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How to Implement Guided Selling for Ecommerce (Best Practices)

Written by
Team LimeChat
Published on
December 30, 2022

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Guided Selling, a way for e-commerce brands to engage their customers online (like how a salesperson would in an offline store), yields excellent results by offering personalised recommendations and advice based on what the customer says.

Providing customer support before, during, and after purchase can increase retention and boost sales without making you regret your ad budget!

While quizzes and product guides help, there is nothing as effective as chat, as we’ve seen in our clients.

Especially when you use AI to power and automate it.

In fact, Gartner said in a recent study that AI has permanently transformed the form and function of guided selling capabilities and is expected to be a pivotal part of e-commerce marketing in the coming years.

“The value proposition of AI-based guided selling is undeniable,” said Tad Travis, research vice president at Gartner.

Since the pandemic had many people shift to shopping online, the need of the hour has been to provide excellent customer support before, during and after a customer makes a purchase.

With rising CAC, abandoned cart rates alongside increased ad spends, it is essential for brands to make the most of their incoming traffic.

Guided Selling is an excellent strategy to be there for your customer and show them a filtered catalogue, and provide just the right amount of information and advice to complete their purchase.

In fact, we chose this topic to be our third Masterclass series because of the success we have seen in our clients when they do Guided Selling well.

These tips have come from our in-depth knowledge of e-commerce brands, as we have been working with our clients to continuously fine-tune workflows and campaigns.

When done right, Guided selling can boost sales by more than 3X and reduce the abandoned cart rate by 10%.

Let’s show you how!

Best Practices for Guided Selling on Chat

Engage Your Customer Quickly & Efficiently

When a customer is considering your product, they are already feeling wary. They don’t trust you yet, which is why it’s essential you do not waste their time.

Shoppers these days are also bombarded with notifications and prefer to shop quickly.

Here are some things to try out-

  • Time the first prompt/nudge well. Don’t wait for them to come and see no visible support and drop off. You need to find your brand’s metric here (average drop-off is around 15 seconds) to time it well.
  • Use a progress bar. It is a great way to keep your visitors engaged because they know exactly how much time they will have to spend to get answers.
  • Make sure you limit the number of questions you present- the last thing you need is for them to get frustrated that no answers seem in sight, nor the end of questioning.
  • Move them along the questions and to the filtered catalogue quickly
  • Don’t take them through multiple pages; an accordion design with expandable sections works great for ecommerce

Ask the Right Questions (And Provide Context)

Your copy or content writer’s skills are necessary here. If your questions are not clear or are lengthy, your customers will drop off.

Ask them about their preferences and needs but remember, context is important. Tell them WHY you’re asking.

For, e.g., you sell skin care products. Maybe you want to start by asking them what their skin type is and give 4 clear options. Add a reference sentence to show how their input will help you lead them to the right product.

Let’s take another example. Your customer wants to buy an air conditioner. You can use guided selling to advise them. Ask them how big the room is, along with weather conditions. Then recommend a product and tell them how those factors help decide what ac unit will work best!

When customers feel empowered, they feel they are in charge of their shopping experience and reassured of their choice to invest time and money in your brand.

So remember to-

  • Keep questions streamlined and clear
  • Provide context (this can be done
  • Craft questions based on the industry

(If you’re looking to start Guided Selling for your brand quickly and want to try tested plug-and-play workflows made for your industry, book a demo here).

Unlock Inventory Carefully

Decide on the number of categories you want to present, usually more than 3/4 can get confusing. Remember, they came to chat with you because they found your website overwhelming.

These days, a D2C or e-commerce brand will have multiple variations of a product to reach more people. The disadvantage is that it gets confusing to choose the right product from so many.

This is why questions need to be specific. To reduce choice paralysis, take care to show only 3-4 options and clearly show the benefit of each against the other.

You can cross-sell and upsell with guided selling as well, as long as you don’t overwhelm the customer.

Create Workflows for Different Types of Customers

You can try tested plug-and-play workflows made for your industry if you want to get started with ai guided selling quickly and efficiently or create workflows based on the different customers that come and chat.

You can make them by going through all DMS, comments, twitter queries, etc that show what they want to know are unable to understand, or are confused by while shopping from you.

Inject the brand’s tone and personality to leave a unique impression of your brand.

However, starting from scratch can take significant time and effort to create and continuously fine-tune.

Prompt them to Choose the Next Step with Clear CTA’s.

Guiding them through your catalogue is great but make sure your customers know at each step what they need to do to next.

Make it easy for them to realise they are still in charge of their shopping experience, AND it’s easy to checkout.

If they want to start all over again and try a different option, ensure that you send a message prompting them if they’d like to restart.

Clear CTA’s is key- you can experiment with the number though we don’t recommend more than two.

Ensure the CTA is in a different line to make it easy to skim and choose.

Use Images, Especially for Social Proof.

We have seen with our clients that using an image (more than video, which may distract them) has a higher chance of encouraging a purchase.

Sending a clear photo of the final product you’re referring to is incredibly helpful for the customer, or lifestyle images that show life after using that product.

Make it easy for them to imagine the transformation with visual aids.

Humans are also wired to trust products that come recommended by friends and peers, so share your positive reviews from previous clients or send user-generated content on social media.

This is a great and easy way to reassure your customer.

Make it an Omnichannel Experience.

Your customer can start exploring your brand on a social medium like Instagram or Facebook, then go to your website to window shop, to finally place an order through your chat support.

Expect that and ensure none of them have to repeat any information, query, or complaint if it’s been logged before.

It is also important to deliver customer support on all mediums in the same tone so they will remember the experience more deeply.

Providing an omnichannel experience is key, and having a single helpdesk to route all conversations and uncover granular data to design better customer experiences will make it streamlined and lead you to more sales.

Keep it personalised and Human.

The main thing that was missing from online customer support was how formal and unnatural it would sound. Customers would be able to tell easily that a chatbot is on the other end.

To provide a warm, positive shopping experience, replying back in a conversational, human tone is important.

On top of that, customers expect personalisation. We can add several statistics here to show personalisation is the way forward, but honestly, we’ve seen its impact of it on our clients and know that it’s powerful.

Using their name, if they’ve dropped off- share the product they were exploring, or if they are a repeat customer, show them you have their details filled out and ready for quick checkout on chat as well.

This is why we made and use Level 3 AI for our guided selling experiences on chat. It understands context and intent and replies back in the right tone. It understands free text, thereby making the conversation feel more natural.

Use Data Effectively

Once you try guided selling, with whatever tool you find suitable, you will need to look back on important metrics like drop-off rates, clicks on your CTA, and abandoned cart rate to improve your workflows.

Also, remember to note what questions are coming – if it’s something you should include on an FAQ page or on your PDP, do that.

Test out your copy, CTA options, the number of messages, the time between two messages, categories, etc that encourage a sale and don’t overwhelm them.

Keep going back to refine your workflows and see if you can accomplish your goals.

Try Guided selling with LimeChat

LimeChat was created for e-commerce.

We have gone through several months of deep research identifying unique cases, workflows, and templates that have shown success for our D2C brands.

Our help desk, which ensures your customer support is omnichannel, will automate more than 70% of your incoming chat queries, boost your sales and reduce your abandoned cart rate.

We have also launched our flow builder, which is a game changer for customising conversational workflows.

If you want to

  1. Engage your customers to maximise your sales
  2. Minimise decision fatigue by showing just the right amount of information
  3. Address product-specific queries to boost confidence, and
  4. Deliver an incomparable customer experience

Want to see how our powerful dashboard, a one-stop, single ecommerce help desk, can-

  • minimise resolution time,
  • offer an integrated omnichannel experience,
  • has integration with Shopify apps
  • has 20+ customizable templates for different industries?

Book a free demo here!

Want to check out more examples of Guided Selling? Take a look at this post here- Guided Selling: Tips, Tricks, and Examples on how to Maximise Returns for Incredible Customer Experience

This post is the sixth lesson in our Masterclass series on Guided Selling, where we deep dive into the current expectations and strategies some of the best D2C brands use and how to execute them in simple, actionable ways.

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