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Marketing has changed more in the past two years than it has in the past 20 years… is your company doing everything it can to keep up?

In a world of choice overload, it can be difficult for retailers to keep up with their competition but good marketing tools can certainly give a business the edge. With advances in technology, marketing has become so much more than generic white-papers and social media ads. Leading companies are ploughing millions into their marketing departments as they constantly try to find the next best campaigns and creative concepts. This also includes finding the latest AI technology for the most modern and savvy marketing initiatives. However, one thing has and will always remain the same and that is the wise words of wisdom - ‘know your audience!’

This blog post will delve into some of the newest and most innovative marketing methods out there and explain how they can help your different target groups to feel inspired and purchase your products.

"94% of companies agree that personalization is critical to current and future success." - Matizmo

A personalized customer experience is simply expected these days, especially when it comes to sending out things like birthday emails or even just emails which address the customer by their first name. Unfortunately though, this just doesn’t quite make the cut anymore and customers aren’t too impressed. According to Infosys, 31% of customers wished that their shopping experience was more personalized and only 22% were satisfied with the current situation of online shopping.

Guided Selling Technology offers a broad range of tools which can be integrated directly into your website and offer your customers a personalized advice service as well as help them to navigate your products. It's new, it's modern and it works! So let's weigh up the options out there and analyze which suit your target group best.

PERSONALIZATION TOOLS

1. Product Guides

Product Guides help your customers to make educated buying decisions as well as help you as a business to understand their needs by asking simple questions which lead them to ideal product recommendations.

Product Guides are particularly suitable to customers who are unsure about what to buy - especially when it comes to electronic products like cameras, TVs and washing machines where most people don't claim to be an expert and therefore, need a helping hand.

2. Virtual Try On Tool - Mr Spex

Opticians MrSpex demonstrate excellent personalization with their Virtual Try On Tool. They prove that even buying glasses online isn't risky business anymore. Instead of having to go into a MrSpex store, you can now try different pairs of glasses on from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a webcam or a camera phone and with the help of face recognition, you can then try on all the glasses you wish and see which suit best.

Some customers will naturally still prefer the traditional method of going to buy a pair of glasses from the store but this visual fit tool is perfect for your target groups with hectic lives and those people who just need to make a quick purchase without any hassle.

3. Color and Design Selector - Victoria's Secret

The Victoria's Secret bra collection allows you to browse different colors and designs quickly and easily. They even show the model wearing every kind of color and design which makes it super easy for customers to just flick through and decide which they prefer best.

This kind of personalization feature works well for fashionistas where those little adjustments to things like color and pattern can make a big difference.

4. Gift Finders - Douglas Beauty and Cosmetics

Gift Finders are a personalization tool suitable for everyone. They are user-friendly and built on an algorithm which provides great recommendations to all kinds of people with all kinds of preferences meaning nobody is going to be left empty-handed when they get to the checkout.

Take the above example from European Beauty and Cosmetics leader "Douglas" whose Gift Finder provides their customers with personal questions that show they care about their needs and helping them to find the perfect gift.

Chatbots - product advice in the form of a conversation... but online!

You either love or hate Siri and Alexa... the same applies to online chatbots which can be integrated into your online shop to help advise customers find their perfect product. Available as an auditory or textual bot, chatbots are designed to make you feel like you are having a conversation with a human. When customers shop in-store and don't have the energy to go looking for something themselves or need some product advice, they simply ask the nearest sales assistant. Chatbots allow online customers to quickly ask what they want too, no matter where they are or what time of day it is.

Whole Foods Supermarket uses chatbots to advise customers on recipes as well as informs them of the nearest store to go buy all the ingredients.

Chatbots are particularly suited to customers who need an answer quickly and who don't get frustrated by talking to robots.

Intelligent Reasoning

Convince your customers with individual arguments in a user-friendly language and watch your conversions increase. By simply showing your customers that you understand their needs and are transparent in what you are selling, you will see positive changes in your customer loyalty rates.

Providing your customers with intelligent reasoning is basically telling them that a product fulfills all the criteria that they want the product to have, in order for them to buy it. Intelligent Reasoning is used by Product Guides which asks the customers what their product requirements are and then leads them to an ideal match. For example, the Bose headphones state that they include world-class noise cancellation, are lightweight and comfortable to wear and also Bluetooth compatible - everything the customer asked for!


Decide on a Guided Selling Method for your online shop today.


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We can all identify with some of the struggles presented to us by online shopping. Unable to locate the product we want, too many search pages to trawl through, not sure whether to take the risk and buy without seeing it in the flesh. Think back to when you first did an online food shop for example.Did you get confused and a bit frustrated about the large product assortment presented to you? It's not so easy to browse through online as it is to walk through the store, right? The worst is, you can't even grab the nearest sales assistant to quickly guide you to the correct aisle.


Lots of E-commerce Managers and Marketing Teams are realising that their online shoppers are being turned away due to lack of guidance and advice available to them online. Don't allow your customers to be put off! Thanks to intelligent technology, there are lots of online Guided Selling methods out there to make online shopping more customer focused. Let's discover which method is most suited to your particular online shop.

Here are some of the most common asked questions by online shoppers, as well as the pros and cons of different Guided Selling solutions on offer:

Customer asks: "What kind of features can this product offer?"

Guided Selling Solution: The Faceted Search

The faceted search breaks down a product's features and specifications making it easier for the customer to filter out what they do and don't want in their product. Literally, every shop uses faceted search, either as a standalone search or as an after-search navigation.

Faceted Seach at Walmart
Pros:
  • Efficient browsing within a product's category
  • The fastest way to browse a product assortment
  • Intelligent faceted search solutions don't lead to dead-ends and are able to explain a lot about the product details - particularly ideal for professional buyers who are already pretty familiar with your products
Cons:
  • Faceted searches are unable to assist customers who are unsure of their requirements and exactly what they want
  • The faceted search does not function like a human and won't be able to advise and educate your customer like a sales assistant would

Customer asks:"Which of these products fits my needs, and, uhmm, what actually are my needs?"

Guided Selling Solution: Product Guides

Kamera Guide von Excentos

Product Guides really help the customer to get what they need. Once the customer has started exploring your products with the faceted search, they want to know which product is the right one for them and this is where the Product Guide comes into play. Product Guides allow you to deliver a short yet savvy questionnaire for your customers to state what they do and don't want. AI Guided Selling technology can then refer the customer to an ideally suited product match.

Pros:
  • Be able to naturally guide the customer through the selection process
  • Product Guides act like a piece of marketing to further enhance your products and make them more attractive for purchase
  • Make online shopping a more enjoyable, customer focused online shopping experience
  • Be able to offer cross-category recommendations to try increase sales even further
  • Automatically update your latest product listings and automatically adapts the question flow to never ask unnecessary questions
  • Sell in line with your sales strategy and reach targets by controlling the recommendation behavior and ensuring the Product Guide recommends exactly what you want it to
Cons:
  • Someone has to develop the questionnaire concept and in order for it to create successful product recommendations, time and expert knowledge is required
For tips on "How to Create the Perfect Product Guide" - see our blog post: How to create the perfect Product Guide

Customer asks: "What's the in-thing? What is everyone else buying?"

Guided Selling Solution: Statistical Recommenders

If your customers are followers of trends, then statistical recommenders are great! They are able to fill the gap and learn from your shop or website's previous usage data which then translates into product recommendations. It detects patterns in buying behavior such as:

  • Users who bought this product also bought these other products
  • Users who watched this product also bought/watched these other products

There are separate types of recommender technologies, e.g. collaborative filtering and content-based filtering solutions. They aim to incorporate historical data or content, such as: product descriptions, names and attributes etc. More updated product recommenders powered by artificial intelligence focus on information such as product images, shipment returns, contextual information and much more...

Pros:
  • Scalable as data driven
  • Doesn't require explicit knowledge models
  • Can be very dynamic and adapt to user trends
Cons:
  • Cold start problem
  • Does not work properly for new products or if newly integrated into a website
  • Requires a lot of traffic to learn dependencies consequence: not suitable for smaller shops
  • Not very suitable for long-tail assortments (since there is little data per product; can be enhanced by content-based filtering or other contextual approaches)
  • No reasoning
  • Cannot make sure that there are complete mismatches, e.g. child book recommended together with sex toys since mom once bought this together (unless category dependencies modeled manually)
Amazon Recommender Example
The most common examples of recommenders in a shop environment is Amazon

So, what do we think?

We say Mixed Models are best...

As you can see, there are many ways to guide your customers through your online shop. The best tools obtain great conversion rates and upselling by mixing the Guided Selling and data-powered recommender technologies together.

The excentos mixed Guided Selling and recommender technology is perfect to get the best of both worlds and offer your customers the best online shopping experience. The result is beneficial since it allows knowledge models which guarantee quality, reasoning and historial usage data to cover buying trends which quickly adapt to user preferences and allow the customer to have their say on which of your products are the best!

Increase your Sales and Reduce Drop Off Rates with Guided Selling Solutions

Let's talk more about your business and choose the best Guided Selling Technology for you