What is Guided Selling and Why is it Important for Your Ecommerce Brand in 2022
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Have you seen this ad where the brand shows customers how their in-store experience trumps shopping online?
The essence of the ad is- If you’re looking for the perfect product for you, made for your unique life, googling it won’t give you the confidence you need, or the right product.
Plus, you’ll be anxious until you get the order and likely upset after, so shop from us where our support staff will narrow down your choices and get you something that will suit you.
This concept is something we all understand- even if many of us shop online regularly.
We love it- yet, we miss the human reassurance we get in speaking to a sales rep inside a store.
Will these fit me?
I want a painting that fits on my living room wall.
What shade of your product will suit my skin?
What brand of tv is right for me?
Sometimes, when we’re walking around unsure in a shop, a simple – ‘Can I help you find what you are looking for’ can lead to grateful smiles and quick sales.
This experience of having someone personally guide you through a catalogue of products has set offline stores apart despite the ecommerce boom.
And now that post covid, so many brick and mortar stores had to start selling online, the space has gotten extremely competitive.
People are spoilt for choice – and having too many options can lead to paralysis.
So many people drop off (and visit your competitor) because they couldn’t decide.
To increase ROI from ads and other customer acquisition strategies, deliver a personalised shopping experience, and offer customer support at a key touchpoint of the marketing funnel, that is, right before they make a purchase, is where Guided Selling shines.
What is Guided Selling in eCommerce?
Guided selling provides an in-store experience online- through personalised product recommendations based on the customer’s needs and desires and well-timed nudges and prompts.
Done in different ways, it guides your customer through your website and catalogue, clarifies details like shipping and delivery, clears up any doubt and hesitation that is delaying the sale, and takes them to the next part of the funnel.
A targeted effort, especially pre-purchase with guided customer support, can skyrocket your sales.
It’s also a nice, non-intrusive way for the brand to communicate, enable product discovery, and builds trust without resorting to annoying spammy newsletters.
Guided selling can be done in different ways – like product quizzes (size guides, find your shade), targeted landing pages, and, most importantly, conversational AI.
It is a game-changer for ecommerce brands because it is the closest to an in-store shopping experience through the exchange of human-like conversation.
How is Guided Selling Different from Traditional Selling?
Traditional selling is usually contained to when a customer is about to or is thinking of making a purchase.
After the sale is made, the communication mostly ends- unless it is to complain -and most give up because of hating traditional customer service methods.
It also happens in one medium- inside the store.
However, in D2C brands, customers can reach out to them 24×7 and expect quick resolutions across different channels.
Guided selling is also used for timely notifications like reorders, delivery updates, return processing, etc.
Omnichannel customer support will flourish with guided selling- especially if customer interactions are collected and analyzed through a single help desk.
This data you collect is much more detailed than traditional selling and is fantastic for crafting your future communications, website content & more.
E.g., a customer’s past purchase can help in very targeted product recommendations – something that’s not possible in the store.
What is AI-guided selling?
One of the biggest advantages of Guided Selling is that you can automate it with conversational AI.
This will let you scale rapidly without expanding your CX team while delivering exceptional customer support and service.
Our level 3 AI chatbots have been painstakingly crated FOR ecommerce brands- to reduce friction and enhance customer support while your customer shops online.
Level-3 AI chatbots are also the first generation of chatbots that can understand contextual free-text queries (‘How long before I can see results?’).
It retains chat history so you can deliver an omnichannel, consistent customer experience.
(We’ll explore how LimeChat can help your brand with detailed strategies in another post in our Masterclass, so stay tuned!)
Why is Guided Selling Important?
Let’s take a look at the ecommerce landscape in 2022 –
- 86% of shoppers said that personalisation influences their shopping.
- 95% of all purchases will be made online by 2040
- Online shopping makes up 10% of retail sales and is expected to grow at 15% each year ()
- 60% of customers will leave your site if they can’t find what they were looking for in the first place
- Abandoned carts amount to an $18 billion loss in revenue each year.
- 93% of companies see a rise in conversion rates with personalisation
- 85% of customers start a purchase on one device and finish it on another.
Take it this way- if you haven’t started using Guided Selling in your marketing strategy, you are already very behind.
With guided selling, you can-
- Boost your conversions
- Increase sales
- Deliver personalized experiences
- Increase customer retention
- Adopt a Product-Centric Approach to Customer Support
- Respond in Real-Time
How does a cost-effective marketing strategy you can use to boost conversations, deepen brand loyalty and reduce CAC sound?
Let’s take a look at how it works.
How does Guided Selling work with LimeChat’s Level-3 AI shopping assistant?
Engage customers before they drop-off
Shoppers who come to your website have high intent of buying from you. Yet, at this crucial time, they can hesitate because they cannot find their answer on your product page or cannot find what they are looking for.
If you prompt them and offer assistance and guidance, they are far more likely to finish their purchase.
Guide shoppers to find the perfect solution for their needs.
Your brand may have 30 different foundation colours or different bikes for different levels of athletes – matching the right product for your customer’s needs will lead to a sale and repeat purchase.
You cared enough to make sure they find the perfect product for them. So why won’t customers return to you?
An online shopping assistant asks questions, understands intent, and narrows products based on answers. Then, leveraging the AI engine, the assistant guides shoppers to the best-fit product.
Address product-specific queries to boost confidence
Online shopping involves stress and anxiety, and lots of apprehensions too. So it is best to instantly clear all of the shopper’s doubts to boost confidence and give that nudge to buy.
Like an in-store consultant, the AI assistant answers all of the shoppers’ queries specific to the product.
For personal care brands, it could be about ingredients, expiry date, usage, benefits, and side effects.
It could also be order-related- sending timely notifications on their delivery rate, processing returns, or even reminding them that it’s time for a refill is all possible with conversational AI.
How does it Benefit Your Customers?
Let’s take a look at how guided selling can delight your customers-
Reduces Choice Overload
In Conversational AI, collaborative filtering plays an important role wherein it helps predict accurate predictions based on the user’s interests.
It makes your customer feel in charge of their shopping experience while you narrow down options as you talk to them.
Eases Decision Making
Humans are anxious shoppers – and are far more likely to purchase when they feel reassured that they are making the right choice.
A detailed, complicated website or a beautiful visual design doesn’t always make for a convincing PDP, but for the sake of SEO, you may have to compromise on clarity sometimes.
You can balance that by guiding and advising your customers after they’ve put in the effort of coming to your website.
Personalizes Shopping Experience
Take a look at these two conversations.
Hi, what will suit my acne-prone skin
Hi Riya, do you have any other skin problems?
Yes, it’s also very sensitive.
Okay. For your skin, we recommend starting with product A 3 times a week and following up with Product B at night. Will you like to check out its reviews?
Here are a few testimonials from our customers. If you’re interested in buying, we also have a discount code. Please use RIA10 on checkout.
Let’s compare it to the below where a generic chatbot was used-
Hi, what will suit my acne-prone skin
Hi, you can find out skincare products here- LINK.
Which one is more personalised for the customer? There is no doubt that the first instance will lead to more sales while the second to more drop-offs.
Addresses queries instantly
How irritating is it to wait for a response from a customer support representative?
With AI enabling chatbots to respond within 45 seconds, internet-savvy customers expect this from all ecommerce brands, irrespective of whether you have a chatbot.
A customer needs to wait only seconds for personalised recommendations with guided selling. Immediacy is key for customer support in 2022 and will drive your sales.
How to Choose a Guided Selling Tool
There are different ways to enable guided selling on your website, like sizing guides, AI-generated mock-ups of your homes to imagine the product in your house, quizzes, or chatbots.
It depends on your product catalogue – how difficult is it for a customer to decide what to get from your range of products?
What is the percentage of people who will be satisfied with a landing page instead of talking live to someone from your customer support team?
We do think a mix of both approaches is necessary- create relevant self-help pages that the customer can easily access.
But what if they can’t find that page?
You might just need to send them the link through the chat- do you get why having both can help?
Here’s the crux of the matter, however- you can run quizzes through live chat, Messenger, Instagram DMs, and Whatsapp, which is far more personalised than reading a product finder landing page.
Especially with level 3 AI, your brand can engage with a customer, and the chatbot will modify its responses each time the customer types.
You can access this data through a single help desk to run omnichannel guided selling campaigns with LimeChat.
We also have deep integrations with Shopify apps and several e-commerce templates that can automate your customer support strategy.
You can learn more by booking a demo with us here!
This post is the first 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.