a buyer.
2. Powerful Images
Every time a recommendation system provides recommendations, a consumer’s first interaction with the suggestions is heavily influenced by the images that accompany them. No one wants to look at photos that look like they were hastily snapped from a smartphone. This makes your business look unprofessional and is counterproductive to the efforts of your recommendation system. Professional photos increase overall sales, this is a fact. If you are showcasing products, professional photos with natural light are a great way to advertise your products and it will boost the overall effectiveness of your recommendation system. In addition, your photos must be large enough that a consumer can clearly see the product without needing to zoom in.
Photo credit: Search Engine Journal
A controlled A/B test on a Czech e-commerce website showed that larger images resulted in a sizeable increase in conversion rates. In the test, they used a set of smaller images and a set of images that were 28% larger. The larger images resulted in a 9.46% increase in the website’s conversion rate. Forcing users to do extra work will stop them from engaging with your website and may drive them to your competition.
3. Optimized Titles and Keywords
The Internet is dominated by Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Without going into specifics, SEO is an important tool that helps you rank higher on Google. When designing an e-commerce platform, it is crucial that you find the right keywords and titles to compliment your product listings. However, you must implement them in a way that feels natural. A recommendation system will provide your consumers with meaningful suggestions, but the only way to make the suggestions useful is if consumers are able to quickly decipher the relevance of the products they are being suggested. Relevance is a fundamental concept of recommendation systems and it also extends to products through their titles, descriptions, and keyword usage.
4. Website Decluttering
As a business, you want to properly showcase all of your products. Yet, your consumers are not interested in being bombarded by large amounts of options and product recommendations. Studies have shown that an excessive amount of options and recommendations leads to reduction in sales, and in extreme cases, it can cause a consumer to leave your website. The same rules apply to option fields. Commonly known as option overload, providing too many options will harm your website and lower conversion rates. A useful method for optimizing your e-commerce platform is to tailor a suitable number of recommendations per page and options per category. On average, 4-6 recommendations, 3-5 contact field options, and 2-3 drop down menu options are all seen as a safe number that will not negatively affect your conversion rates.
Photo credit: Quicksprout
A recommendation system is designed to increase the desirability of your website. However, if you have a poorly optimized e-commerce website, you will struggle to generate sales. Protect your investment by ensuring that you optimize your website with unique product descriptions, professional and properly sized photos, effective titles and keyword usage, and through the process of decluttering. All of these simple optimizations will increase a user’s engagement and enjoyability of your website. In the end, a recommendation system is only as good as the website that it is working with, so it becomes increasingly important to offer your consumers a properly optimized website.