Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Not satisfied with Amazon’s recommendations for you? You can make them better.
As you keep browsing and buying products on Amazon, it takes note of your choices and begins to display similar products that might interest you.
You’ll see Amazon’s recommendations for you in quite a few places on the website. Under Recommendations for you in… and Related to items you have viewed on the homepage, for starters. Under Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations on every category page. You’ll also see them under Recommendations for You at the bottom of the homepage.
Everywhere you turn, Amazon is holding up a placard in your face telling you what to buy next.
If you disagree with Amazon’s recommendations, you can improve them — and we’ll show you how! It’s one of those amazing Amazon shopping tips you probably haven’t discovered yet.
Accessing Your Amazon Store
Amazon’s homepage displays a combination of the latest products and the most popular ones across the website. When you’re logged in, you’ll also see recommendations tailored for you on this page. But the contents of the homepage are what everyone sees when they visit Amazon.com, meaning they’re not exclusive to you.
To see the highlights of your account only, you have to visit your store page. To do that, click on the Your Amazon.com link below the search box on any Amazon page and sign in at the prompt. If you’re already logged in, the link text will be different.
For example, I see Akshata’s Amazon.com instead of Your Amazon.com when I’m logged in.
Now that you’re on the store page, you get a secondary navigation bar that gives you a few extra options. Let’s call it the menu bar for the rest of this article.
Delete Amazon Searches and Turn Off Browsing History
The products you view while browsing the store influence what Amazon picks out for you, so it makes sense to edit your browsing history from time to time to get better recommendations.
If you’re browsing Amazon.com, you’ll find a Browsing History link right beneath the search box. Hover the cursor over that link to reveal a carousel of your searches. To delete search items from this section, hover over the tiny orange circle below an item and click on the Remove button that shows up.
The carousel displays only a few of your latest searches. If you want to go further back in your Amazon history, click on the View and Edit link at the top of the carousel. This takes you to your Browsing history page, where you can delete any search item by clicking on its Remove button. If you want Amazon to recommend more products based on a search item, click on its More like this button instead.
Want to clear your entire browsing history in one shot? First look for the Manage history link on the right just above the product grid and click on it.
You should now see a Remove all items button that you can use to get rid of all the items you have viewed so far. There’s also a Turn Browsing History on/off slider there in case you want Amazon to stop logging your searches or re-enable logging later on.
Let’s say you’re browsing a country-specific Amazon site, such as Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.in. In this case also, you have to visit your browsing history page to get rid of your searches or turn off browsing history. But how you can access that page is different. You can’t use the Browsing History carousel we mentioned above because there isn’t one for these sites. You’ll have to click on Your Browsing History in the menu bar.
You can also access the browsing history page via Your Account > Personalization > Personalized Content.
Records of Items You Have Purchased
Removing purchased items from your browsing history does not make them disappear from your account. They’ll still show up under Your Account > Your Orders. The same goes for items you have deleted from your Kindle library via Your Account > Manage Content and Device Settings > Your Content.
How to Get Better Recommendations
You can view and manage recommendations from quite a few places on the Amazon website, but you don’t need to bother with them all. They all seem to lead to one of three primary locations, which we’ll explore next.
1. Your Amazon.com
Remember the store page we showed you how to access a couple of sections above? Your Amazon.com is that page, and you can also access it from Your Account > Your Recommendations. To identify the page, look for the text Recommended for You, Your_Name at the top.
This store page splits recommendations into various (not always accurate) categories and displays them as a grid. Click on any of the huge thumbnails in this section and you’ll see recommendations for that category in a collapsible box.
If you like any of the products listed, hover over it and click on the More like this button to see similar items in a popup right away. You can also click on the View All & Manage link at the top of the box instead. This brings you to a page where you can view and manage all recommendations in that category.
Don’t like a particular recommendation? Move the Edit Recommendations slider above the grid to the right. Now you should be able to see a Remove button for each item in the grid. Click on it to zap any recommendation you find irrelevant.
2. Recommended for You
This page comes up when you click on Recommended for You in the menu bar. It displays recommendations based on a combination of items you own, top-selling items, and new releases. You can filter recommendations by category from the sidebar.
Do you already own one of the recommended items? Or are you not interested in it at all? You can tell Amazon as much by selecting the appropriate checkbox for that item.
At the bottom of each item, you’ll see which of your purchases triggered the recommendation. If you don’t want to use the purchased item as the basis for future product suggestions, click on the tiny Fix this link given next to its name.
In the window that pops up, select the Don’t use for recommendations checkbox, as shown below.
Managing recommendation sources one by one as we just described is okay if you’re doing it for a couple of items or so. For bulk editing recommendations, there’s a better way, as we’ll see next.
3. Improve Your Recommendations
This page shows up when you click on Improve Your Recommendations in the menu bar and it lists all the items you have purchased. For each item in this section, you’ll see a Don’t use for recommendations checkbox. Select it for every item that you don’t want Amazon to base its recommended picks on. While you’re at it, you might also want to rate items and/or mark them as gifts.
You can also access sections #2 and #3 from Your Account > Personalizations > Recommendations.
See More of What You Like on Amazon
What Amazon recommends is useful only half the time. The other half of the time it gets in the way. For example, after you have purchased a certain product and don’t need any more like it. Or when you don’t want to see suggestions based on embarrassing searches or accidental product clicks.
No matter why you want to manipulate your browsing history and recommendations on Amazon, you get to do so. With a few caveats thrown in, of course.
Are Amazon’s recommendations just the kind you want to see or do you wish they were better? Tell us whether you like what Amazon rustles up for you.