Senior Sitecore Commerce Developer
Smart Product Recommendations for Sitecore Experience Commerce
In 2012, Amazon’s fiscal quarter sales increased by $2.93 Billion due to their use of smart product recommendations (Forbes, 2012). Yes, you’ve probably seen those before while shopping there and you’ve probably used them as well. Since it’s now 2019, it’s about time for us to catch up.
This article shows developers and partners how to easily add smart features like Product Recommendations that are driven by machine learning to their Sitecore Experience Commerce projects. Using readily available tools, we will demonstrate an implementation path that is easy, cost-effective and pragmatic.
Your clients will think you’re a genius!
What are Smart Product Recommendations
Smart Product Recommendations are our way of taking your Sitecore Commerce Shops to new height by adding intelligence through Machine Learning. Not only will it glitter to your storefront, it will also contribute in improving sales and ultimately, the bottom-line.
Types of Smart Product Recommendations
Item-to-Item Recommendations – These are product recommendations based on a specific item. It answers the question: “for people who buy Product X, what other products did they buy (same transaction or not)?”
Figure 1: Sample Item to Item Recommendation
User-to-Item Recommendations – These are product recommendations based on a specific user’s buying history. It answers the question, “considering my history, what other products do you think I’ll be interested in?”
Figure 2: Sample User to Item Recommendation
Frequently Bought Together (FBT) – These are product recommendations based on a specific item as well. However, it answers a more specific question: “for people who buy Product X, what other products did they usually buy it with? (same transaction only)”.
Figure 3: Sample Frequently Bought Together Recommendation
Steps to Implement (Overview)
- Install SXP 9 and SXC9
- Install our SXC plugins to export catalog and transactions data
- Install our SXC plugin to get recommendations data from the Commerce Engine
- Set up and Train the Brain (Recommendations Solutions in Azure)
- Wire up your storefront to use our plugins to display the recommendations
Install our SXC plugins to export catalog and transactions data
Two things we need from our Commerce data, our product catalog and our sales transactions. Fortunately, we have the tools to make it easier.
- Catalog to CSV Exporter for SXC9
- Order Transactions to CSV Exporter for SXC9
Figure 4: Sample Catalog CSV Export
Install our SXC plugin to get recommendations data from the Commerce Engine
This enables our storefront to get product recommendations data to display to our customers.
- Recommendations Solution Connector for SXC9
Set up and Train the Brain (Recommendations Solutions in Azure)
This is where we train our brain. We are using an existing Azure solution as our recommender system. Yes, it’s a black box but it works.
- Set-up the Azure-based recommender system (Recommendations Solutions)
- Upload catalog and usage events data exported from a previous step
- Train your models for different types of recommendation including:
- Item to Item
- User to Item
- Frequently Bought Together
Figure 5: Overview of Recommendations Solution in Azure
Figure 6: API to interact with our models
Wiring Up the Front-End
Now that we have the backend ready, now it’s time to show the recommendations on the storefront
- Add SXC9 Smart Recommendations Widget to your page
- Add configuration for your Azure models
Figure 7: Sample recommendations from our recommender system
Test It Out!
We prepared a video during our talk to showcase the items in action so I think it would just be as good to show it here. Enjoy!
<iframe width="600" height="400" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CIw2rQriimc" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture"></iframe>
Figure 5: Demo Video
- Machine Learning and AI is here and is here to stay.
- Smart Product Recommendations has shown to be effective in increasing sales and revenues by increasing product visibility and personalized shopping experience (Amazon)
- Adding Smart Product Recommendations can be easy and cost-effective
- Smart Sitecore Commerce Storefronts are the next stage of evolution
Note: This topic was presented during Sitecore Symposium 2018 in Orlando, FL with Sitecore Commerce MVP Kautilya Prasad.