Using DARWIN with Oberlo to Increase Cross Sales and Cart Value, Pt. 4

Cross Sales and Product Recommendations with DARWIN

DARWIN is free to try, fast to launch, and full of outstanding features.

Editor’s Note: Ready to install DARWIN and want to skip the explanation? Scroll to the end of this article for the quick step-by-step illustrated in the animation above!

We mentioned in the opening of this series that three primary strengths are paramount for success in dropshipping: inventory, in-shop sales strategy, and inbound marketing.

DARWIN’s role in your site is as every customer’s perfect personal shopper, showing them items they’re most likely to check out with based on where they came from, what they’ve viewed on your site, and how similar they are to other customers.

Inbound marketing — the means by which you drive new and returning customers to your site — spans topics ranging from email list management, backlink-building and SEO, PPC and Social Advertising and more (HubSpot covers it well here: What is Inbound Marketing?). We won’t cover that in this series but it goes without saying that if you’re interesting in ramping up your dropshipping business, inbound marketing is a requirement.

Inventory—what you sell and how you fulfill those orders — was covered in depth in the previous installment of this series (miss it? Check it out here) using Shopify’s Oberlo app. We’re big fans of Oberlo to get a shop up and running, but if you already have a dropshipping operation set up, you can stick with what works for you. The important thing is that 1. you have something to sell and 2. you can get those sales shipped to your customers predictably and effectively. You’ll want to have that lined up before you add a bit more fuel to the fire with your…

In-shop sales strategy — this is where DARWIN comes into play.

Introducing DARWIN

What is DARWIN and why do I need it on my store?

DARWIN is a leading Machine Learning for eCommerce application for all consumers of any skill or budget level.

Machine Learning is the science of putting enormous sets of data — in our case, in-store user interactions and how users create relationships between your store’s products — to work to meet business goals. While DARWIN does this in a number of ways, the easiest way to think of DARWIN’s role in your site is as every customer’s perfect personal shopper, showing them items they’re most likely to check out with based on where they came from, what they’ve viewed on your site, and how similar they are to other customers. The ‘enormous sets of data’ is covered by Machine, and Learning references the fact that every interaction perfects the system more and more, so the system continues to learn how best to sell your products.

That’s what it is — but why is it so effective for dropshipping stores? Dropshipping stores in particular trends towards a few common types:

  • Shops with large inventories spanning a variety of product types, curated by owner (the owner selects items specifically by theme or personal affinity)
  • Shops with large inventories spanning a variety of product types, curated by trends (inventory is selected on market or seasonal trends, regardless of the owner’s personal affinity)
  • Shops with specific inventories targeting a niche market, like after-market parts for repair or items themed for a specific hobby

So, inventory volume, consumer preference, consumer expertise, and a potential lack of expertise on the part of the shop owner about their own inventory play into in-shop sales strategy.

In-shop sales strategy is the art and science of increasing a shopper’s cart volume by a certain percent — in other words, using in-store promotion of products and incentives to encourage shoppers to check out with more items for a greater value than they would have on their own.

Most in-shop sales strategy relies on two things: assumptions made by the shop owner, and simple taxonomic relationships between products (e.g. products that share the same category or collection). The deficiencies with these approaches can be summed up with one sentence: your shoppers have more complicated motivations than you might think.

For instance, if all suggestions are based on a product type, the store may recommend more pairs of socks to someone already purchasing socks. But what if that person is trying to buy a few items based on a theme (like a cartoon character on the socks) that cut across different product taxonomies? They might want Bugs Bunny socks, a Bugs Bunny Notebook, and a Looney Toons DVD as a gift bundle. The only indication of a relationship between these products might be their name or product copy — which is why a Recommendation Engine like DARWIN’s that uses all product copy to create sets and patterns for consumers is invaluable.

In addition, a shop owner’s bias about their inventory — or lack of a deep understanding of it (many dropshippers sell inventory outside of their interests purely because of the market appeal for a product type) — can encourage product groupings that cut against actual buyer intentions. By distracting consumers with unoptimized product sets, shop owners may actually interfere with more natural purchase pathways a consumer may adopt. DARWIN observes all user interactions and uses that data to product better conclusions about user types and their likely behavior in a store to create the most statistically valuable recommendations for each visitor.

Long story short, DARWIN gets good at what it does by observing user data and generating solutions based on that data — and constantly improves its ability to do so by watching ever user interaction.

With a store stocked with Oberlo inventory, the next natural step is to have DARWIN take over in-shop sales strategy to produce more Cross Sales through Product Recommendations. So, let’s get started!

Installing DARWIN on your Shopify Store

  • To install DARWIN, visit the Shopify App Store and search for DARWIN. You can find the App Store through your Shopify Admin (see Part 3 for how we installed Oberlo).
  • After looking through the benefits and features of DARWIN, click the Get App button on the top right of the screen.
  • On the App Authorization Page that opens, click the install app button and you will be taken to your customized DARWIN Dashboard.

Once DARWIN is installed on your site, it will start scanning all product copy to begin generating Visitor Profiles. It will also begin recording cart activity and, if you activate the Recommendation Widget (you should!), recommendation activity and revenue generated through recommended product transactions. For a deeper dive into the first few minutes setting up DARWIN, check out our easy guide here:

And you are set! Congratulations, you now have the best combination of eCommerce applications for your shop for dropshipping.

For more information on dropshipping strategies, visit forums like

Have any questions about how DARWIN can work for your site, even if you’re not a dropshipper or an Oberlo user? Contact us at!