News steps up conversions with personalized product recommendations

August 16, 2012 12:07 PM recently decided to step up its recommendations to shoppers. To help improve its suggestions, it deployed a personalization and product recommendation system from iGoDigital. 

The system automatically recommends products to each returning online shopper based on a combination of her personal shopping behaviors, the interests shown by other shoppers looking for similar products and up-to-date information on the availability of inventory by particular product attributes.

For example, if a consumer is looking at a particular brand of women’s heels it serves up targeted recommendations based on the shoes that other shoppers who looked at those products and brands ultimately bought, the retailer says.

“Our recommendations act as that knowledgeable sales associate, taking stock of what different customers like and delivering ideas for other products that might fit their tastes,” says Zoe Cleeland, director of e-commerce for “This not only increases the value of that one-time shopping experience, but over time, facilitates much deeper product discovery in our catalog.”

And that’s leading to more sales, she says. An A/B test conducted six months after the retailer introduced the recommendations system showed that shoppers presented with tailored recommendations had a 10% higher conversion rate than other shoppers.

In addition to working with iGoDigital to determine the products that are recommended, also collaborated with the vendor to test, discuss and determine the pages that would display recommendations. also ran A/B tests on shoppers who reached its site after doing a Google search with a particular brand name. After testing many ways to recommend shoes with that brand name to those shoppers, the retailer found that the headings “Top Rated Men’s,” “Top Rated Women’s,” and Most Popular (accompanied by the brand name)” had the highest conversion rates. also now recommends accessories when a shopper ordering shoes checks out. “Each customer needs to feel that personal touch, that we are uniquely serving their style and preferences,” Cleeland says.

In the future, OnlineShoes aims to refine its recommendations by allowing shoppers to offer feedback on whether the suggestions are relevant and helpful. This will help further hone recommendations for the shopper when she returns to the site. is No. 147 in the Internet  Retailer Top 500 Guide.




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