Product Recommendations Less Relevant, Study Shows

By February 05, 2010

Part 2 of ChoiceStream's 2009 Personalization Survey was released this week, showing that consumers found online product recommendations less useful last year than 2008. Other findings were published by the recommendations service provider, who works with big brands such as Tesco, and more. The decrease in credibility for consumers is specified by retail category. Overall, 31 percent more online shoppers received poor quality recommendations in 2009 than the 45 percent in 2008. Most respondents said that quality was poor because suggested products were unrelated to what they were looking for.

Across the ten retail categories that these recommendations occurred in, "excellent" recommendations were made only seventeen percent of the time. The top performers were music and entertainment categories, who received 48 percent more top ratings than toy or office supply stores.

Some results may be influenced by the increased expectations of online customers. According to Lori Trahan, vice president of marketing at ChoiceStream, "It's also true that as product recommendations become more pervasive and more recommendation providers enter the market to meet demand, these vendors lack the in-market experience necessary to create good quality recommendations."

In order of performance, positive responses were for:

Music and entertainment stores (ex: iTunes, Netflix) 21%
'Big box' store (ex: Amazon, Target) 19%
Grocery stores 18%
Book stores (ex: Barnes & Noble) 18%
Electronics (ex: Best Buy) 17%
Shopping comparison sites (ex: 16%
Department store (ex: Macy's, JC Penney) 15%
Shoes 14%
Toy stores 14%
Office supplies (ex: OfficeMax) 14%

Those at the top of the list have had more experience in product recommendations as part of their model, says Steve Johnson, founder and CEO of ChoiceStream. "This ranking also shines a light on the upside potential for product recommendations." Even though expectation rises, these categories have great potential to lift revenue.

Legal mentions © L’Atelier BNP Paribas