June 30, 2009, 12:00 AM

Retailers that truly understand product personalization reap rewards

Merchants that pay attention to how customers use personalized product recommendations can drive more sales, says a new report from personalization technology vendor MyBuys and the E-tailing Group.

Online retailers that pay close attention to how customers react to personalized product recommendations have an excellent opportunity to drive more sales, says a new report and survey from personalization technology vendor MyBuys Inc. and research firm the E-tailing Group Inc.

In a survey of 1,000 consumers with annual household incomes of $50,000 and higher who shop online at least twice each month, 43% of respondents find it very or somewhat valuable if the retailer offers specific product recommendations tailored to their personal tastes and shopping histories. 76% report purchasing additional products based on merchant recommendations at least occasionally and 21% very frequently. “With merchants focused more on the bottom line than ever before, it is important to understand if these recommendations influence buying behavior and the results are very positive,” MyBuys and the E-tailing Group say in a report titled “Delivering the Added Value Consumers Expect from Personalized Product Recommendations.”

The use of personalized product recommendations is evolving, and consumers expect web merchants to offer them a more sophisticated experience than in the past, the report says. MyBuys and the E-tailing Group found that 43% of consumers expect a retailer to use their past purchase histories when making new recommendations and 20% believe merchants should take into account their browsing patterns and other factors. “Consumers have heightened expectations,” the report says.

Personalized product recommendations help shoppers make better buying decisions, the report says. “Recommendations play a valuable role in shopping, including convenience and time savings while also aiding selections,” the report says. “Shoppers are purchasing more when they see personalized product recommendations.”

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