It's not uncommon for websites, especially ecommerce sites, to follow a particular guided selling pattern. There's usually a homepage, a category of landing pages, a search page with several search filters, and product pages.
In this set up, users can either browse through a specific category to find what they are looking for or use the search input and browse through the search results. This often means the site user has to go through several pages reach to desired product.
This process can be tiring; thankfully, merchants and ecommerce site owners are constantly on their toes improving their sites with the addition of new features such as predictive searching and subject-specific search categories. However, this model still requires the customers to find the products themselves though a catalogue of filter options.
When you think about it, this process is not unlike shopping in a physical store. The store is arranged with products laid out in categories, depending on customer preferences and any marketing campaigns in place. Customers then browse through the 'catalogue' to make their buying decision.
While this process is successful in many sectors such as supermarkets, it isn't as practical in others where the support of sales assistants is required. For example, when buying furniture, computers, makeup, or other technical products. These personnel are crucial in helping the customer make an informed buying decision. The in-store assistant is trained to ask relevant questions that help the customers narrow down their product selection. This is often a win-win situation for both the store owner and the customer.
Is guided selling a must have?
No doubt, technology has revolutionised our world – in every way possible, and there is no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. In the ecommerce sector, there has been the call for personalized digital experiences, so it is no surprise that many retailers and brands are looking towards guided selling.
Imagine you are buying a new mattress. You need to decide whether you want pocket springs, traditional springs, memory foam, or a mixture of all. How much do you want to pay? How firm should the mattress be? If you are buying your mattress in-store, a trained sales assistant would guide you through the buying decision. This decision gets harder as the number of manufacturers increases. So, any tools that aid the buying decision-making process are to be encouraged.
Easy shopping is a concept business owners must embrace if they want to survive and thrive in this competitive market. It is now a must-have feature if you want to attract visitors and convert them into paying customers.
Imagine what would happen to your investments if the investment software did include chatbots to guide your seg funds investments. Not only would the process be messy, but you could lose a lot of money. Guided selling has the potential to convince the prospect that a product is right and convert them into a buyer with minimal human interaction.
When planning to integrate guided selling, you should remember that not all options will provide you with what you need. Some solutions don't deliver what they intend to do, so you should carefully consider the guided selling examples available to you, ensure you select one that will make choosing the right product less complicated and speed up the sale process.
Actionable steps that guarantee guided selling solution success
Any guided selling solution should support your customer's decision-making process, improving the customer's experience, converting more sales and speeding up the sales process. To make sure you implement the right solutions you need to:
1. Prepare your environment
The first thing you need to do to guarantee success is to involve your team. You cannot implement a guided selling solution without involving your team – UX designers, data managers, marketers etc. Share perspectives from across the business to come up with strategies that will help you create a compelling, guided selling solution. You will also need consistent and complete product data. This will help you provide visitors with accurate and relevant information when they make their buying decisions.
2. Develop a proven guided selling solution
When developing your guided selling solution, you need to understand who you will be advising. Do have a clear understanding of the users or visitors you will be advising? You need to know who they are, why they would want to use the solution, the exact type of solution they need, and their level of experience. You also need to keep a clear understanding of what the guided selling solution should do for your brand front of mind.
Once you have got to grips with that, you need to carry out thorough research. You might have to involve category experts, but you will need to research external blogs, user reviews, forums, and analyse existing users' data to understand what your visitors want and care about. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors and come up with relevant questions to ask.
Next, create a list of questions and paths. Your aim is to list the questions that will guide customers to the exact product that will meet their needs. You can start with broad questions and narrow it down until you have the right set of products that can choose from.
3. Design the UX and interaction flow
It is not enough that you ask the right questions in the correct order; your user experience must also be top-notch. That way, users are not discouraged from answering your questions and buying from you. So, employ professionals that will ensure that the general design and navigation is simple.
4. Test, analyse and promote
Once you have finished designing and incorporating your questions, you need to ensure you haven't forgotten any key detail. To do this effectively, you have to test, test, and test again. It is fine if you don't get the process 100% right the first time. It is an iterative and evolving process and you can always improve it. However, you need to be sure it's right before you go live.
You might consider using A/B testing. Over time you will get a better understanding of which process your visitors prefer. You can stick with the one that brings in the best results. Remember, customer behaviour changes over time so you need to remain vigilant to stay ahead of the game.
Products that get shared or promoted gets used and bought. So, do the same with your guided selling solution. Put the advisor in strategic locations on your website and even promote it on social media platforms like Facebook.
Four amazing guided selling examples
1. Android Which Phone
If you're interested in simplifying a complicated product range, Google's Android OS phone finder is an outstanding tool. All users have to do is select the features they want from a mobile phone from a range of specifications. Rather than selecting a phone by its technical capabilities, users narrow down the options by selecting what they expect to use the device for – for instance, camera or gaming capabilities.
Users are then left with a few phones that meet their requirements and can choose from the list. The process also helps users to learn about phones, key product features, and capabilities.
2. Sport Bra Guide – Victoria's Secret
Victoria's Secret's Sport Bra Guide is another amazing guided selling example. Like the Android Which Phone, it provides results based on users' suitability and preference.
The first process here is "The Fit Quiz." It is a virtual bra fitter that aims to recommend the best bra based on users' dimensions. After then, users get to select their preferred additional product requirements, including bra colour, strap design, and so much more. In the end, users have a tailored range of products that perfectly match what they intended to buy, and they can shop instantly.
3. Beauty Insider – Sephora
Based on a simple understanding of customers' needs, Sephora's beauty insider delivers relevant product suggestions. To use the tool, users have to select from a range of characteristics, including hair colour, skincare and hair issues.
Beauty insider relies on beauty experts to help users choose the products that best suit their needs. Sephora also collects users' information and uses it for future reference. That way, it can turn visitors into paying customers.
4. Style Quiz – Topshop
Topshop's Style Quiz is another great guided selling tool. The tool uses preference data collected during quizzes to deliver a wardrobe for users. It presents items in a catalogue style to make products more shoppable and relevant to specific users.
Topshop also uses the tool to deliver relevant information through email marketing. It delivers personalized content to users' email boxes based on the user's personality.
The relevance and importance of guided selling in today's market cannot be overemphasized. Not only are retailers and businesses using it to stay ahead of their competitors, but they are also using it to deliver easy shopping to visitors, to simplify the buying process and implement future marketing activity.
However, retailers should think carefully before implementing a solution. Make sure it only asks relevant questions and remember, while the aim is to make sales, the main aim of your tool should be to make the buying process as easy as possible for your customers.
Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Jake Stainer of Outreach Humans