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Study: Product recommendations combat dropping conversions, cart adds


Philadelphia— Except for a momentary spike during the 2014 holiday season, conversion and add-to-cart rates have been dropping steadily year-over-year. However, according to the global Ecommerce Quarterly report from Monetate, personalized, relevant product recommendations help brands avoid this issue.

Overall, conversion rates dropped gradually from 2.51% in the first quarter of 2014 to 2.32% in the first quarter of 2015. Save for stronger performances from tablet traffic in the device category and social traffic in the source category, weaker conversion rates were an across-the-board trend during the last five quarters.

Monetate data shows that by rolling out a product recommendation grid to its homepage, luggage brand Kipling achieved conversion rates far above the baseline.

In addition, at 35.25%, average bounce rate is nearly six full percentage points higher year-over-year. Interestingly, this change in trend isn’t tied to smartphones or tablets. It’s the desktop shopper who is less willing to give retailers a second chance –bounce rates on desktops climbed from 27.6% to 35.39%.

Microsoft beat the industry average by incorporating product recommendations into a fully personalized experience for shoppers who recently purchased a flagship product. The landing page experience featured a product banner and specific on-page messaging along with a product recommendation grid, resulting in bounce rate dropping 35% and add-to-cart rate rising 10%.

Overall, average order value (AOV) dropped 2.5% to $122.65 from from $125.15. The poorer performance can be blamed on smartphones. Brownells, a retailer of firearm of accessories and supplies, targeted shoppers from a specific niche site with a set of three different product category recommendation grids on their homepage: one for clearance items, one for new items and one for featured products within that category. The results were a 28.3% lift in AOV.

Despite these declines, the amount of traffic per session to product pages continues to rise (up from 2.09 product views per session to 2.28 product views per session.

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