March 28, 2012, 2:09 PM

Personalized recommendations boost’s sales

The suggestions also boost the site’s average order size.

Lead Photo

Brown Shoe Co.’s Inc. had a problem. By selling thousands of shoes, handbags and accessories on its site, it was giving consumers what they wanted—selection. But it was also making it difficult for those same shoppers to find what they were looking for.

“In most cases, people don’t know what kind of shoes they want,” says a spokesman for, No. 137 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. That’s why the retailer needed a tool to help shoppers find what they didn’t know they were after.  

Enter the merchandise recommendation engine from Certona Corp. that generates product suggestions based on a shopper’s past purchase history and behavioral patterns.

The retailer added the recommendations to its product detail page and shopping cart to cross-promote items. It also populated the “No Results” search page with Certona’s suggestions that are related to a shopper’s browsing habits to help consumers avoid hitting a dead end.

Since it began using Certona’s recommendations, nearly 20% of web visitors click on one of its suggested products.

That success led the retailer to add personalized recommendations to its marketing e-mails. The tailored messaging increased the average order size 30% for purchases that stem from e-mails. And consumers who click on a recommendation buy, on average, 1.8 items, 38.5% more than others whose average order is 1.3 items. 

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