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AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON using purchase history to make product recommendations - This application seeks to patent the idea of...Recommending products to customers based on their online purchase history and their offline purchase history! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 1/24/2013 that discusses:

  • Recommending products based on combining customer online and offline purchase history

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

EXTRA CREDIT - sending the product recommendation as a geographic map of other customers in a vicinity of the customer who have purchased a similar product

TITLE: Product recommendations based on online/offline purchasing history

Summary: [Translated from Legalese into English] A method for generating a product recommendation based on combining online and in-store purchase history for customer.

  • Publication Number: US20130204737 A1
  • Application Number: US 13/749,355
  • Assignee:
  • Prior Art Date: Seeking prior Art predating 1/24/2013
  • Open for Challenge at USPTO: Open through 2/4/2014
  • Link to Google Prior Art Search - "Find Prior Art"

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method, comprising:

  1. Receiving a request for a product recommendation for a customer; and

  2. Generating the product recommendation based on a purchase history for the customer that comprises in-store purchases from one or more brick and mortar stores and online purchases from one or more online stores.

In English this means:

A method for generating product recommendations:

  1. Some process requests a product recommendation for a customer;

  2. Generate product recommendation based on purchase history for same customer using information from both his in-store purchases and his online purchases

Good prior art would be evidence of a system that did each and every one of these steps prior to 1/24/2013

You're probably aware of ten pieces of art that meet this criteria already... separately, the applicant is claiming sending the product recommendation as a geographic map of other customers in a vicinity of the customer who have purchased a similar product


"Combining online and offline purchase history to create product recommendation from the Applicant"


What is good prior art? Please see our FAQ.

Want to help? Please vote or comment on submissions below. We welcome you to post your own request for prior art on other questionable US Patent Applications.


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Posting this as a comment, because it's a starting point and not actually an answer :/. This looks promising (from 2008!) but it's behind a paywall: gartner.com/id=708813. And, it looks like Barnes & Noble did something similar in 2012: mattacurtis.com/you-may-also-like (<-- a personal blog). –  Chris Laplante Sep 14 '13 at 3:41
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3 Answers 3

Well, I know Best Buy does this, and has for quite some time. They've tied my offline and online purchase history together with my Best Buy Rewards Zone card. They throw away orders that are too old? But I have an online order in my system as old as November 2011.

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LEGO does this as well. From their Privacy Policy page:

"LEGO VIP Program

If you are 13 years or older (age limitation may vary by country), you can join our LEGO VIP Program in physical LEGO Brand Retail Stores, online via LEGO Shop at Home, by phone via the LEGO Consumer Services Center, or through LEGO events offered by the VIP program. If you sign up in a store or by phone, you will be required to subsequently visit VIP.LEGO.com/Register to finalize the sign-up process online. We will process personal data such as your first and last name, address details, phone number, cell phone number (optional), email address, credit card or other payment information, LEGO ID username and password, date of birth and gender. We will also process information about your purchases with us (online and offline), marketing preferences and your use of LEGO.com related websites. We use your personal data to send you regular email newsletters, to send you marketing offers (if you opt-in) via catalogues, emails and text messages, to analyze customer behavior and to customize our LEGO VIP Program communication with you. We will also use your personal data to update your profile periodically to ensure that we have the most accurate personal data available."

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This is really quite bogus. From a technical standpoint there is no difference between a physical location and a website. The information is being put into the exact same database via an electronic connection.

They might just as well be trying to patent using a computer to access a database to store customer history. There is no material difference between the access from the physical store's computer and the access from internet accessible store's computer.

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