In a previous article in the #SMARTInsights series on How to run a successful Guided Selling project, Leah Livingston shared some great insights and tips around the smooth execution of your Guided Selling initiative. In it, she stressed the importance of defining what you want to achieve with Guided Selling before starting your project. An important question you have to answer as you move on is how to integrate your solution to maximize your success.
Knowing the answer will help you to focus your efforts and will make you successful at providing the right visitors with the right level of decision support in the right moment. Here are some best practice tips to help you figure out how to integrate your digital advice solution in the customer journey.
Gather knowledge about the shoppers that need your advice
Yes, we’ve seen it many a time. Guided Selling is, in fact, a powerful way how businesses can convert visitors, increase average order value and customer satisfaction. However, you won’t be able to create these benefits for your organization unless you understand your audience and the buyer journey.
Some considerations to make before you get going:
- Who are you targeting with your solution? Create basic buyer personas that will help you build out information about the different types of visitors you’re aiming to support
- How do your visitors navigate when searching for a product? Employ heat map analysis tools to identify which clicks are defining the typical buyer’s journey
- Where are you losing potential conversions? By delving deeper into your analytics and by analyzing bounces, you will be able to see where exactly potential customers are having troubles and are dropping out of the buyer’s journey.
Once you understand your audience and their struggles, you can move on to decide where and how to best integrate your interactive advice solution.
Where to integrate your Guided Selling solution?
TIP 1 Consider Mobile integration
Experts have been going on about the importance of mobile ad-nauseam over the past few years and they deserve credit – they have been right all along. Mobile usage is on the rise, as customers are increasingly using their mobile devices to research products with the intent to buy later on. Its availability and ease of use make mobile a very important touch point in the customer journey you shouldn’t underestimate.
Making your interactive product advisors available to mobile shoppers has to be part of your strategy.
In the last year, we’ve measured a significant rise in mobile advisor process starts by over 45%.
This trend indicates a growing demand for advice solutions that are easy-to-use and capable of helping mobile shoppers figure out the most suitable product on the go, without having to deal with intricate navigations and without having to sift through dozens of product pages on their mobile devices.
Also, consider offering options to save, email, or share the consultation result to ensure a seamless journey across devices.
TIP 2 Create an Advisor Landing page
In most instances the buyer’s purchase journey starts with an organic search. A report by Econsultancy shows that 61% of consumers are using search engines when making a purchase decision. If you are not yet in the lucky position to acquire the majority of your visitors via direct traffic, organic search and paid ads are your chance to increase awareness, create interest and inspire people to consider you in their purchase-decision process.
Know that at this early stage of the buyer journey, shoppers aren’t necessarily interested in your brand or product. They have only just realized a need and are usually more interested in researching available options and identifying how well these options match their needs. Thus, they are seeking educational content such as reviews, testimonials, product guides, and expert advice, which helps them narrow their consideration set and move forward in their journey.
Create an advisor landing page that targets research-based keywords or combine it with paid ads.
For several product categories, we can see via Semrush that the search volumes for long-tail keywords such as “Which [product] should I buy”, “[Product] Guide”, “[Product] Finder”, “[Product] Advisor”, “[Product] Selector”, “[Product] Buying Guide”, “[Product] Chooser”, etc. have been increasing steadily over the past years.
By setting up a dedicated advisor landing page, you will be able to get the attention of advice-seeking shoppers, make them aware of your digital advisors, and make sure they can quickly identify the products and solutions that match their individual needs – on your site.
TIP 3 Enhance your navigation menu and category overview page
One of the most frequently used features on any website is the global category navigation menu. It is usually activated by customers who are doing research on your website and haven’t fully decided what they want. It provides them with an overview of the breadth and depth of what is available in your store and should make navigating more quickly and effectively. However, as websites expand, the navigation menu expands and ends up being a convoluted arrangement of complicated, shallow or ambiguous category labels that make navigation hard.
More often than not this leads to customer confusion, which will certainly make you miss out on potential conversions and will impact the overall perception of your store.
Integrate your advisors to showcase your USP directly in the global navigation and on category subpages.
We have seen that this integration option turns out to be very successful with shoppers in an explorative stage. It saves your visitors time, avoids frustration, shows them that you care, and makes it easy for them to decide what to do next.
Considering that customers are more fickle than ever, it has become more important not to overwhelm them, but to provide them with support, advice, and guidance. Studies show that shoppers who find a store’s site generally useful, are more apt to buy from that store, even if the prices are slightly higher.
TIP 4 Improve your search navigation and product browsing
Unlike drop-down menus, the search box is used by shoppers who know exactly what they are looking for. It means that they have already done their research. Ensuring product findability and reinforcing purchase decision confidence are key to your business success — because, if they can’t find a product, they can’t buy it and if they aren’t sure about it, they are less likely to follow through.
If shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for they’ll be patient in the beginning, but will quickly grow tired and will give up on you to look for alternatives elsewhere. Only if you’ve already established a level of trust with your shoppers, you might get a few more chances to get it right, but even that’s not a given.
So how do you stop that? How do you reduce the time your visitors need to find the product they are looking for and how do you help them recover from an unsuccessful search quickly?
You have to make it easy for visitors to find their desired products – It’s simple as that. Use your advisors to make searching, finding and choosing products as seamless and hassle-free as possible.
- Let your search box automatically suggest a suitable product finder according to search intent
- Integrate your product finder on the after-search navigation page – especially if the search wasn’t successful
- Reference your product finder on product detail pages to allow your customer to scope out whether the viewed product or solution really does best suit their needs
Keep in mind: A survey by Econsultancy showed that 83% of experienced shoppers and 91% of those with limited online shopping experience need some form of support during their online journey. And, half of online shoppers (51%) will either try once or give up immediately when seeking help before an online purchase.
The integration of Guided Selling solutions within the search navigation and on product detail pages has proven to be among the most successful integration methods.
In A/B Tests with several retailers, we have measured an average 60% increase in advisor starts and a minimum 13% increase in conversion rates when making interactive advisors available in the context of a search or product page.
I hope you can make good use of these best practices tips and examples that we’ve collected and evaluated over the past years. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me (see below) or comment, if you need help to get started with your Guided Selling project. And if you want to see what Guided Selling can do for your business, request a risk-free trial of SMARTASSISTANT today – smartassistant.com/free-trial.