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Is Guided Selling a magical unicorn for ecommerce?

Rhian Greener
Rhian Greener
Product Marketing Manager
Is Guided Selling a magical unicorn for ecommerce?

Is Guided Selling so powerful it will shape the future of eCommerce? We certainly think so. If you’re wondering what on earth it is, if it will work for your business, or how to go about implementing it, we’ve got your back.

Read on for Guided Selling 101…  

What is Guided Selling?

Guided Selling is an eCommerce tactic used to guide customers to make a purchase. It’s a tool that’s most commonly used on eCommerce sites to boost conversions. Here at Ve, we define Guided Selling as:  

“Guided Selling simulates the in-store consultation process, helping customers find and purchase the right products online – with confidence.”

Essentially, Guided Selling helps you recreate your in-store experience - online. As the eCommerce industry becomes increasingly competitive, such tactics become more and more important if online retailers are to cut through the noise.

Why do I need to know about Guided Selling?

We know. Another ‘trend’ to get your head around. Except, this one isn’t going anywhere soon. After all, it’s common place to train sales assistants in bricks and mortar stores to help customers find what they’re looking for. Yet historically, most online retailers have relied on their customers to figure it out on their own.

As a result, some common complaints we see from Digital Marketing Managers include:  

  • Customers can’t find what they need onsite
  • Customers spend time browsing but ultimately struggle to choose a product
  • Brands struggle to engage with customers online in a meaningful way

Guided Selling could be the helping hand both you and your customers need to guide them to a purchase. As The Future of eCommerce  puts it: “To compete in today’s omni-channel experience economy, businesses need to provide their customers with an online experience which is as good as, if not better than, they will get in-store."

This is especially important when the products being purchased are technical or complex, or where the customer may not always know what they want.”

How does Guided Selling work?

We’ve seen a few different methods for implementing it, but Guided Selling is usually facilitated using a third-party tool that sits on your website and engages with customers.  

Using human-programmed question ‘flows’, machine learning, or a combination of the two, the tool will simulate the in-store consultation experience.  

By asking your customers a series of questions, you are then able to guide them to the right products for them, leading them to purchase with confidence - and be happy with their choice!

Who should use Guided Selling?

There’s a creative use case for almost all online retailers. Guided Selling is a fantastic opportunity to engage your customers and provide a unique experience that makes your site one to remember.

However, the industry tends to agree that Guided Selling works particularly well for retailers who specialise in technical or considered purchases. Beauty brands and consumer electronics are both great use cases of purchases that require some specialist knowledge or research.

Are there any other benefits I should know about?

Aside from engaging your customers and boosting your conversions, there are a few other perks to consider, too. Take customer insights for example – if you’re asking customers what they’re looking for in X product, their answers can help inform your marketing materials, product descriptions and site hierarchy.  

Even better, if you can use Guided Selling to position yourself as a trusted source of advice, customers are more likely to return to you for help with their next purchase. In a world where brand loyalty is waning, this isn’t to be sniffed at.  

Convinced?

Guided Selling must become a priority for your eCommerce brand, or you’ll risk being left behind. Remember:  

“Nearly half of consumers (47%) desire tools and services that save them the mental hassle of researching and picking items, and over a third of consumers (34%) would much rather spend money to save time while shopping.” Gartner research report Best Practices for Personalizing Digital Commerce, Marketing Research Team, January 03, 2020

Keen to know more?

Chat with the Ve Global Team today, to hear how Guided Selling could help increase your site’s conversions.  

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