Today’s digital customers don’t have a lot of time to waste. They want to visit, quickly browse, and easily purchase the products most relevant to them. For this reason, leading online retailers like Marks & Spencer and Neiman Marcus are placing customer experience as priority #1.
Guided selling tools are one approach Marks & Spencer uses to provide recommendations for customers based on their unique interests.
When done well, guided selling tools can surface the right content at the right time to engage each customer. But doing this well can be tricky. A poor guided selling experience can irritate customers and even damage a brand.
Here are a few tips that companies can use to create killer guided selling tools that make an impact with customers and your online revenue.
1. Add Value for Your Customers
Is your tool simply putting forward your company’s products and sales agenda, or is it bringing forward what your customer truly wants and needs?An effective guided selling tool puts the customer first and should be created from a service mentality of adding value to the shopper. Guided selling tools are not recommendation engines with the “you might also like…” approach to selling.
2. Enable Easy Discovery of Inventory
Is there anything more annoying than clicking 8 to 10 times to get to find what you’re looking for on a website? Guided selling tools should reduce the number of clicks a customer makes before adding an item to the cart.Use eye-catching visuals to draw attention to the breadth of your product catalog. By presenting a wide array of relevant product options, customers can discover items easier and quicker – and they’re more likely to convert.
3. Immediately Engage the Audience
Today, time is our most precious resource. A recent study found that 55% of viewers spend less than 15 seconds on a website. It’s more critical than ever for retailers to make an impression quickly – and 79% of marketers say it’s a major challenge to get people’s attention.Guided selling tools can help engage consumers in these first critical seconds. A visually appealing experience that encourages user interaction captures attention, keeps people on the site longer, and encourages them to come back.
4. Make Mobile a Priority
Retail and merchandising are increasingly shifting from brick and mortar shops to mobile phones. Earlier this year, RetailMeNot released a study which found that “Europeans are set to spend about 45 billion Euros via mobile devices in 2015, an increase of 88.7% on 23.8 billion euros in 2014.”They also found that North Americans were quickly following this trend in Europe with online spending on mobile reaching 41.9 billion Euros last year.These stats speak for themselves: for better conversion rates on smartphones, prioritize the mobile and tablet shopping experience.
5. Speed the Path to Purchase
With a guided selling tool, providing value and service to the consumer remains job #1. But it’s important to remember that seamless purchasing is also critical for a guided selling tool. The tool should not only help consumers locate the products they want to buy but also make it incredibly simple for them to do so.Include quick views, buy the look functionality, or product page links within a guided sales tool experience. Then, you’ll deliver exceptional customer experiences that also drive exceptional revenues.
Interested in learning about Marks & Spencer’s approach to online retailing and merchandising? Hear Site Optimisation Manager Matthias Geist discuss their approach to shoppable content or read the Marks & Spencer case study.