How to Make Targeted Product Recommendations (the Old-Fashioned Way)
Remember what buying products was like before the internet? No fancy AI or algorithms tracking every purchase and making suggestions. Nope. In order to find the products and services you were seeking, you had to go out and talk (gasp!) to business owners and salespeople. You could tell them what you were looking for, and they would steer you in the right direction. They knew how to make targeted product recommendations with good old-fashioned expertise and listening skills.
These days, search “how to make targeted product recommendations” and you’ll get results on how to implement fancy ecommerce algorithms on your website. Analyzing user data? Automated display? Recommender system? Ha! You don’t have the time, training, or resources to invest in this kind of stuff (never mind trying to understand what it is in the first place).
What are targeted product recommendations?
At its core, making product recommendations is simply a matter of knowing your customers and understanding their business needs. It doesn’t have to be left up to machines. What motivates clients to buy are intelligent, thoughtful, targeted, and smart suggestions—and these can be provided by humans just like you.
You may be asking yourself:
- How can I come up with something they will like?
- How do I know they’ll be able to use it?
- What can I recommend?
Here are some tactics for how to make targeted product recommendations the old-fashioned way. (And guess what? These are some of the exact same tactics AI systems are programmed to provide.)
Showcase Your Best Sellers
Best-selling products are popular for a reason. Get these in front of your clients frequently, keeping in mind which would work best for their customers and industry. For our Business Owners, Kaeser & Blair provides the Best Buys catalog each year. It features a wide selection of our most popular products from industry-leading suppliers. Additionally, we provide knowledgable Support Representatives who can assist with product recommendations.
Lean into what’s popular in fashion, food, technology, and other industries. Find smart ways to tie in the product line your client sells. Feeling suddenly uncool because you don’t know what’s hot? Google Trends shows the top searches each day in a variety of categories. Or, research what obscure holidays social media is buzzing about. (Branded beer mugs for National Beer Day, anyone?) At Kaeser & Blair, every two months our Business Owners receive a sales flyer called the Windjammer. It features currently popular items with limited-time special pricing.
Share Discounts and Sales
Who doesn’t love to help clients save money? Keep them informed on discounts and specials. One of the best ways to do this is to collect email addresses from current customers and prospects. You can use this contact list to send out newsletters and updates on a regular basis. You can even target recipients by location, industry, or another segment.
Show Location-Based Recommendations
Use your contact list coupled with Google Trends for this product recommendation tactic. With Trends, you can search by country, state, or city and see what people are searching for in that location. Use your contact list to reach out to your customers in those areas with relevant product recommendations.
If all your clients are local, even better! You know exactly what products you need to suggest. Need some general ideas? The weather in a particular area is always a sure bet. Or, lean into national events happening in a specific location. For example, when the Masters rolls around in Georgia, demand for golf-related products can’t be far behind!
Show Recommendations Based on Purchasing Behavior
Keep track of what your customers have purchased in the past and recommend similar products. This is a great way to get clients out of their repetitive purchasing “comfort zone” and try something new.
Making targeted product recommendations isn’t about high-tech solutions, just smart sales tactics and insights. Offer your clients what the algorithms can’t: good old relationship building and personal service. It’s a no-brainer!