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Getting Started

Getting started with Apptus Email Recommendations and the Email app is quick and easy. The first step is to verify that the prerequirements are met followed by a quick three-step base configuration.


App design and features are subject to change without notice. Screenshots, including simulated data visible, are for illustrative purposes only.


Apptus Email Recommendations and the Email app are available as add-ons for retailers using Apptus eSales Cloud.

To enable images of recommended products, product data entities in eSales should have an attribute specifying an image path. The path can be relative or absolute to the Image path prefix.

To enable links to recommended products from an email, products are required to have a URL attribute configured in eSales.

Retailer requirements

The following are requirements for a retailer's eSales configuration to enable Apptus Email Recommendations.

  • A data model where only one locale is present per market. Products can be present in either on one market or used as a master product.
  • A normal number of eSales customer keys, customerKey.
  • A normal ratio of eSales customer keys to session IDs.
  • Notifications are correctly set-up and used.
  • The Apptus eSales Admin app must be configured with correct image path prefixes and markets. All intended users of the Email app must have access set in the Admin app to both the Email app and the markets that the users will use Email Recommendations with.
  • An Email app user should be familiar with HTML and CSS syntax to create product templates. Mustache templates are used to enable inclusion of attributes from Apptus eSales.
  • The eSales cluster used by the retailer must be hosted in Europe. For cluster information, please contact Apptus Support.

A retailer must use an email service provider supporting technical requirements for utilising Apptus Email Recommendations.

Email service provider requirements

The email service provider must support the following requirements.

  • Dynamic timestamp for a generated email with a format supporting Unix epoch timestamp e.g. 1548423420, or ISO 8601, YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss with offset, ±hh:mm:ss or Z (UTC), e.g. 2020-12-08T09:30:00Z.
  • Support for customisable data to retrieve an eSales customerKey dynamically and create dynamic links with url parameters, e.g.{{message.sendtime}}&customer_key={{contact.esalescustomerkey}}.
  • Customisable email templates with variables/dynamic content modules.


Email Recommendations requires a base configuration before templates and campaigns can be created. The Configuration tab is only available to users with Email app Admin access. The default settings are used on all markets. Custom market settings can be configured for the product URL template and the exclude products filter.

Email Recommendations - Getting Started - Configuration tab

General settings

The general settings define the image path prefix, the product URL template, and the recommended image dimensions. The image path prefix should be the same as present in the Apptus eSales Admin app.

The product URL template describes the URL format to a product (and variant) on a retailers site. The product URL template uses Mustache to describe variables. The variable format is based on the attributes configured in eSales.

The recommendation image dimensions can be set to either Use original size or Scale where a fixed width and height will be the default.

Image path prefix

The image path prefix defines where the product images will fetched from. The image path prefix should be the same as present in the Apptus eSales Admin app.

Image path prefix examples{{product.product_market}}/images/{{product.product_market}}/images/

Product URL settings

A product URL template is required, as is a timestamp. A customer key can also be added as a variable to a product URL. The format of the variables are dependent on the template formatting of email service providers. The campaign ID from an email service provider can also be used.

Product URL template

The product URL template must be defined to correctly point to the product and variant. Variables are included by use of Mustache-tags together with product attributes.

If the exact attribute format is not known, it is recommended to leave them blank during the initial configuration. The product template editor can be used to retrieve the correct attribute format followed by an update to the product URL template.

Product URL template examples


The timestamp is a required URL parameter. It is used to ensure that new images will be generated when consecutive emails with the same template id have been sent to an end customer. The timestamp is based on UNIX epoch time.

Customer key

The customer key is used as a URL parameter to enable personalised recommendations. If omitted or no customer key is found, top selling products will be returned.

Use ESP campaign ID

An ESP campaign ID consists of a property name and a property placeholder based on the requirements from an email service provider. A retailer must verify with their Apptus contact that they can use an ESP campaign ID before adding a property name and property placeholder in the Email Recommendation settings.

The ESP campaign ID must change dynamically for each sent mail in a campaign. A campaign must be published with a timestamp before the ESP campaign ID can be used with it.

UTM tags configuration

Parameters for additional UTM tags can be configured to automatically be included in URLs.

Product exclusions

A global product exclusion can be set to always leave out a specified set of products in the recommendations. This feature is useful when certain products are not in season, for example winter clothing in the summer, or in general is deemed not desired for recommendations, such as products below a certain price range, gift cards, or spare parts.

The exclusion filtering is based on the existing product attributes in a retailer's eSales cluster and can have multiple rule sets, each with several exclusion layers of products. The global product exclusion will override any campaign product inclusions.

Email Recommendations - Getting Started - Excluded products

Email campaign template

A template for the whole email. It allows to set up CSS styles, iterate over blocks and product positions, and make conditions based on the blocks types. The template in the default configuration is optional and can be overwritten in the market configuration and in the campaign, as well as be reverted to when needed. For more information, see Email template preview and edit and Email template model.

Email Recommendations - Getting Started - Email Campaign Template

Update configuration

The configuration can be updated at any time. The new configuration will be applied within 5-10 minutes. Be aware that changes will affect active campaigns. Already opened emails will not change the product set, but product URL's will lead to a different location if the product URL template is changed.

Last update: October 8, 2021
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