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Recommendation Engines

How Recommendation Engines Help You in Your Personalization Efforts

Customers aren’t interested in a basic shopping experience anymore. The old method of pages filled with categorized items will not cut it in the modern world of eCommerce. Customers are interested in a personalized shopping experience that caters to their needs and understands their unique preferences.

Recommendation engines provide businesses with a valuable tool that offers personalization and an intelligence algorithm that learns over time through data collection.


Statistics from a variety of sources have revealed that personalization is one of the most important factors in digital marketing. For example, Marketing Land discovered that personalized emails increase transaction rates and revenues by over six times. Similar data by Webtrends highlighted that the average consumer has 260 unopened emails in their inbox. Of those emails, 56 of them were from brands. However, 60 percent of consumers were receptive to branded emails if the subject line was personalized.

Still, consumers are often agitated by brands that try to offer meaningless personalization. Instead of targeting their needs, certain companies bombard their consumers with standardized emails offering a wide selection of products that just mention their first or full name to trick them into thinking it was tailored to them.

Yahoo penned The Balancing Act: Getting Personalization Right in an effort to highlight the importance of personalization and how it must be carried out if a company wants to benefit from it. In the book they identified the value of recommendation systems and how they were responsible for making personalization even on the level of email outreach and direct marketing a possibility.

In the book, the company states: “Content personalization represents the fulcrum balancing the consumer ‘need to know’ with their ‘want to know’. Consumers self-direct their online journey by opting-in to areas of interest (what they want to know). Informed by those surfing trends, demographic and other profile information, advanced algorithms present people with additional useful information (what they need to know).”


When consumers browse a website, they leave behind a trail of data. To the untrained human eye this data is meaningless, but a recommendation system is capable of collecting this data, analyzing it, and producing valuable results that will help you learn more about your consumers. Through this advanced data analysis, these systems are capable of creating unique suggestions and product recommendations that cater to your customer’s needs. Recommendation systems do more than just provide suggestions; they have the ability to learn and develop a complex network of correlations.

“Personalization enhances individual engagement, utilizing collaborative and content-based filtering to create tailor-made online interactions. Through the use of a sophisticated algorithm,” stated Yahoo.

The majority of consumers— 60 percent according to Yahoo—are aware of the existence of personalization and the way in which it is achieved. Privacy is always a concern and something that consumers are thinking about. When pressed on the topic, the majority of them are willing to sacrifice a little privacy to achieve tailored content.

“Despite a desire for control and some privacy concerns, 78% of consumers expressed a desire for some kind of content personalization, with the majority 62% interested in viewing a mix of algorithmic and curated content for a unique experience,” noted Yahoo.

Personalization is achieved through recommendation systems that are capable of learning about a consumer, speaking their language, and valuing their time. Today’s busy shopper wants their content to be accurate and they want it delivered to them fast. Recommendation systems are always working to learn more about the customer and to find unique connections that will convert sales. On the other hand, consumers are starting to trust recommendation systems with their data so long as it provides a highly personalized experience that is catered to their needs including value and time.

According to the Yahoo study:

Consumers are taking heed of personalized ads and seem to actually prefer them. More than 60 percent of consumers said they were aware when ads were tailored to them and believed they could differentiate between personalized and traditional ads. More than half of consumers studied actually preferred personalized ads. Even more Internet users agreed that digital ad personalization was important, including 67 percent of people using email, 44 percent of social media actives and 40 percent of mobile phone users.

Marketing is both an expensive and expansive industry, and finding a tool that can accurately measure the preferences of your consumers is essential and something that all businesses should pursue. Recommendation systems work tirelessly to understand your consumers and to create content that is appealing to them and more likely to help your business in the long run. If you are looking for a way to personalize content, recommendation systems are an easy way to accomplish that without breaking your company’s budget.

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