Past studies may have overstated how often people use online shopping recommendations, a UF researcher has found.
Anuj Kumar, a UF business professor, said the benefits of product recommendations on websites are not as effective in getting people to click on them as previously thought.
To demonstrate that the economic value of product recommendations is not as high as expected, Kumar partnered with a major department store that sells apparel and home goods to study the impact the recommendations have on shoppers. Kumar said he can’t reveal the name of the store because he signed a confidentiality agreement.
“It’s not that the placement of these recommendations are bad,” Kumar said. “The success of them is simply exaggerated.”
Kumar collected data for more than two months on what customers looked at, which recommendations they clicked on and if they purchased the product. He then compared this data to another group of shoppers who did not receive any recommendations to see how it affected purchases.
The research is important to companies because they want to know if they’re getting a return on their investment in online recommendations, Kumar said. It was previously thought that there was a 30 to 40 percent increase in sales from the recommendations, but it’s actually 11 percent.
Victor Santos, a 21-year-old UF marketing junior, said he appreciates product recommendations.
“I think these recommendations are great because they help me find products that I am usually interested in,” Santos said.