User Experience

The PeC Review: MyBuys Personal Recommendations

Offering shoppers personalized product recommendations can increase conversion rates and profits while fending off shopping cart abandonment.

Onsite product merchandising—the idea of cross-, up-, and down-selling to shoppers—is a potent tool for ecommerce marketers that often takes the form of product recommendations. But personalizing (and optimizing) product recommendations— based on a relationship with your customers—transforms this already effective marketing tactic into a surefire profit maker.

Imagine, for example, a 42-year-old man shopping on an apparel site for suits. Normally, I wouldn’t expect him to see product recommendations aimed at six-year-old girls, but if my recommendation engine knew that he often bought dresses for his daughter that offering could make an additional sale.

The task of personalizing your site merchandising could be daunting. You’d need to carefully analyze and manage your site analytics; unobtrusively track shopper and customer behavior over time; carefully categorize all of your product offerings; and develop algorithms that relate consumer buying behavior and preferences to the items you sell.

MyBuys Makes Optimizing Recommendations Easy

If every small-to-mid-sized online merchant had to develop their own personalized recommendation solution, they probably wouldn’t do it. But thanks to MyBuys you don’t have to create your own personalization engine.

MyBuys collects customer data like purchase history, on-site behavior, and preferences and combines that information with your site or marketing events like new product introductions, sales, or inventory alerts to remake and optimize your on-site merchandising and email marketing campaigns for essentially every shopper your business engages. For being an easy way to significantly boost your marketing effectiveness, I am awarding MyBuys four out of a possible five stars in this “The PeC Review.”

The PeC Review is my weekly column aimed to introduce you to the products or services that I believe will improve your ecommerce business. This week let me explain why I think MyBuys is a great solution for improving your site merchandising.

A Feed and A Couple Lines of Code

Implementing MyBuys is no more difficult than setting up Google Analytics. Add a <div> and some JavaScript to your page templates and voila, you have done all the coding required to use MyBuys.

Of course there are still a few other things you’ll need to do, for example, you will want to regularly provide MyBuys with a product feed—similar to what you might provide to a shopping comparison site. And MyBuys will want to examine some historical site data so that your personalized recommender knows something about the customers you have already serviced and doesn’t have to start cold.

Pay for Performance Pricing

Successful ecommerce marketing often requires you to spend money to make money. Brand advertising, which is perhaps the best long-term way to improve your business, requires upfront and ongoing investments. Pay-per-click advertising, which focuses on extremely short-term marketing, also requires you to pay before you make a sale and absorb thousands of “non-converting” clicks.
But MyBuys is one of those rare pay for performance marketing tactics, which I love.

Recommending Non-Product Content

REPLACE ALTMyBuys also has the ability to recommend site content other than your products. At first, you might ask why you would want to recommend things other than up-sells and cross-sells, but offering customers articles, how-to videos, or other helpful site content goes a long way toward building relationships and, frankly, collecting data about customer preferences.

For example, if I search for “cheese burgers” on the Food Network’s website and navigate my way to Ina Garten’s Blue Cheese Burgers, MyBuys will make recommendations not just for a Sagaform BBQ Hamburger Press but also offer me other recipes (non-product content) that enhances my shopping experience and allows MyBuys to collect more data about my preferences.

Customized Email

MyBuys recommendations call also be added to email marketing campaigns. Imagine for a moment that you have a customer—we’ll call her Sally—who is registered on your site and has twice abandoned some widget in the shopping cart. MyBuys knows that Sally often buys items on sale, so when your weekly specials email goes out, MyBuys customizes Sally’s message to include the widget she has twice left behind and several other complimentary items. Now that is effective personalization.

What? Tables for Non-Tabular Data

As great as I think MyBuys is, there was one thing that bugged me.

When it comes to HTML and CSS, I cringe when HTML tables are used for non-tabular data. The World Wide Web Consortium has long discouraged the practice and encouraged web designers to only use tables to show things that require tables. Using tables to layout sections of an HTML page is nothing sort of a hack in the face of current best practices, and every reputable web designer or developer avoids using tables in this way since it can adversely affect accessibility, searchablity, and cross platform performance.

Unfortunately, the MyBuys solution litters your page with unnecessary <table>, <tr>, and <td> tags.

Summing Up

As much as I dislike misused HTML tables, I have to admit that MyBuys is an excellent product recommendation solution that I believe will boost your conversions, average order values, and profits, making it worthy of my high esteem and the four stars I awarded it in this review. I am also hopeful that MyBuys will soon replace their antiquated table layouts with some stylish and beautiful code that is a better match for their rocket-science quality algorithms.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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