In theory, creating an effective product finder shouldn’t be too hard: Ask your shoppers a few questions, present them with their choices, get them to buy. Easy, right? Well, not quite.
Whenever done right, interactive product finders can generate increased conversion and sales. However, much too often businesses do not put enough thought into crafting the dialogue in a need-oriented fashion (so they basically end up with yet another filter) or fail to design the interaction flow in a way that makes their product finders not confusing for shoppers.
The 4 most important elements you have to consider to create helpful product finders are
- find the right number of questions (be entertaining)
- ask each shopper the right questions (be personal)
- educate shoppers and generate useful recommendations (be valuable)
- make product finders available wherever shoppers need them (be universal)
Product finders or product advisors are designed to mimic consultative sales processes in the store and should help shoppers narrow down a list of products to a manageable few based on individual preferences and needs. They aim at making choosing easier for different types of shoppers.
An often overlooked aspect in this context is responsive design. Shoppers increasingly use their mobile phones to find inspiration for their next shopping spree or to decide on a product to purchase. The more reason for using interactive and adaptive product finders to offer them intuitive and easy ways to navigate the assortment and arrive at a definite purchase decision. Therefore, whenever you think about creating a product finder, start mobile-first and bear in mind that your product finders have to work and look good on mobile devices too.
For those of you looking for a few role models, we’ve put together a mix of our 3 favorite product finders.
Swisscom Mobile plan advisor – Making complex look simple
Let’s face it: Choosing the right mobile data plan can be extremely difficult. Telecommunications is simply a complex field with tons of different providers, plans and options to choose from. Swisscom found a way to strip away the complexity and make it easy for consumers to pick the right mobile plan. If there’s a theme that Swisscom’s product finder embodies, it’s simplicity. The fewer hoops a consumer has to jump through, the more likely they are to buy!
Keep in mind, Swisscom still manages to illustrate everything important and addresses the needs of the consumer in its product finder. With a little finesse, you can educate and provide solutions for your shoppers without overloading them with information.
PishPoshBaby – Asking the right questions
There’s quite a bit you can learn from PishPoshBaby’s stroller advisor. You’ll notice here that this is a product advisor designed with specificity in mind. It asks several need-oriented questions based on different shopper personas and adapts the question flow accordingly. The more you look at PishPoshBaby and their product advisor, the more you respect how well it has balanced every aspect of providing interactive product advice.
Determining the ideal amount of questions can be somewhat challenging. Playing around with the number of questions and A/B-testing different versions is always a good way to figure out the best number for your specific case and advisor.
Otto’s Style Advice – Creating a personal experience
The first thing you notice is the emphasis on graphics and the personal lifestyle of the shopper. The advisor clearly focuses on the visual and emotive experience and asks a series of lifestyle questions (such as “Which city can you identify with the most”) that do not bore shoppers to tears but manage to keep the shopper’s attention and curiosity as to what the result would be. Once the decisions have been made, Otto presents a style that is closest to the shopper’s personal preferences and also suggests an outfit to match.
Otto makes an effort to make every style feel like a good choice. Why? Because that way, whatever the consumer identifies with, they’ll feel positive about their choice. Engaging graphics, helpful descriptions, responsive layouts and additional options right after the recommendation…it’s product advising, streamlined.
Whenever a product finder is done right, it becomes an effective way for you to engage your shoppers and convert them into buyers, while developing trust in the process.
My advice: Better do it right.
If you are looking for more examples of effective product finders, check out our 2016 digital advisor roundup.