How to Enhance Product Recommendations with Shopify Scripts


As an e-commerce merchant, one of your highest priorities should be building lasting and trusting relationships with your customers. In order to do that, you need to be able to anticipate their needs and continuously provide value through well-timed offers and user experiences that feel personalized. If you do this effectively, you will be rewarded with their loyalty and maybe even brand ambassadorship. There’s no easy recipe for success when it comes building this type of relationship with your customers. But if you’re an online merchant selling on the Shopify Plus platform, you can use the power of Shopify Scripts to automate compelling promotional offers within the shopping cart that will help you drive sales and improve shopper satisfaction. Here are some examples of the promotional opportunities Shopify Scripts has to offer:

  1. Free shipping
  2. Minimum ($) threshold discounts
  3. Tiered pricing discounts
  4. Quick discounts
  5. Product bundling discounts

TL;DR — If you’re a Shopify Plus merchant looking to take your product recommendations to the next level, scroll to the end and we’ll link you to a free script generator tool for Shopify Plus. The rest of the article describes how you can use Shopify Scripts to power your product discounts and promotional offers.

The State of E-commerce

Online shopping has come a long way over the past several decades. It was not so long ago that browsing an e-commerce store was pretty much a self-directed endeavor, with product discovery left completely in the hands (and mouse) of the user. Like what you see? Great. Not so much? Well, we have other similar products, but it’s on you to go find them...Nice - it looks like you found an item you like! Need an accessory with that? It’s somewhere on the site, so if you keep looking you’ll (probably) find it eventually...And this is what online shopping looked like for basically every e-commerce site on the Internet. That is, until product recommendations and the ability to merchandise products more strategically became cornerstones for providing users with a high quality customer experience.

The state of e-commerce today makes it nearly impossible to decouple product recommendations from merchandising strategies. Cross-selling and up-selling are so ubiquitous that practically all e-commerce platforms - Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, etc. - offer some rudimentary version of it out-of-box. This is both great news and mediocre news; great news because the bar has been raised overall, but mediocre news because with the now level playing field merchants have to continue thinking of new ways to innovate in order to gain a competitive advantage. In short, standard product recommendations have lost most of their novelty amongst even the most novice of online shoppers.

So as a merchant looking to add value to your customer experience, sell through your inventory, and increase important sales metrics like average order value (AOV) and units per transaction (UPT), what do you do? You take a) a more precise approach to up-selling and cross-selling — timing is critical to a successful conversion — and b) you pair it with the right incentives that will nudge your users into action.

We’re going to focus this discussion on the latter point — pairing your product recommendations with the right incentives — but know that the timing component is an important one that must not be overlooked.

First and foremost, it’s on you as the merchant to do the hard work of combing through your store data and establishing a sound merchandising strategy. Consider what types of products often sell well together, which products are naturally complementary, and which products can be combined to create a good customer experience. Selling sneakers? Maybe try cross-selling a bottle of sneaker cleaner. Maybe it’s knitting supplies you’re selling. Try bundling several products together that will get the customer everything s/he needs to get started. It always makes sense to prioritize business needs when thinking about merchandising strategies, but don’t forget to provide your customers with the best possible experience buying from your store.

Okay, here’s where it gets tricky. Despite your best merchandising efforts — strategic cross-selling, up-selling, product bundling, etc. — customers may oftentimes still be completely uninterested in or unwilling to add extra items to their carts as they move through the conversion funnel. Enter the incentives. Incentives can come in various shapes and sizes, but we’ve found that the best performing ones when paired with downstream cross-sells and up-sells, i.e. in the Shopping Bag and Checkout are: free shipping, minimum cart value threshold discounts, tiered pricing discounts, quick (and simple) discounts, and product bundling discounts. Quick note: Although the general concepts referenced in the remainder of this post apply to merchants operating on e-commerce platforms other than Shopify Plus, the specific techniques suggested apply exclusively to stores on Shopify Plus as Shopify Scripts are used as the primary reference for executing the sales techniques. Shopify Scripts is currently a feature only accessible to Shopify Plus merchants.

Now let’s talk shop.

1. Free Shipping

Example: Buy $X worth of product, and get free shipping

By now, if you’re a moderately successful e-commerce company, you should’ve at least heard of, if not already experimented with free shipping as an incentive for shoppers. In order to effectively motivate users to add cross-sell or up-sell items using free shipping as the carrot, your business must be willing to offer free shipping beyond a certain cart value threshold. Once you’ve defined your cart value threshold for free shipping eligibility using Shopify Scripts, the next step is to set up your cross-sell and up-sell products on pages like the PDP and shopping cart so that it’s quick and easy for a customer to add a few more items to the cart. One thing to remember, the better your merchandising strategy, the more effective your promotion will also be - most customers will see that adding a low-cost item and receiving free shipping will basically be like getting an item for free, while opting out and paying for shipping will basically cost them the same total amount. Besides, no one likes to pay for shipping. Lastly, don’t forget that you’ll want to broadcast your free shipping promotion to customers so that they’re incentivized to shop lights out from the get go. Progress bars or other similar visual indicators tend to work really well.

2. Minimum ($) threshold discounts

Example: Buy $X worth of product, and get $Y (or Y%) off

Similar to the free shipping promotion, this type of offer utilizes Shopify Scripts to detect the user’s total shopping cart value before applying a percent or dollar amount discount (rather than free shipping), if applicable. Just make sure that you recommend up-sell and cross-sell products that, when combined with the parent product, have a total cart value that will surpass the threshold needed to receive a discount.

3. Tiered pricing discounts

There are two types of offers that can be executed using the tiered pricing discounts strategy:


1) Buy 1 get 1 for $X (or X%) off 2) Buy X quantity of a product, get $Y or (Y%) off

This type of promotion relies on users adding multiple quantities of the same product or product type to his or her shopping cart and receiving a discount, either percent or dollar amount, as a result. In addition to creating the script that will power the discount, you’ll have to set up the appropriate up-sell products on your Shopify theme pages, i.e. PDP and Shopping Cart that correspond to the multiple quantity discount offer you’re running. These tiered pricing discounts work particularly well with products that are habitually used, need frequent replacement or replenishment, and of which users are willing to purchase multiple quantities of e.g. socks, razorblades, etc..

4. Quick (and simple) discounts

Example: $X (or X%) off all products with tag Y

There wasn’t a great name for this type of promotion, so bear with us. This is probably the most straightforward type of discount you can apply to a user’s cart using Shopify scripts — you’d simply be discounting the same up-sell or cross-sell product that you featured on your PDP, shopping cart page, etc. based on how you tagged your products, and when the user adds the item to his or her shopping cart. The logic behind the script is simple enough, but the key, as it is with the other promotion types listed in the post, is in how you communicate the value proposition to the user when s/he is a few steps away from checking out. Make sure you’re thinking tactically about the best place to message your promotion as you consider where the user is in the funnel and what his or her mindset at that particular stage in the buying journey is.

5. Product bundling discounts

Example: Buy X, Y, and Z, get $W (or W%) off

Lastly, you can also create special promotions for your store that incentivize product bundling or grouping certain products together for purchase. This type of strategy is particularly well suited for merchants who offer a product catalog with a bevy of complementary items as they can readily take advantage of natural cross-selling opportunities. Take for example a merchant selling sneakers and sneaker cleaner— these two products are excellent complements and can fit nicely into the product bundling promotion. The merchant might want to show the sneaker cleaner product as a cross-sell when the user has the sneakers in his or her shopping cart, and offer a discount on orders that bundle the two together. After the user adds the sneaker cleaner to his or her cart, the script would execute the discount that you define in relation to the total cart value. You can, of course, extend the product bundling concept beyond just two products.

Final thoughts

Pro tip: For all the above promotional examples, make sure that you have adequate messaging at customer touch points further up the funnel so that you’re building awareness throughout the shopping journey.

With online shopping continuing its rapid growth in the age of face masks and social distancing, you’ll need to tap into different merchandising strategies and selling tactics to stay competitive. Shopify Plus is a robust e-commerce platform that enables merchants of all sizes to execute complex initiatives that relies upon world class technological infrastructure. With an expansive app ecosystem, you’ll be able to create custom experiences for your store, seamlessly, and often at a fraction of the cost and effort of a competing solution like Magento or BigCommerce.

And when it comes to cross-selling and up-selling solutions, give our app Order Bump a try today and start experimenting with Shopify scripts to create compelling offers that will boost your store’s average order value and units per transaction.

Have questions about Shopify Plus? Get in touch with us!

Check out this neat DIY Shopify scripts generator that can help you get started with creating discounts based on your store’s promotional needs.

For more information on Shopify scripts directly from Shopify’s documentation resources, check out this link.