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What is Guided Selling: A Comprehensive Guide
By
January 11, 2022

Why is guided selling important for ecommerce store owners?

Today online shoppers are faced with more options and touchpoints than ever before. It is a lot easy for them to fall into decision fatigue which leaves them with 3 options…

  • Abandon their digital carts because their desired needs aren’t being met
  • Add something else to their cart, without thinking too much about it and end up being dissatisfied with the purchase (don’t we hate it when this happens?)
  • Hand over the decision-making responsibility to someone else

With the wide variety of options shoppers are faced with today they want to feel in control, be able to discover new products for themselves, and head towards making the buying decision.

You have to give your customers the right number of choices to make them feel in control. However, don’t go overboard with it because that may give them the feeling that it’s nearly impossible to narrow down to a particular choice. Or worse, push them to make the wrong call, in which case they end up with the wrong product.

Guided selling allows your customers to maintain control of the shopping experience, and enable them to make more confident buying decisions.

Studies indicate that 51% of the world’s most advanced organizations will implement or improve guided selling strategies in the next 5 years.

Now that we have got you thinking about guided selling, let us explain the concept to you in detail. In this blog post we will cover;

  • What is guided selling?
  • How does it work?
  • Why is it important?
  • It’s an application with a couple of top-notch examples. I’m

So let’s get straight to it.

What is guided selling?

Guided selling is a sales technique, applicable to almost all types and categories of selling within B2B and B2C environments. These include inside sales, outside sales, brick and mortar, retail, and e-commerce sales models.

The guided selling process involves getting salespeople to work hand-in-hand with potential customers to connect them to products and services that fulfill their needs.

To give customers the best kind of advice, sales reps should have the ability to understand what they are looking for and how they intend to use their products.

Moreover, since each use case is different, guided selling is a very personalized process requiring a good amount of time and resources to be invested in it.

To thrive at guided selling, sales teams should first gain a good understanding of what it is, then learn how to use it, and finally, implement those tactics and techniques needed to stay successful at it.

Guided selling can be viewed as an extension of the user experience, gently nudging customers down the purchasing path. It is an added gem in your quest for increasing conversions.

It gives you ample insights into user behavior, helping you enhance their experience and journey from product discovery to decision making.

How does guided selling work?

Just like how a well-informed sales associate operates — guided selling solutions listen to shoppers, get an understanding of their wants, educate them about the products available with their features and benefits, and recommend products that match their specific needs.

Here’s how it works:

Understand a shoppers’ needs

Guided selling solutions engage in interactive dialogues with consumers, asking them a few questions about their preferences and wants to understand apparent and latent consumer needs.

With CRM integration, questionnaires can be customized to only ask questions that are relevant to a particular user. Answers given can be fed back into the CRM to support personalized customer service and communication.

Confirm inventory and product availability

Next up, checks on inventory levels and product availability are made and a list of products that best match customer expectations is arrived at.

Make product recommendations to the shopper

At this stage, specific products are recommended to meet the shopper’s needs. Shoppers don’t have to go through a dozen products to figure out which one is ideal for them, instead, they can focus on a select few that are relevant to their needs.

Sell based on value, rather than on price.

Guided selling tools can help users understand the full impact of the choices they make and guide them through the decision-making process.

By engaging with users at a more relatable and less technical level, guided selling points customers to the benefits of the products and services being offered, which would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

With guided selling, you have ample opportunities to sell on value, instead of price and upsell without seeming pushy.

Why is interactive guided shopping important?

Let’s take a look at some statistics that define shopper behavior.

These numbers speak for themselves. Shoppers are looking for support, personalization, and sound advice when they engage with your business.

What are the benefits of guided shopping?

Let’s take a quick look at what interactive guided shopping can do for your brand and shoppers with 5 tangible benefits:

1) Reduce choices and decision fatigue

Guided selling reduces the number of choices that are given to shoppers presenting them with just the ones that match their needs.

2) Capture real-time feedback

Real-time feedback can be gathered through guided selling. The questionnaires help you get quick and accurate feedback on customer preferences and choices.

3) Personalize recommendations

With guided shopping, you can suggest products that are tailored to the buyer’s expectations and needs, and prevent abandonment.

4) Engage in better conversations

Guided selling gives as much information to shoppers as possible making them feel confident about the purchase and leading them to pay for and complete the transaction. Guided selling boosts sales and generates better conversations.

5) Extend session duration

Session duration helps you know how long a shopper stays on your website. The longer the engagement, the better your chances at creating sales.

Guided sales help create a more pleasant shopping experience. Complexity is reduced and shopping is made easier.

Examples of guided shopping

The main goal of online guided selling is to recreate the in-store consultative experience which offers a targeted list of products to shoppers based on their answers to a series of questions.

This could be as simple as asking a few questions on who will be using the product, what the budget is, what color they prefer, etc. The idea is to replicate the string of questions that a sales assistant would normally ask a customer at a brick-and-mortar store.

A lot of companies have successfully employed online guided selling tools.

Stitch Fix

A good example of this is Stitch Fix’s Style Quiz, a guided selling tool that uses data collected from quizzes to help employees style a personalized order for shoppers. Stitch Fix also uses the data to deliver relevant and personalized content to users via email.

Sephora

Sephora’s beauty insider is a classic example of guided selling at its best. It makes product recommendations based on a simple and clear understanding of user needs.

Customers are asked to select from a range of characteristics, like skincare, hair, and hair color concerns. Sephora then presents them with ‘personalized picks’ from beauty experts.

Sephora also uses the opportunity to collect information about users for future reference.

LightsOnline

Another great example of guided selling would be LightsOnline, which is the e-commerce division of Progressive Lighting.

Their ultimate goal is to help users identify their lighting needs and offer products that fit their budget, style, and home requirements. LightsOnline has implemented Skafos.ai’s Interactive Product Finder widget in their ceiling fan category which helps shoppers discover the perfect fan. This move resulted in a 165% hike in sales.

KitchenAid

Taking an example from the electronic goods industry, where guided selling is key, there is the KitchenAid product finder tool. This tool provides product recommendations after asking a series of questions to customers about their personality, preferences, and what they would use the product for. This again closely resembles the questions that would be asked by an in-store sales assistant if a customer visits a physical store.

How to implement a guided shopping tool with Skafos?

A good guided selling tool needs to be one that quickly engages a customer and builds a rapport with them, just as a sales assistant would — that’s exactly what Skafos is here for!

Here are some best practices to design a successful guided selling experience using Skafos.

Engage your customers instantaneously

It takes only a few seconds for a visitor to decide whether they want to stay on your page or leave. Use Skafos interactive product finder to let shoppers give feedback on items they like or dislike, so you can help them find what they’re shopping for without making them jump through hoops.

Realize that omnichannel shopping is the way forward

Customers research and pick products on different platforms — online, in-store, or on their mobile phones. Your guided selling solution should be mobile-friendly and should integrate smoothly into your website.

Open up Inventory

Show your customers products that are relevant to their needs and direct them in identifying the right product. Use Skafos to display similar products or suggest complementary products that will add more value to their purchase.

Build rapport

Ask the right questions, give details on why the suggested product was chosen. It’s reassuring and helps the customer feel confident about their decision. Using Skafos’ real-time shopper interactions, they share rich insights and data that will help users make the right purchase decision.

Product Strength Index by Skafos.ai

Guided selling is the way forward

With the market getting only more complex and dynamic, your sales team already has a lot on their hands. You need a scalable guided selling solution.

Take no chances here, Skafos’ guided selling mechanism was built to help buyers discover the right products, make the best choice and keep them coming back to your business for more.