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2. Use Cases

There are many different use cases where recommendations can be used. The most common ones are located in the e-commerce and publishing industries.


E-commerce recommendations can be very powerful to help customers find what they're looking for. If a user is not sure about what to buy, recommendations can be used to show similar, alternative or complementary products. Some typical use cases are:

  • On the landing page the current bestsellers ('Hot Sellers') are shown to every customer.
  • A detail page displays the products that were bought by others ('What other customers bought') or have been frequently bought together (e.g. this TV and a HDMI cable).
  • The shopping cart page shows recommendations ('Related to your shopping cart') matching the products in the cart.
  • On a category page, bestsellers of the current category are shown.
  • Additionally on the landing page and on the detail page a recommendation bar could be placed to show personalized recommendation (based on their latest profile information) for the current user.

Landing page

Detail page

Shopping basket

In the pictures above each recommendation box presents a scenario. Scenarios are configurations that define what kind of recommendations should be delivered. More can be read under 8. Scenarios


Recommendation and Personalization in the publishing business provide indirect value by keeping users on the website. Unlike in the e-commerce business, publishers often do not sell content, it is provided for free and cross-financed by advertisement. Increasing the CTR (click-through-rate) and adding value generated by advertisement is one of the drivers in the publishing business. Use cases for placing recommendations are straightforward:

  • On the landing page, the most read content is presented.
  • On every category page, the most popular content in the current category is shown.
  • On every content page, the related content is shown.