Bol.com is an online retail store that sells a multitude of different products ranging from electronic goods to books and lawn products to animal food. Besides its very wide variety of products, Bol.com is also very well known for its product recommendation system.
For example: when I go on the website and search for a new PlayStation controller, the website immediately recommends other products, like a charging system or a camera. This generates a lot of value for the consumer, because it helps consumers find products they perhaps didn`t even realized could benefit them more than the product they were searching for in the first instance.
However, Bol.com doesn`t stop there. When people buy a product, very often after some time has gone by they will receive an email from Bol.com similar to the email below.
This email basically says: you bought this product from us and will therefore probably also like this other product that looks like it. I personally really like this approach, because it shows the customer Bol.com is still very much committed to them even after they have made a purchase. The reason why recommendation systems work very well is because they make recommendations to consumers based on items they have previously bought our previously have searched for. Like in the Bol.com example, if you have bought a book from a certain author and this author comes out with a new book, you will be more inclined to buy it because you obviously have an interest in his work. Furthermore, nowadays it’s very common to receive hundreds of emails, after signing up for a company newsletter or having made just one single purchase, in which companies announce they are having a sale. The problem is that these emails are sent to the masses which means that consumers will receive information about products that they are absolutely not interested in. A fourteen year old student who receives an email for a sale on baby products is a good example of this kind of random messaging. This kind of promotion is considered very annoying by consumers, because it makes them feel that the company doesn`t care about their needs and that it just wants to force as many products on them as they can. Personal recommendations have a far better effect in generating positive customer experiences, because companies are looking at what the individual customer wants. People are less likely to be annoyed by an email if it suggests products based on what they have previously purchased, which is something that Bol.com does very well. Granted, in the case of Bol.com they also very often send emails to consumers promoting products that the customer has shown no interest in. However, compared to other companies I must say that at least they don`t shower you with them.
Bol.com also employs customer recommendations as a means to generate trust. People are able to not only purchase products from Bol.com, but also from other consumers. What I really like about their system is that people can not only review products, but also other consumers. Consumers will trust a person a lot faster if they have evidence from other consumers that the person is trustworthy.