Teachable Tips: Using Associated Products / Related Products

by Bob Kusnetz on 10/05/2012

We get a number of questions about how developers use different API attributes to enhance their customers’ experience when they are searching for a product.

When ready to purchase a certain item (the “hero product”), your customer may also be interested in:

  • The hero product’s accessories [accessories]
  • Products related to the hero product [relatedProducts]
  • Products other customers frequently purchase along with the hero product [frequentlyPurchasedWith]

Let’s use the following laptop as an example (this laptop is the “hero product” your customer in interested in purchasing). First, let’s see what you find on BESTBUY.COM: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell+-+Inspiron+14%26%2334%3B+Laptop+-+6GB+Memory+-+500GB+Hard+Drive+-+Diamond+Black/4590137.p?id=1218493899434&skuId=4590137&st=4590137&cp=1&lp=1

As you can see, the BESTBUY.COM product detail page includes two sets of products that complement the hero product:

  • Accessories for this laptop are listed in the “Accessories” tab.
  • Products related to the laptop are listed on the right side of the page, under the heading “Related Products”.

Note: While you may see overlap between accessories and related products, accessories are items that help you use the hero product, while related products might include up-sell or down-sell products. In this case, one related product is a similar laptop with a larger hard drive. For a high-end TV, related products might include a less expensive TV with fewer HDMI inputs. Sure, you’d rather sell the high-priced TV, but if your customer is hesitating because of the price, the “related” TV just might make the sale!

Before we leave the web site, let’s take a look at products that customers frequently purchase with this laptop. These products show up in a pop-up window during the checkout process.

OK, now let’s see what this looks like in the API. Actually, it’s quite simple. Once you know the sku of the customer’s hero product, you can use the following query.

<products currentPage="1" totalPages="1" from="1" to="1" total="1"...>
<name>Dell - Inspiron 14" Laptop - 6GB Memory - 500GB Hard Drive - Diamond Black</name>