Buying sunscreen online shouldn’t require as much assistance as purchasing a new car, right?
Customers today are meticulous to a T about the purchases they make.
78% of shoppers spend more time researching when shopping online than they do while at a store.
And 81% of consumers perform research and plan before heading out to make a purchase.
Most of them won’t look too hard for the information they want if you don’t already have it available front and centre.
That isn’t always enough either.
Customers still prefer the in-store shopping experience over a virtual one since their unique needs and queries are addressed swiftly and with certainty.
But is it possible to simulate this online too? Yes, and how!
Guided selling is your key here to craft highly personalised, custom experiences.
This process helps you gain rich, distinguishing insights during the sales journey of any customer to fine-tune their experience at a granular level.
In this blog, we dive into the details of this fast-evolving eCommerce solution and why it’s a must-have if you’re looking to supercharge your growth!
What is guided selling in eCommerce?
The comfort of having a sales clerk around is unparalleled.
They’re equipped with the knowledge and responsibility to assist you uniquely when making a purchase – answering a range of queries or providing product recommendations.
Take buying sunscreen, for instance, again.
A salesperson can help you pick a formulation that suits you perfectly based on skin type, climate, and lifestyle.
Without guided selling, you’ll likely choose what sounds right for you but isn’t. For example, it might flare up an existing skin condition, leave a visible white cast, or cause makeup to cake and crease (the possibilities are endless).
Personalized interactions resolve this.
Emulating this kind of precision-based selling from offline to online is tricky but not impossible.
Today, eCommerce guided selling typically looks like this:
- Live chat
- Size guides
- Product finders
- Video support
- Website searchability and navigation
- Tools like surveys and quizzes
Of course, each of these differs based on your industry and market research.
However, the outcome is always the same.
The needs and wants of an individual prospect are now known to you, empowering your business to recommend suitable products exclusive to them.
The benefits of guided selling for your business
Personalised shopping experiences drive consumer behaviour, giving you a stronger grip on the reigns of the growth of your business.
While there are many ways to go about it, guided selling solutions are as hyper-personal.
Here’s a glimpse at what this can mean for you.
Boost sales and reduce cart abandonment
Two questions are integral to the buying decision:
1. Does this product/service fit my requirements?
2. Do I trust this brand to solve my problem well?
Customers hesitate to click ‘buy’ without a confident nod to both these concerns.
A guided selling solution increases conversion rates remarkably well because it tackles both questions at once.
Asking the right questions to uncover your customers’ specific needs makes guiding them towards the right product for them simpler. And towards a buying decision a lot smoother.
Receiving immediate and personalised responses also builds trust and confidence.
Establishing credibility then increases the likelihood a customer will consider product recommendations sincerely.
And with detailed insights, you can cross-sell more authentically.
But wait, there’s more!
Struggling to choose a product is also why many users abandon their cart: that and unexpected shipping costs.
With guidance and/or a discount coupon, guided sales reduce these drop-offs significantly.
Clearly, the benefits stack in your favour.
Highlight value as your competitive marker
When filtering products during a search, most customers begin with price.
In doing so, they miss out on seeing options that could be the right fit for them.
And you lose the chance to offer real value to a prospective customer.
eCommerce guided selling removes this hurdle for you.
It gives you the perfect opportunity at the start of the sales journey to convey benefits and features that align with their specific requirements.
And when a product looks like the perfect fit, you’ll see faster customer conversions more and more.
It also sets you apart from competitors in a market where the price is frequently leveraged as a differentiator.
Reduce returns unrelated to shipping and handling
Returned products signify a dissatisfied customer- something you never want, especially during the post-purchase stage.
Your business loses a lot — revenue of the sale, costs for acquiring that lead, potential ROI, and so much more.
However, if you find that your customers often return products because they realised it wasn’t what they were looking for, you definitely need to utilise guided selling tools.
By presenting customers with products that meet their specifications the first time around, returns are minimised almost down to zero!
Improve key operations with rich, indispensable data collected
The data you can capture with a guided sales process is invaluable.
These are details regarding your customers and shoppers – something that no amount of market research, testing, and surveying will give you.
Using the insights to make informed improvements across your business optimizes processes uniquely.
For instance, based on feedback and interactions, your brand’s customer support and service solutions could be calibrated with greater precision.
Implementing such a change would mean bridging gaps in the eCommerce customer experience you offer.
You’ll also pick up on where you may have overlooked providing sufficient details or even which products you should be pushing over others.
The opportunities here are endless.
Happier customers whose buying journeys are made complete with better satisfaction, fewer hiccups, greater speeds, and greater success.
How does guided selling help customers?
Shopping online isn’t a cakewalk for customers all the time.
From combing through various reviews and demos to the 50 open tabs overloading our browsers with a display of multiple competing brands, shopping can feel tiresome.
It’s why many customers rely on their social circles for recommendations – friends, family, and even a shout-out on the Internet.
Tweets and Stories that read “Looking for <specific product>. Please DM me some recommendations!” are quite common now.
Each time this is a clear call for assistance.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at what this kind of assistance does for customers and benefits them uniquely.
Reduces choice paralysis and information overload
Having too many options to choose from is overwhelming.
How can you trust that the choice you’re investing in is really the best one for you?
Have you truly seen every available alternative? Should you?
Is it possible you missed a detail here or there?
Sometimes, especially with big-ticket purchases, it’s reassuring to take your time to comb over every last detail and option available.
This usually looks like a lengthy, chaotic pros and cons list. Not to forget the narrowing window of a purchase deadline you impose on yourself as the end of various discounts comes closer.
But this isn’t a sustainable way to shop.
Guided shopping experiences help reduce the amount of thinking and research a consumer requires.
Giving a set of options from a reliable brand is also optimal since the choices provided through guided selling are limited but filtered down to their needs.
Removing these stressors for your customers gives them a more pleasant overall experience.
Informs and educates consumers
Consumers today are already bombarded with enough distractions.
And purchasing habits shouldn’t require a complex hunt for essential product details crucial to their decision-making processes.
People shopping for food online experience this most.
Most brands don’t make nutritional or dietary information clear, easy to understand, or easily accessible, which slows down the purchase itself.
So how would guided selling resolve this for them?
Well, customers would be able to engage with interactive and informative guides immediately, whether it’s a detailed post that a chatbot pulls up for them or an agent that answers their queries on the go.
And this doesn’t apply to the food industry alone.
Customers shopping within any category benefit when they get the information they’re seeking from assisted help, especially because it feels more curated and reliable.
Builds confidence and satisfaction with a purchase
No customer enjoys completing a purchase and then second-guessing themselves.
Typically, this occurs when their experience is isolated, with little to no guidance.
Even if they read the product details and reviews a hundred times over, the confidence that personalised interactions nurture is incomparable.
Consider shopping on Amazon as an example.
Most customers only consider products with a sizeable number of reviews and customer-uploaded images.
This helps them gauge the quality of the item and the experience they’re likely to receive too.
Many of us will buy a product if it has enough positive reviews. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t read the lower-rated ones too.
In which case, it’s unlikely that customers would feel confident about their purchase until they receive the item and can inspect it for themselves.
Customers would much rather pay more for a purchase they can feel confident about, and a guided selling solution sets this experience up for them every time.
Guided selling as the future of eCommerce
COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of online channels for brands across industries and, consequently, the demand for exceptional customer service and support.
As a response, more and more businesses are personalizing the customer journey to align with what captures their audiences.
This poses a new problem now – how can you cut through the noise when everyone is trying to set themselves apart in the same way?
The answer lies in taking personalization one step further to hyper-personalize customer experiences.
And the ticket to getting this right is combining the best hyper-personalization tools.
AI and guided selling.
LimeChat: Your one-stop-shop for AI guided selling
In the past, AI-powered chatbots were considered the next big thing because of their power to combine data, machine learning, and automation to tailor customer experiences.
Unfortunately, these were quick to fail.
Consumers could tell when they were speaking to an agent versus a tool.
If chatbots were to work successfully with guided sales, they needed to be capable of human-level conversations.
At LimeChat, we’ve worked hard to pioneer this for the first time in the world.
With Level 3 AI, our tools integrate guided selling tools and natural language processing. So in a conversation with a customer, our chatbot can engage as a real sales agent would.
How does this work?
It harvests rich data (like user preferences and past interactions) to learn from and understand consumer behaviour first.
It then uses these insights to adapt to the direction of the conversation and provide tailored support to customers without faltering.
And since Level 3 AI can process intent, emotion, and language, it truly outdoes any intelligent guided selling platform.
The proof lies in our results.
- Increase conversions by 23% with timely responses
- Address common queries 10x faster
- Reduce returns and cart abandonment by 13%
- Boost retention by 30%
The best part? AI-guided selling becomes a plug-and-play tool for your business with us.
Book a FREE demo with us today to learn more
How guided selling doubled sales for The Man Company
This post is the third 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.