The most valuable public company in the world, Amazon is practically synonymous with ecommerce. More product searches begin on Amazon than Google now and the company has so much clout, it’s able to create its own Cyber Week-caliber holiday in Prime Day. The secret to Amazon’s success? Product recommendations.

Amazon’s recommendation engine accounts for 35% of the company’s revenue, which shows that the right product recommendations are invaluable for retailers. At Marigold Engage by Sailthru, we believe so strongly in the power of a well-positioned product recommendation that we created a whole guide about how and where to use them most effectively. They’re especially important during the holiday season. For one, people’s buying patterns change drastically. They’re buying more and in different categories than they usually do. With strong data collection practices, you can continue to make relevant product recommendations, while successfully differentiating whether those items are gifts for themselves or others.

Given the events of this year, we predict a holiday season unlike any other, resulting in an even greater need than usual for retailers to crush Q4. With that in mind, pay particular attention to these five recommendation algorithms as you plan your holiday strategies:

What’s Hot

What are your best sellers, both in general and over the past week? Classic recommendation algorithms like “popular” and “trending” instill customer confidence. Highlight them, along with your products best known for converting first-time customers. And if your customer experience is great enough, those new shoppers may even by loyalists by FebruaryTory Burch does this well, with a single beautiful, eye-catching image and just a few words. Though it’s short and sweet, Tory Burch’s copy manages to creates a sense of exclusivity and timeliness.

What’s New

Centering product recommendations on new arrivals is a great extension of your segmentation strategy. These items can catch new customers’ eyes, while increasing engagement for existing customers. It’s likely your VIPs already know what’s hot; show them what’s new to keep them shopping during the holidays. Few brands do recommendations as well as Sephora, the first-place finisher on all three of our Retail Personalization Indexes. New arrivals are front and center on the beauty giant’s website, right underneath the trending holiday items. Some of the new items even fit in with the above holiday theme; the gingerbread spice eye shadow palette contains shades such as Spiked Eggnog, Frostbite Me, and Reindeer Paws.

Collaborative Filtering

Also known as “those who bought this also bought that,” collaborative filtering is similar to making recommendations based on what’s trending. However, there’s a more personalized twist, as your activity ultimately dictates these recommendations. Collaborative filtering is a must for retailers with massive inventories, like Wayfair. Once a customer clicks one of the home retailer’s 14 million products, Wayfair lets them know what similar browsers bought, including both comparable and complementary items.


Interest-based recommendations are great for those customers you know… and even those you don’t. Marketers need surprisingly little data to pull this strategy off; all it takes is a short browsing session on mobile or a few website clicks. Robust customer profiles are the backbone of RevZilla‘s email marketing program. Those are great for recommendations during the holidays, given that more than half of us buy ourselves gifts, according to Deloitte’s 2019 holiday retail survey.

Predictive Product Recommendations

For loyal customers, or even those who you don’t see most of the year but reliably return every November, take your recommendation strategy to the next level with machine learning. Predictive algorithms recommend what customers are likely to buy next, based on a combination of interests, collaborative filtering, engagement level, and purchase history. Predictive algorithms even consider timelines, analyzing how long it’s been since someone has last opened an email, made their first purchase or crossed the line into loyalist.

This is just a taste. Download Marigold Engage by Sailthru’s 2020 Holiday Marketing Guide for this year’s holiday season must-haves, promotional strategies, blueprints to grow your base into the new year, and more!