Thanks to a modern-day shift of consumers who are spending less and less time in physical stores and more and more time shopping online, many processes that traditionally influenced the sales process are disappearing. Where salespeople once served customers by recommending products based on what was already in the cart, in a digital sense this has begun to shape up into product relationships. Product relations in e-commerce have multiple functions, first it responds to a desire for personalization that is extremely important for today’s consumers with regard to facilitating a pleasant customer experience. Furthermore, product relations obviously play a role for your company in terms of cross-selling, which ultimately results in increased turnover and overall sales.

This article will further explain and elaborate on the importance of product relations by looking at the different ways in which product relations are established. By looking at product relationships in different ways in this article, an attempt is made to not only highlight the importance of product relationships, but more importantly the gain that product relationships can provide for you and your customers.

Product variants
Variants of a product often result from the same product but in a different version. Reasons for this vary enormously. For example, the same product may appeal to different target groups, each with their own use case. By creating product variants, these variants better cater to the different (sub-) target groups that use the same product. However, product variants do not only have to differ per user target group, these variants can also simply be linked to different budgets. By including variants in different price ranges, you do not exclude anyone from purchasing a product. However, pay attention to whether this is desirable or whether exclusivity is part of a brand or product experience. In line with product relations, establishing links between products and their respective variants means a greater chance of a consumer being triggered by a variant that is more in line with his or her unique buying motives.

Comparable alternatives
Alternatives to a product are products that perform the same, or a similar function for a user as the original product without being of the same brand or manufacturer. Paint is a great example of this as paint vastly differentiates based on colour, brand, and gloss. Its use however, remains the same, as paint will always be used for painting. For many businesses in e-commerce who carry different brands, the most important thing is not so much which brand is bought, but that products are being bought, period. By offering alternatives and establishing relationships between a product and other products of a different brand that may fill the same need, customers are less likely to churn away from a purchase when a product does not directly meet their needs or budget.

Product accessories
Accessories of products are there to give customers the opportunity to optimize their user experience or even extend it to an entirely new use case. Especially products that have inherently modular features and characteristics benefit from offering accessories due to their flexible nature and adaptability. The more specific the relationship between an accessory and a particular product, the more likely it is that this relationship will be recognized by consumers as altruism rather than commercial interest. Thus, establishing a relationship between products and product accessories provides consumers with a service that aims to improve or extend their user experience, ultimately facilitating an increase in sales and turnover as a result. Said relationships between products can be achieved manually, by simply trying to identify with your customers, imagining and creating a product relation between a screwdriver and screws is a great example of manually establishing product relationships. Furthermore, product relationships can also be created by pointing out overlapping product features. A good example of this would be a red sofa being related to a red coffee table based on the simple fact that there’s an overlapping product feature in terms of colour.

Product families
Product families refer to a collection of products which are sold together under an umbrella brand. By placing different products within the same product family, each product benefits from the fact that brand values are transferred to it, a good brand name and brand loyalty are two variables which can contribute to this effect. This concept often takes shape within foods, Bertolli could easily launch a new pasta sauce by simply marketing it within the existing Bertolli product family. This instantly allows said pasta sauce to instantly profit off of any existing, positive brand associations. Within a product family, each individual product may fulfil a different function for a consumer, however, there may be products within a product family that fit together or can be paired to facilitate an entirely different use. By highlighting product relationships between products within a product family, a good brand name can be leveraged into facilitating the sale of other products which are not initially in line with the original buyer motives of a consumer.

Product lines
The idea of a product line is related to that of a product family, but – aside from an overlap in brand name – displays an overlap in intended use as well. For example, skin care product lines are known for containing different products which are not at all interchangeable in terms of use. For companies it is often interesting to expand existing, well-received product lines with new and uncertain products in terms of commercial success, thus using the associative network of a successful product line to help consumers validate the value proposition of new products. With respect to product relationships, establishing a link between products within the same product line provides more leeway and margin for cross-selling of products that do not necessarily much match a consumer’s user needs but thanks to the existence of a product line are still included in the buyer’s consideration phase.

As this article has shown, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to product relationships within e-commerce. By being aware of the different types of product relations and their individual advantages, a company can determine which type(s) of product relations are most in line with their company’s mission, vision, and goals. This realization and consideration – along with a successful implementation –not only imply an increase in sales, but also an increase in positive customer experiences thanks to a personalized approach during their online purchases.

One can imagine that implementing product relationships can be rather complex and time-consuming, especially when dealing with a product range that is not only extensive, but also diverse. Even if this were to be done manually, it becomes a hopeless task to automate this in a way that accounts for future expansions. completely removes all these obstacles to detecting and implementing product relationships by using AI to automatically detect meaningful product relationships.’s algorithm can automatically detect product variants, alternative products or accessories to provide customers with an optimal online purchasing experience. In addition, research has shown that users of have been able to increase their sales by as much as 4.9%. not only saves time and money, but it has also been designed in a way that requires no programming knowledge at all, allowing to be adopted company wide.

Has this article made you curious about the ways in which can help your company? Please contact us using the form below and we will discuss the best ways in which is best suited to serve your company.