Product Recommendation Emails: The Key To Unlocking a 369% Boost In Revenue When Done Right

Visit any bar or restaurant and you’re bound to hear the same conversion at everything single one...

Someone orders an entree from the menu. The waiter then asks if they’d like a drink to go with their meal and the person responds with, “What would you recommend?”

And like the good waiter they are, they ask a couple questions about the customer’s preferences and then narrow down the recommendation based on what pairs well with what they’re eating and what they also like in terms of taste.

Voila! The customer gets a great drink to complement their meal and the waiter earns a good tip in the interim.

The moral of the story is simple.

Personalized recommendations work to sell more products.

It works in restaurants.

And it works in email marketing.  

Even if you use them in your emails, you’ll probably want to consider utilizing them even more once you read just how powerful they are at generating revenue.

Why Use Personalized Products Recommendations?

When marketers hear that they should try something new, they usually ask why they should do it. But what we’re all really asking is, “show me the data proving why I should do this.”

We’re data nerds.

It’s only natural.

There’s plenty of data to back up using personalized product recommendations.

For instance, campaigns that contain product recommendations but don’t get any clicks on those have an AOV of $44.41. However, that revenue increases by 369% when someone engages with the recommendations listed.

Yes, you read that right!

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Email product recommendations average 31% for eCommerce online store annual revenue.

That’s huge!

Imagine the revenue opportunity you’re missing out on if you’re not using these in your emails or not utilizing it correctly. There are plenty of ways you can add personalized product recommendations to your email marketing.

Below we’ll cover some brands that do it well, what you can learn from them, and some suggestions for how to expand your use of product recommendations.

Examples of Ecommerce Email Product Recommendations

Adidas

It doesn’t matter how big or how small your brand is.

Personalization matters for everyone. It matters so much that even large brands like Adidas make sure they capitalize on its effectiveness.

One of the things that we really love about how Adidas uses product recommendations is the way they incorporate these into various emails. While you could add a simple product recommendation to a welcome email drip, there are ways to include recommendations in nearly all the emails you send.

Adidas is a good example of using personalized recommendations that are shaped by what users show interest in.

What We Love About Their Emails

The email above is from their abandoned cart automation. Abandoned carts are good examples of simple personalized product recommendations because you’re recommending the items they already have sitting in their cart.

Here’s what we love about this particular email.

  1. The image is the exact shoe the person left sitting in their cart.
  2. The CTA is above the fold so when they open their email, the CTA will easily be seen front and center on desktop or a mobile device.
  3. They’ve included other user’s reviews of the product along with photos of the shoe being worn.

It’s a fantastic way to get more out of the abandoned cart sequence! But this isn’t the only place you’ll find personalized product recommendations.

They’ve also created “Stock Alert” emails. You’re likely familiar with these, and may even have these setup for your store.

But what is great about what Adidas does with their stock alert lists is they use them to generate sales even when the item the person is interested in is still out of stock.

When you look at the image above, they plainly state the product the person liked isn’t in stock yet. But then they go on to recommend different products instead.

What about this is personalized?

Well, the item the person liked was a fashionable soccer shoe for men. The recommendations listed are a man’s shoes and bag.

Takeaways For You:

  • Look at your current email automations to find areas to add product recommendations. Adding product recommendations doesn’t have to take a bunch of time if you already have email automations in place. You can easily add an email to your automations like Welcome drips, Abandoned Carts, a new subscriber sequence, Stock Alerts (like Adidas), Birthday emails, the “it’s been a year since you signed up” anniversary emails, Loyalty Program emails, and so on. The areas of opportunities are endless but start with that you have and work out from there.
  • Use recommendations and reviews together in your email. People like to see what others have to say and it influences their purchases. By taking your best reviews and using those in tandem with personalized product recommendations, they complement each other.

Blue Apron

Chances are you’re not in the meal delivery service like Blue Apron. But the brand still provides some great lessons in terms of personalized product recommendations.

The biggest lesson you’ll learn from them is that if you want to offer personalized product recommendations, you need to start with your segmentation strategy.

A properly segmented list makes sending personalized offerings so much easier! Blue Apron has a highly segmented list which you’ll notice if you study their emails.


When you go to sign up, there are three main options. Each one gives indicators as to how many people will be eating and the dietary preference. From there, you give info and dive into choosing your meals.

After that, you’re put into their segmented list and that’s where the magic really starts to show.

What We Love About These Emails

Depending on the menu option they sign up for, customers and subscribers will then have emails sent to them personalized to their menu option.


Someone who chooses the Vegetarian menu will get emails about the menu for next week that feature vegetarian recipes only.

Another person who chooses another meal plan will be mealed options available that appeal to their palate.

But what about people who don’t convert right away?  


Those who abandon their cart will get personalized offers based on the menu option they picked initially and it’s aimed at converting the interested person into a customer.  

Blue Apron being able to send the right message to the right person is all thanks to segmentation. That’s a big deal and something you should really dig your feet into if you want to send personalized emails that equal better ROI.

Takeaways For You:

  • Segment your list to make personalized product offerings easier. This is easier said than done. It requires looking at all your email opt-ins across the intranet, mapping those back to your email marketing platform, and then tagging and segmenting your lists according to interest and browsing behavior. With an ESP like Sendlane, tracking browsing behavior and setting up segments is rather easy (more on that in a bit), but it might be different with the tool you’re using. But there are various segments you can create that would be good for personalized product recommendations.
  • Here are a few ideas: By location, product purchased, average order value, product category.

You can get creative with the product offerings for each segment, but having those segments in place will make it easier to send the right offer to the right person.

How To Add Personalized Product Recommendations To Your Emails

Every email marketing tool has its own way of letting you add product recommendations. With Sendlane, we have a prebuilt product recommendation automation that works like a charm with Shopify stores. Or you can build from scratch if you like.

Another way to add these recommendations to your email is to set up event tracking on your product pages that then triggers a product recommendation email to send.

This is a great automation to set up because it tracks the behavior of someone viewing your site and then sends an email based on what they view — not based on if they abandoned their cart or not.  

In Sendlane, you would do this by creating the tracking event with our Sendlane Beacon features, creating a new automation that has the trigger as the event you just created. Finally, you’d wrap it up with setting a Goal.


In the case of this image above, the goal was that the view visited the product and generated income over $1.00. It’s a little technical, but easier than you’d think.

Now, let’s talk for a second about design a bit, shall we?

What these emails look like and where you place these product recommendations in your emails tends to be a topic of debate, but brands try out various layouts to find what works for them.

ASOS has highly designed emails that display recommendations based on customer browsing behavior.


Recommend as few or as many makes sense for your brand. You can even do a multivariate test to test the number of recommendations to see if one works better than another.

Want More Revenue? Try Adding Product Recommendations

Generating revenue from your email marketing can be tough. Testing out fresh and new tactics can help get you closer to making your emails work harder and faster for you.

As we’ve seen, product recommendations have a substantial impact on revenue which make it a great area to test out for your brand.

What email types do you plan on incorporating new product recommendations in? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

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Caitlin Hutchinson
Brand Marketing Manager
Sendlane

A native of San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative and engaging marketing content. Primarily responsible for overseeing the development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels while maintaining an online presence of Sendlane's team culture. Host of The Marketing Automation Hustle Podcast and Sendlane Youtube Training Channel. Works closely with the marketing team to manage creative projects and develop creative assets/solutions to enhance the brand. Collaborates at the intersection of marketing, product, content, and sales to develop powerful and memorable stories and interactive experiences that bring the Sendlane vision to life.

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