Feeling overwhelmed is a common problem for ecommerce shoppers. There are too many websites, too many products, too many brands, and it can be hard to sort through everything. Your customers (or potential customers) are likely feeling this way on some level. As ecommerce continually evolves, it’s crucial for brands to understand their customers’ problems, as well as how to address them. In short, customers want good customer service, a personalized shopping experience, and of course, quality products that fit their needs. While there are many ways to accomplish this, there is one way giving brands a lot of success: guided selling.
Guided selling involves asking customers a series of questions about products and/or uses for products, all with the goal of producing a personalized product recommendation. Software takes into consideration customer’s responses and, based on available products, determines the best product to fit the customer’s needs. With guided selling, you are helping your customers make informed decisions by asking relevant questions and providing necessary information. Instead of being overwhelmed by a variety of choices, a customer receives a personalized recommendation based on what they wanted.
Guided selling will help your brand in a variety of areas. Here are 5 areas you can expect to see improvement in with the help of guided selling.
Increase conversion rates
Guided selling will help you boost conversion rates by providing products to your customers that will benefit their specific needs. If you sell a variety of products, you risk customers not finding the product that is best for them. You might be thinking that this service would only work with complex products, but that is not true.
In this example, the guided selling tool is selling candles. This is not a complex item, nor is the decision huge. There are, however, a large number of products available to buy. A user could easily become overwhelmed or not feel certain that they will like the product they choose. Instead, after answering a few short questions, a product (or specific group of products) is displayed for the user. By narrowing down the list of products, the customer will have an easier decision to make, increasing the chance that they will in fact make the purchase.
Research shows that guided selling pays off. In fact, 54 percent of retailers who use it have seen a yearly increase in the average amount a user spends.
Boost customer service
You already know the importance of good customer service for ecommerce brands. Another way to increase your customers’ satisfaction in this area is through guided selling. While this isn’t a traditional type of customer service, it is still a service for your customers. Guided selling helps your customers make decisions about the products you offer. You likely receive several questions asking about your products, and so this is a great way to answer those questions.
Ideally, your program will be a mix of questions, along with short explanations that help to inform your customers. In this example, a brief description along with each response helps guide the user to make an informed decision. Not only are you helping your customers select products, but you are educating them as well. This exceptional type of service is what customers want from the brands they shop at. 86 percent of customers, in fact, are willing to pay 25 percent more at brands that provide better service.
Gain loyal customers
It is much cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones. This is well known at this point, and guided selling is an additional way to help with customer retention. Satisfied customers will likely shop with you again, and a good guided selling process ensures all customers walk away happy. The guided selling process gives your customers an even deeper understanding of the products they are purchasing, something that is especially important for ecommerce stores. By providing additional info, and guiding your customers in the right direction, they are likely to walk away satisfied and willing to become a loyal customer.
Produce additional selling opportunities
The great thing with guided selling is that you end up with additional info from your customers about what they like and what they look for in the products that you sell. With this information, you can recommend related products that a customer would likely find useful. For example, if you sell tech accessories, you could show a variety of products that work well with the product you recommend, such as headphones that work well with the cell phone case you sell. In this way, you are making relevant recommendations that will make sense to your customers, instead of just sending out pushy emails showing off products that you sell.
In this example, the guided selling tool asks questions about a person’s taste in furniture, giving a result within a certain theme (in this case, modern). Not only does the result show the product recommendation for furniture, but also it includes additional products that match the furniture given the style that is chosen for the user. The results aren’t pushy, but are simply informative about what products there are that match the style.
Personalize the shopping experience
Finally, guided selling is a great opportunity to personalize your customers’ shopping experiences. Personalization has become the latest and greatest ways to keep your customers happy, with 75 percent of customers preferring personalized messages, and 56 percent being more likely to shop somewhere that offers some type of personalization. While it used to seem impossible to offer a personalized shopping experience online, it has now not only become easier, but also expected, for many ecommerce shoppers. Guided selling is the height of personalization, as a user inputs his or her own responses in order to get a product recommendation.
By answering these questions, users feel confident that they will end up with a product that will truly meet their needs. In the West Marine example, it specifically states, “the more questions you answer, the more specific our recommendations will be.” The point here with guided selling is to mimic what happens in person at a store with a sales associate helping a customer select a product. Because you are an ecommerce brand, you can’t provide in person help, but that doesn’t mean you can’t personalize the experience. Guided selling is just one way to do this, but mixed with all the other benefits, it’s easy to see why so many brands are getting on board.