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Guided Selling – simply explained

Customers who search for products online often struggle to make a purchase decision due to a lack of guidance. Consequently, an increasing number of companies are turning to digital Product Advisors to efficiently guide customers towards making a purchase.

In this guide, you will learn about Guided Selling and how to create your own digital Product Advisor in just a few steps.

Digital Camera Advisor

The Camera Advisor asks simple questions to quickly guide the customer to the perfect camera.

What is Guided Selling?

Definition: The term Guided Selling originates from e-commerce, signifying that customers are led through the product selection process using digital purchasing advice and provided with tailored recommendations to streamline their purchasing decisions.

With Guided Selling, websites can advise each customer as effectively as a personal sales specialist in a physical store. Therefore, more and more companies are adopting digital advisory solutions to increase their sales and minimize returns.

Guided Selling solutions are hosted as Software as a Service (SaaS). This means that maintenance and management are handled by the respective provider.

How it works

Guided Selling describes the process of digital guidance. The solution behind it is the digital Product Advisor, also known as Product Finder or Product Configurator.

1. Understanding Customer Needs

What sets Guided Selling apart from simple filter searches is its top-notch guidance. Filter searches assume that customers already know which product features they need. Guided Selling, on the other hand, meets the customer at their use case and provides needs-oriented advice.

To determine what the customer needs, the digital Product Advisor asks use case-oriented questions. Technical product features are translated into customer-friendly language.

Consider the following example:

A customer is planning a multi-day hiking trip and needs a tent. This is where Guided Selling comes into play. To determine which tent best suits the customer's requirements, the digital Advisor asks:

"For how many people do you need the tent?", "What type of tour are you planning?", and "What weather conditions do you want to be prepared for?"

The customer doesn't need specialized knowledge to answer the questions and can quickly and easily describe their use case.

2. Perfect Recommendations

In the next step, the customer receives a product recommendation that perfectly matches their needs. This recommendation is generated by an AI-based recommender engine, which aligns the customer's selection options with technical product data.

As a result, each customer receives a individually calculated product recommendation.

Recommendation from the Bike Advisor

The digital advisor recommends a bicycle that perfectly fits the customer's requirements.

3. Informed Purchase Decisions

Explanatory texts and a pro-con list in the recommendation help the customer understand why the recommendation perfectly suits their needs. This makes it easier for customers to complete a purchase.

This is how digital Product Advisors boost sales

1. Engaging Customers
At many points in shops, customers are lost. For example, long product overview pages and complicated menu structures often leave users uncertain about which products or product categories are suitable for them.

In such cases, it's beneficial to draw attention to the digital Product Advisor through banners or internal linking to assist customers in their product search. The Product Advisor reliably guides even customers with no prior knowledge to the right product.
2. Determining Purchase Intent
Guiding customers through consultation is essential for understanding their true purchasing desires. This is precisely how the Product Guide operates: All questions regarding the purchasing decision are presented in an easily understandable manner. Explanation texts, clear illustrations, and sample images are utilized to explain technical features and simplify the decision-making process.

And on top of that, the Guided Selling solution generates valuable consumer insights, such as the user's purchasing and motivational reasons.
3. Recommending Products
Guided Selling recommends each customer precisely the products that meet their requirements. An intelligent recommender calculates which product recommendations best fit the customer's needs and have a high likelihood of purchase.
4. Leading to Purchase
The digital Product Advisor behaves like an intelligent sales specialist: Each product recommendation is individually justified and convinces the customer to make a purchase.

Additional features such as a watchlist, dynamic product comparisons, or even a shopping cart function in the results list further enhance the conversion rate.

Overview of Guided Selling Systems

There are several application scenarios for which Guided Selling is ideally suited. For example, do you want to advise customers on your website? Or guide your employees through sales conversations?

In the table below, we have listed the various Guided Selling systems and their advantages:

Guided Selling Solution Use Case Advantages
Product Finder Digitally advises customers and leads them quickly to purchase Reduces bounce rates and facilitates purchase decisions
Product Configurator Configures product variants or complex systems Visualizes product selection
Lead Generator Generates prequalified inbound leads for the sales team Form as CRM integration enables dedicated customer approach
Gift Finder Makes assortment tangible and delivers individual gift ideas Product Discovery and inspirational product search
In-store Solution Brings digital product advice to stores Omnichannel experiences which pick up customers at the point of sale
Sales Enablement Guides employees and supports in sales consultation Uniform consulting quality and improved direct sales

When Does My Website Need Guided Selling?

The use of digital Product Advisors is always beneficial when assortments are extensive or products require explanation. Just like a salesperson in a physical store, Guided Selling assists customers in product selection, thus facilitating the purchase decision.

My product range is extensive
The shop has a large product range, and customers find it difficult to navigate through it. Accordingly, the need for guidance is high. The "Guided Selling Rule of Thumb" states: if more than 10 to 15 products are offered that are suitable for different requirements, customers need guidance. Some Product Advisors encompass 100,000 products - yet even for less than 10 products, the use of Guided Selling can be beneficial to identify the right product for each individual purchase desire.
My products require explanation
When your customers say, "What exactly was the difference again?" it's a sign that they aren't sure which products meet their requirements. The research efforts can quickly increase in such cases. However, customers don't want to struggle through content indefinitely; they prefer to be guided to their purchase decision as quickly, easily, and interactively as possible.

Products are particularly in need of explanation when they have many technical features and characteristics.
The assortment changes frequently
Online product guidance is particularly necessary when the assortment is dynamic, meaning that products change very quickly. In such cases, which salesperson can remember all the models in the extremely broad market, such as notebooks or digital cameras, especially when new products are launched at least twice a year?

The digital Product Advisors have a clear advantage here because they can compare an infinite number of products and product details. Therefore, product guidance is ideal for large assortments to also support sales personnel.
My target audiences differ
Different target audiences have different requirements. When selling to various target audiences, one wants to present their products adequately for each target group. Target groups can include:
  • First-time buyers versus experienced repeat buyers, who have very different levels of prior knowledge
  • B2C versus B2B customers, who purchase with completely different requirements
  • Youth versus older individuals, who approach the purchase decision with different demands

Guided Selling can cater to different target audiences. The Product Guides feature an intelligent question flow that interactively adapts to the preferences of each target group. As a result, every customer is provided with the information that is relevant to their purchase decision.

Advantages of Guided Selling

  • Boosting Conversions and Minimizing Returns: The Product Guide efficiently guides your customers through the purchase process, simultaneously helping to avoid misguided purchases and reducing the number of returns through targeted guidance.

  • Enhance Customer Satisfaction: By providing professional product guidance, you ensure that your customers find a suitable product and are satisfied with their shopping experience.

  • Cross-Selling for Increased Revenue: Furthermore, you can integrate cross-selling into your Guided Selling solution, thereby generating even more revenue.

  • 24/7 Consultation: With Guided Selling, you provide your customers with digital guidance at all times. Even on weekends and holidays, the Product Finder assists your customers in product selection.

  • Valuable Customer Insights: With excentos Analytics, you gain valuable insights into the preferences and requirements of your customers. You can observe trends, refine your target audience definition, and understand their needs more thoroughly.

In which situations is Guided Selling not necessary?

Naturally, there are scenarios where online consultation is not necessary. For instance, if the assortment is manageable and new products are not frequently added, good description texts might already assist your customers in making a decision.

However, the number of products does not exclude the need for consultation for your customers. Therefore, it can be concluded that the benefits of Guided Selling outweigh, and most companies benefit from efficiently leading their customers to purchase through digital product guidance.

Step-by-Step to Your Guided Selling Solution

Do you have a large assortment or do your products require explanation? Then Guided Selling is the perfect addition for your digital channels. With the excentos Workbench, you can build your digital Product Advisor in just a few steps.

  1. Create an advisor concept
  2. Upload product data into the Workbench
  3. Configure the question flow
  4. Customize the design of the digital advisor
  5. Ready for Go-Live!

Watch video: Build Product Advisors in 45 seconds

With the excentos Workbench, anyone can quickly and easily develop Product Guides - this video demonstrates just how simple it is:

Integration into CMS and E-commerce Systems

Guided Selling solutions can be seamlessly integrated into various CMS and e-commerce systems such as Shopify, HubSpot, WordPress, Magento, and Salesforce. For instance, the implementation of excentos Guided Selling tools is achieved through a short integration code.

This enables a quick and straightforward integration without requiring programming skills.

Whitepaper: Guided Selling

Would you like to learn more about Guided Selling and digital product guidance? Then take a look at our Guided Selling whitepaper or contact us directly. We look forward to hearing from you!