eCommerce Product Finders: Definition, Benefits, & Examples

Whether you call it a product finder, product advisor, or recommendation quiz, it’s virtually all the same. Learn how to design and build one. 

Nikole Wintermeier | Nov 16, 2021

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Whether you call it a product finder, product advisor, or recommendation quiz, it’s virtually all the same. Learn how to design and build one. 

You’re looking to buy a new coffee machine. Typically, you enter a store. A shop assistant greets you. 

“Hi, how can I help you?”

But you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Plus, there are just so many machines you could choose from. 

The sales assistant says, “I’m here to help. What kind of coffee do you drink?”

They ask you a series of questions to assess your needs, desires, and lifestyle. With this information, they guide you to the best coffee machine. 

You’re matched with the perfect product – perfect for your coffee of choice, with the perfect functionalities for you and your family, and one that is recommended by the expert (sales assistant). 

It’s so perfect you never have to return it. Every Monday you wake up to the smell of perfectly brewed coffee. 

Now imagine this experience online. 

Product finders are basically a kind of in-stores sales assistant. They ask a series of questions to recommend products to the customer and guide the sale.

Online, this boosts conversions – a secondary goal. But product finders also lower returns, ultimately creating a guided selling experience that is interactive, informative, and human. 

So product finders don’t simply copy the in-store sales assistant online. They take it one step ahead: Elevating the discovery experience through: 

  • Personalization
  • Conversational intelligence 
  • Data analysis

Analyzing and leveraging data from your product finders is key – but falls outside the scope of this article. If you want to learn how to do this in-depth, download our ebook at the end of this post. 

This article will be a springboard to your eCommerce product finder learning. I’ll show you seven examples of the best product finders on the market so you have a better idea of where to get started. 

Let’s go. 



What is an eCommerce product finder?

 

eCommerce product finders

 

An eCommerce product finder is basically a quiz wizard that asks the shopper questions to identify their needs and wants. Based on the shopper’s answers, the finder recommends the perfect product(s). 

eCommerce product finders create a dialogue with your customers so that you can help them make better decisions, throughout their customer journeys and as they navigate your webshop funnel. 

For more guided selling examples, like virtual filtering or product comparison, check out this blog post.  

 

What’s the difference between a Product Finder and a Product Quiz? 

 

Product Quizzes often have a set of rules they generate answers from (like a decision tree). They have hard-coded recommendations with static answers. 

Product Finders, on the other hand, are often AI-optimized and use machine learning algorithms to recommend one perfect product (rather than a product page, style, or multiple products). The difference is that the answers are smart, and can be dynamic

Both are great guided selling tools that drive decision-making on your webshop. 

And if driving decision-making isn’t enough of a reason, there are plenty more reasons why you should start with product finders today. 

 

Why should I implement a product finder today? 

 

1. Your customers are drowning in choice


 

eCommerce product finder choice overload

Source

Choice overload is very real. It’s the feeling you get when you’re trying to think of what to cook. Or what Netflix show to put on. Or whether to have that final drink. 

Ultimately, choice overload causes hesitation, frustration, and, in more extreme cases, anxiety. In retail, choices saturate the market. We’ve never had so many running shoes, cosmetics, and electronics brands as we do today. 

How do you make your products stand out?

Product finders help narrow down choices for your customers. They act as a filter to match a customer with their perfect product for them. 

This works by: 

  • Pointing out products that matter
  • Giving tailored recommendations
  • Showing personalized information to increase buyer confidence 

 

2. Shoppers miss the human touch online


eCommerce product finder walle

Human tech dystopia of Wall-e

 

According to MarketingTech,

  • 66% of shoppers miss the ability to try on products online 
  • 64% miss touching and feeling products
  • 17% say online shopping lacks the advice of sales assistants 

With more people shopping online than ever before, it’s clear there’s something missing in the eCommerce experience. Customers still want a tactile and interactive product discovery process. 

Product finders let customers interact with the products, and bring human conversation into the online environment. 

Consumer purchasing decisions are formed by emotions (according to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio). If you can create an empathetic buying experience at crucial touchpoints in the customer’s journey, you can bring the human online. 

With product finders, you listen to your customers and offer them relevant products based on their answers. 

 

3. Reducing returns is a top business priority 
eCommerce product finder reduce returns

Forbes estimates that 30% of all purchases are returned. The increase in impulse buying during the pandemic also indicates how retailers need to provide better product information to keep return these rates under control. 

In fact, 60-65% of returns are linked to product information quality and decision-making. 

So the best way to reduce returns? Provide clear product information at crucial moments and products that fit in line with the customer’s context. 

In this way, product finders reduce returns because they provide: 

  • A unique product recommendation (based on the customer’s answers) 
  • Condensed product information (usually from the product detail page (PDP))
  • The opportunity for customers to learn more about a product 

For example, coupling your product finders with a product comparison tool is a great way to take your product discovery one step further. 



4. Customer data is becoming more and more protected


eCommerce product finder data

Apple’s ITP policy

Customers today expect two things when shopping online:

  1. Data privacy and security 
  2. Personalized customer experiences 

Product finders actually address both of these things, future-proofing your webshop for a cookie-less future. 

That’s because product finders collect customer-approved data (i.e., zero-party data) by asking questions to the customer directly, and then recommending the perfect product based on their answers. 

It’s a win-win for the brand and customer.

 

When should I use a product finder?


eCommerce product finders

In short, product finders are great too: 

  • Simplify complex products
  • Show your product attributes in a way that resonates
  • Match shoppers to the products that they seek 
  • Guide shoppers to the product detail page (PDP) 
  • Encourage purchase behavior
  • Build brand authority and expertise 
  • Understand your customer’s psychographics
  • Enable category or product line recommendations for future re-targeting 
  • Guide shoppers through the webshop funnel so they can navigate your website better

Let’s take a look at the best product finders we’ve seen out there, from sports to electronics to beauty. 

Plus – for your eyes only – our behavioral designers let you in on the secret of why they’re so great. 



7 amazing product finders across seven categories (+ why we love them)



1. ASICS is the running expert 



eCommerce product finder sports market

 

The aim of the ASICS Running Shoe Finder was to bring the in-store sales assistant online and help runners find the perfect shoe that fit their running goals and profiles.

Plus, ASICS is competing with running shoe brands like Nike, so they wanted to make their products stand out.


eCommerce product finder optimize

Their running shoe finder was a chance to leverage guided selling on their webshop, teach their customers about their running shoes (showing their expertise), and learn more about their shoppers in the process. 

Their finder asks a series of questions to determine the shopper’s demographics, preferences, and goals. 


eCommerce product finder asics

Based on the answers, ASICS recommends the perfect running shoe. Coupled with a CTA that directs the shopper to the shoe’s PDP.


eCommerce product finder asics

ASICS’ running shoes are one of the best on the market, but their Japanese ethos means they don’t shout about it. 

For a long time, the brand struggled with two things:

  1. Simplifying the superior technology of their products
  2. Pointing out the product attributes that mattered to their customers 

Their running Shoe Finder alleviates both of these pain points, and shows their customers why their shoes can compete in the running market. 

The product finder generated an average 53% conversion rate uplift. 

 

2. Taylor Made makes golfing sexy again  

 

eCommerce product finder sports market

 

The great thing about Taylor Made is that they cut the crap and get straight to the chase. Because they’re selling pretty niche and technical products, they know that whoever’s coming to their website will already have a bit of product knowledge. 


eCommerce product finder psychology
eCommerce product finder sport

For example, they don’t need to explain the words ‘handicap’ or ‘iron’. What’s also great about their product finder is its interactivity. 


eCommerce product finder golf

They make the process dynamic by letting users interact with each question through drag and drop. The more someone is engaged in the process the more they’ll,  

  1. Continue without getting bored
  2. Transfer a sense of ownership on the brand and product (leveraging the Endowment Effect)  


unique eCommerce product finder

 

For a sports brand, engagement like this is a great hook. Their % match is also a nice add-on, with a clear CTA to add-to-cart. 

 

3. Sephora keeping skincare simple stupid


eCommerce product finder beauty

Sephora’s skincare finder is another good example of guided selling in action. They have such a wide range of beauty products that they actually leverage multiple product finders for each category. 


eCommerce product finder sephora

This helps the shopper narrow down the search, letting products become more visible, whilst guiding the customer to the right kinds of products and treatments for their body. 


eCommerce product finder sephora beauty

We love this because it’s so simple, scalable, and repeatable. They use a multi-product results page since they’re offering guidance about a skincare routine rather than a singular product. 


eCommerce product finder sephora

The whole journey itself is no more than ten steps to avoid drop-off. It’s super simple and leverages the expertise of the brand to make the best suggestion for the shopper. 


4. Gainful’s omnichannel gains


eCommerce product finder gainful

 

Gainful’s product finder is all about what you see is what you get. They say from the start how long the guided selling finder will take (‘5 mins’), why they ask the questions they do (‘getting to know you’), and what types of questions they’ll ask (dietary, goals, psychology). 


eCommerce product finder optimize

They also show how far in the journey the customer is (one of the few product finders in the market that does this, yay!). Each question has the option for the user to understand why the brand asks for this information in the first place. 


eCommerce product finder psychology

 

In the age of the rapidly rising savvy consumer who wants to know exactly where their data is going, it’s always a good idea to have an info bubble. Gainful do this graciously – and are even transparent about their birthday emails. 

eCommerce product finder psychology

 

Gainful also leverages the loading screen psychology. It doesn't actually take time to look for a product online, but recreating the “I’ll go look in the back!” feeling of in-store makes the experience more human. 

Gainful does this by ticking off each part of the product finder questions. 


eCommerce product finder email marketing
eCommerce product finders

 

Gainful’s final gold is finally in their email marketing. They take the product finder results to this channel in order to customize the results profile for the shopper. 

Plus, users have the opportunity to talk with a nutrition guide who now has their profile and can tailor their treatment based on the product finder answers. 


5. Harts & Stur turn attributes into benefits


eCommerce product finder harts and stur

After all – turning attributes into benefits is what coffee is all about! In other words, making something scientific sound tasty. That’s what Harts & Stur do with their coffee machine finder. 

They frame their questions from attributes (e.g., color) to preference. Plus, they include a ‘no preference’ option, which is a human way to guide the shopper – not everyone has a preference all the time. 

eCommerce product finder harts and stur

 

 eCommerce product finders harts and stur

 

Their product finder visuals are there to support the text. They show how far the shopper is in their journey, leveraging the Goal Gradient Effect. This is the theory that suggests individuals are more motivated to carry on when they see how close they’ve come to their goal. 

eCommerce product finders

 

And everything stays within their brand voice and style. In the end, they suggest multiple product recommendations that could go well, and even show the attributes that are lacking from the so-called ‘perfect match’ above. 


6. Coolblue’s TV finder is both cool and blue

eCommerce product finder

 

Although not immediately pleasing to the eye, Coolblue’s product finder is everything the brand promises to be; functional, informative, and, well, blue. 


eCommerce product finder  coolblue

It’s so on-brand, you feel like you’re actually talking to one of their salespeople. For example, every option you can choose has a small paragraph explaining what you need to know about the option in question. 


eCommerce product finder examples

 

They also hand-hold the customer through the journey, showing how many televisions are found after each answer is recorded, much like navigating an in-store shop. 

eCommerce product finder coolblue

 

But for an electronics marketplace, this is a great product finder because it can’t get more ‘in-store’ than this.

They ask questions to narrow down the choices, display all the important information you need in order to buy a TV, and in doing so simplify the technical nature of these TVs. 

If you’re a marketplace seller, think about how you can decrease choice overload in the best, most human way possible. 

 

7. KitchenAid combines customization with a product finder 



eCommerce product finder example

KitchenAid’s product finder is interactive, combining customizing options with the finder itself. 


eCommerce product finder example

So shoppers can customize the color of the blender, and even have the option to engrave something on it. 


eCommerce product finder example

 

KitchenAid also integrates an up or cross-sell function within the finder itself, since this is a product that is often bought with a ceramic bowl. 

If you want to do this, make sure you include the price for every added item (or customers will be more likely to bounce if the price comes surprisingly high at the end of the finder).

KitchenAid shows the price on the right side – it’s clear, transparent, and has a clear CTA. 


eCommerce product finder example

 

Once again, the more customers can interact and engage with the products (drag and drop, customizing, pinch, and zoom) the more they’ll transfer a sense of ownership to the whole process. 

This leverages the Endowment Effect, which is a psychological principle that will likely drive purchase behavior, and influence the add-to-cart click. 



Turning product finder data into actionable insights


eCommerce product finder data

 

Implementing a product finder on your eCommerce platform is great. 

But guess what? 

Your product finder strategy doesn’t stop there. In effect, without collecting data from your product finders you won’t be able to:

  • Continuously optimize the flow
  • Up and cross-sell your products and/or collection
  • Learn what your customers love about your products
  • Supplement your psychographic segmentation 
  • Optimize your marketing campaigns

Data can be daunting. Yet, without it, your eCommerce store won’t be able to anticipate the market better. 

At Crobox we offer a product finder dashboard that is both editable and customizable, so you can centralize the data from your guided selling tool in one place.

Get in touch to see it in action. 

For more on unique ways to make your product finder data actionable, download the ebook below. In it, we also show you how to design and build your product finders in the most conversion-driven and customer-centric way

Read it here:

product-finders