Are recommendations really helpful? A brief non-technical discussion

Many times I had the opportunity to answer the question: “Are recommendations so important for my B2C service?”. Every time, my answer was the same: “It depends”. Clearly, I don’t want to be vague just to avoid the question, but the reality is much more complex than any mathematical model (and when a model gets closer to the reality, it becomes intractable). Recommendations are an example of these scenarios. Nowadays, the smallest online store has many more products than the largest physical store. Moreover, the number of website selling products is increasing, even if the largest companies continue trying to establish monopolies in almost any country. If we add all the B2C services that provide specific pieces of information (e.g. hotels, movies, bars, and so on), the number of possibilities becomes extremely high. Suppose to have dozens of T-shirts. They are all clean are ready to use. You wake up […]