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Study: Most Top100 retailers still don’t recommend products based on customer browsing history

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Last month’s Top500 2016 report revealed that 76% of Top500 websites recommend products to browsing consumers and a study by Barilliance out this week reveals that even though a majority of the Top100 personalise recommendations, only 28% personalise these suggestions by taking into account customers’ previous on-site behaviour. It’s a sharp reminder that most even though algorithmic recommendations play a huge and valuable role in the profitability of many prominent retailers, these techniques are still too esoteric or expensive to penetrate the wider industry.

Furthermore, Barilliance reveals that only 9% of Top100 retailers used geo-targeting in order to personalise customer experience on their ecommerce site. In a week where the world is being wowed by revelations in Barcelona, the average retailer has the earthier priority of implementing the inventions of previous years. (More: InternetRetailing’s mobile editor reports from Barcelona).

Looking at customer engagement, 32% of Top100 retailers contact customers with product recommendations via email, and of these only 6% personalise product recommendations. This may help to explain why some retailers’ email campaigns are far more successful than others, with open rates varying from sub 1% to over 30% according to ReturnPath research included in the 2016 UK Top500 report. Elite retailers John Lewis and Argos achieved over 34% readership.

A sense of abandonment?

Only 37% of retailers send cart abandonment emails and of these nearly 86% included information about the abandoned products, according to the Barilliance study. New Look, a Leading retailer in the Top500 2016, was one of the few retailers to email customers with abandoned cart information. Of the retailers who do send cart abandonment emails, only 15% integrate personalised product recommendations. Yet, personalising emails can make a significant difference to conversion rate.

One example of this approach is Lands’ End , which has achieved a 362% increase in conversion rate due to an email personalisation programme. But while some retailers have embrace personalisation most Top500 retailers lag well behind the leaders in this area, which is why we’ll look more closely at the subject in the upcoming IRUK 500 Brand Engagement Report 2016.

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