Product Recommendation Best Practices Guide

Product recommendation is an important tool for eCommerce companies to improve sales, customer experience, and loyalty, and to ultimately drive growth and success in the competitive eCommerce landscape.

This article will provide you with the most basic concepts of Product Recommendation and how to make the best recommendation strategies using Boost AI Search & Discovery. 

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What is Product Recommendation? 

Product Recommendation intelligently recommends products based on the aggregation of store shopping data and the ability to pick certain items for promotions manually. Suggestions for appropriate items at every touchpoint of your customer journey help increase product findability for better navigation and awareness. As a result, this feature may boost your customers' engagement while escalating store cross-sale. 

As a best practice, we recommend the following guidelines when using recommendations:

  • Diversify your recommendation types. Customers start ignoring recommendations if they suggest the same products over and over again.
  • Keep your site tidy. Do not deploy more than three recommendation units on the same page.
  • Note: This feature is only available for App Lib V3 with OS 2.0 Themes, please contact us for further instructions.

Types of Product Recommendation

Our app now provides store merchants with different mixed types of product recommendations. Each type follows separate logic to generate recommendations for your site. Common types of recommendations include:  

Recommendation Types What Is It?  Suggest Label
Frequently bought together This refers to recommended products that others bought, based on items added to the customer’s cart. The ‘Frequently Bought Together’ strategy is best used when the store’s inventory includes many diverse products, with synergies, and is best utilized on either the Product page or the Cart page. 
  • Frequently bought together
  • Buy it with
  • Combo products
  • Bought together
  • Often purchased together
Related items Related items are suggestions that have common attributes as the source product. Currently, this recommendation system includes 3 types of product suggestions:
  • Alternative products widget: The proposed products will have similar functionality and characteristics to the target product. In other words, providing alternative product recommendations allows customers to opt for the ‘right’ product. For instance, if shoppers are looking at fresh-breath toothpaste, the algorithm will suggest others like toothpaste for sensitive teeth, whitening toothpaste, and cavity protection toothpaste.  
  • Complementary products widget: The complementary products are add-ons or accessories to go along with the main product. These suggested products will usually be products that add value to the target product or finish the package. For example, if shoppers show their interest in fresh-breath toothpaste, the engine will display mouthwash, mouth sore rinses, and toothbrushes.  
  • Mixed products widget: Mixed items suggestions may contain both Alternative products and Complementary products. This tactic is best used to save up place for other recommendation widgets on the same page.
  • Alternative items or mixing: Similar items, Related items, Products related to this item, Find similar, More to love
  • Complementary products: Complete your look/routine, People also bought, Combo products, You might like, Goes well with
Newest arrivals This recommendation can be configured to promote the latest products in your store. You can utilize this feature to promote new/unexplored products that are in stock and increase visibility to customers.
  • New arrivals
  • New in
  • Newest arrivals
  • Hot new releases
  • Recent release
  • Just dropped
Trending products By default, the trending widget highlights the most popular items that your customers have recently viewed or purchased within 7 days. For newly built stores, it is advisable to use view events to create the trending suggestion block.
  • Trending now
  • Trending
  • Popular right now
  • Popular now
  • Highly rated
  • This week's top deals
Bestsellers After 30 days of gathering data on the store's most purchased items, our app will propose top-selling products to display and upsell the store's iconic products.
  • Bestsellers
  • Best selling products
  • Top sellers
  • Highly rated
  • Top Picks From Shop
  • Selling fast
Most viewed Our app will collect the products with the most views in the store within 30 days to recommend suitable products.
  • Most Viewed 
  • Most Popular
  • Popular styles
  • Highly rated
Recently viewed Based on customers' personal viewed product history during their session on the site, recently viewed products will be collected and recommended by our app. This widget can also enhance the client's coherent shopping experience by helping customers pick up from where they left off.
  • Recently viewed
  • Take another look
  • Your recently viewed products
  • Your Browsing History
Handpicked products In case you want to suggest products manually, the hand-picked widget allows you to promote specific items by generating fully curated recommendations. For example, If you sell cosmetics, you can also use the hand-picked products widget to include complementary products for each stage of a skincare routine, assisting consumers in completing the regimen.
  • Match with
  • Hand-picked discount
  • Complete the look/routine
  • Shop the look
  • Style with
  • Wear it with
  • Complete the set
  • Buy the look
  • Discover unique hand-quicked items

Product Recommendation Widget Layouts

Almost anywhere on your website can benefit from the use of product recommendations to engage visitors and entice them to make a purchase. Here are some ways Shopify merchants can make use of Boost AI Search & Discovery to implement product recommendations. 

Location Recommendation Types Widget Layout 
  • Newest arrivals
  • Trending products
  • Bestsellers
  • Hand-picked products
  • Carousel
  • Grid
Collection Page
  • Trending products
  • Bestsellers
  • Most viewed
  • Carousel
  • Grid
Product Page
  • Frequently bought together
  • Related items
  • Most viewed
  • Recently viewed
  • Hand-picked products
  • Carousel
  • Grid
  • Bundle
Cart Page
  • Frequently bought together
  • Related items
  • Trending products
  • Bestsellers
  • Recently viewed
  • Hand-picked products
  • Carousel
  • Grid

Grid layout is currently in development.

Carousel (Slider)

Carousel is the most popular widget layout for product recommendations on eCommerce sites. The carousel layout lets you display your products in one interactive, sliding block, from the left to the right and vice versa. It saves a vast space on a page and allows you to group specific items together. Thus, this makes carousels a perfect fit for highlighting recommended items in online stores. 


A grid is made up of columns, gutters, and margins. Most websites use page layout that relies on grids as it produces an appealing visual experience. Regarding product recommendations, choosing the grid style will make suggested items visible and able to be seen all at once. Hence, store owners like you can create a unique shopping experience while effectively boosting conversions. 

Grid layout is currently in development.


Product bundling is an important marketing and sales tactic for online businesses. A product bundle is a collection of things that are commonly purchased together by the same groups of shoppers. It saves online shoppers from having to navigate endlessly through product pages so they would not get lost. 

The bundle layout can only be available on product pages only with 2 recommendation types: Frequently bought together and Related items. 

With additional products customers add to their cart, bundles naturally increase your revenue and AOV. When a shopper leaves your store happy, they are more likely to return for a second transaction, resulting in a greater conversion rate and customer retention.

3 Tips On Setting Up Recommendation Widgets On Your Store

#1. Set Up 1-2 Recommendation Widgets On A Collection Page

  • Add 1 - 2 recommendation widgets at the end of the collection page. This setting should go with pagination or pages with a ‘View more' button. However, if you have an infinity-scrolling page, don't leave the Recommendation widget at the end.
  • This approach is suitable with the paginated list of products and both Vertical and Horizontal filter layouts. 

#2. Set Up 2 - 3 Recommendation Widgets On A Product Page

  • The most used recommendation widgets on product pages are Related items and Frequently bought together, below the main product description. 
  • You can also set up the Recently Viewed widget on the product page, right above the footer.
  • Total recommendation widgets should be 2 - 3, or to a maximum of 4.

#3. Set Up 1-2 Recommendation Widgets On A Cart Page

  • The recommended placement for the Bestsellers or Recently viewed widget is below the cart information but above the footer.
  • Suitable to place 1- 2 widgets on the cart page.

By following these afore-mention guidelines, you'll have recommendations that are always evolving and learning from your customers' experiences. Each customer will get a personalized collection of recommended items according to their specific behavior. And thanks to developments in eCommerce technology, almost any store, including yours, can now access them.

If you’re ready to build a product recommendation strategy that sells check out User Guide: Product Recommendations for simple, step-by-step guidance.

Case Study - IKEA

By flexibly applying these recommendation types, you can provide your customers with a wide range of potential options to choose from. Let’s take a look at IKEA as a prime example. 

Caption: IKEA suggests both 3 types of related products recommendation on their product page

When shoppers land on the STRELITZIA Potted plant product page, they will receive a comprehensive set of related product suggestions. 

Right below the source product, they display a Related products block that contains other similar plant choices with comparable alternatives varying in price, tree breed, or size. You can configure our recommendation blocks like IKEA, by using the Alternative products recommendation (which is also 1 kind of Related items recommendation). 

Also, above the footer, they have another recommendation widget for Complementary items called You might like to introduce other pots that will be advantageous to accompany the plant. If you want to set up the widget like this, you can use our Complementary products recommendation. 

Last but not least, some shoppers would search for both alternative and complementary ones. Understanding that, the brand sets up a widget called Goes well with to list other potted plants and accessories.  Our advanced Product Recommendation also allows store owners to set up a Mix recommendation that contains both alternative products and complimentary products like IKEA. 

Thanks to these recommendation blocks, visitors can explore their needs as well as quickly find a perfect fit without moving back and forth before making a purchase.