7 Guided Selling Examples: eCommerce Product Discovery in Action

In the digital and dynamic world of eCommerce, it’s impossible to guess why your customers shop with you. 

Nikole Wintermeier | Jul 14, 2021

guided-selling-examples

In the digital and dynamic world of eCommerce, it’s impossible to guess why your customers shop with you. 

Why do they buy the products they do?

How do they find the products they’re looking for?

What products are they even looking for in the first place?

These questions can’t be solved by guesswork, which is why data is so important for your eCommerce success. But on the flip side, you’re struggling to be data-driven. 

You want every decision you make to be data-backed, but you have just so much of it at your disposal. You’re not alone. Your competitors also wrestle with making data actionable. 

So what do you do?

Guided selling is the tool that enables eCommerce product discovery. It’s so effective and future-proof because it works at the intersection of data and customer-centricity. 

You’re not only helping your shoppers find the perfect products, but you’re also gathering intel on how they navigate your guided selling in real-time. 

To tell you the truth, you can do it all: Guide, advise, and start conversations with your shoppers, while also collecting information about what products they’re looking for, how they’re finding these products, and why they’re buying them. 

See the pattern?

Sure, guided selling is a sure-fire conversion driver. But its beauty lies in generating unique data based on:

  1. The customer journey (search & discovery data)
  2. Your product profiles (attribute and benefits data)

Before you shout; But how???? I’m going to show you some really awesome examples. Seven, in fact. 

With each of these data-driven guided selling examples, you’ll see how to personalize your eCommerce product discovery. 

 

When would my shoppers use a guided selling tool?

 

Before we jump in, let’s take a look at how effective guided selling is - both psychologically and for your business KPIs. 

 

1. The psychological benefit of guided selling



guided selling examples

I had a chat with our in-house behavioral designer to answer this question. For your eyes online, here’s his expert advice:

“People tend to use guided selling tools if they’re unsure or hesitant about what to buy. You can help them make decisions while saying, “I’m listening to you”. 

When people need to pick a product, they need help. They either look to the behavior of the group (as in Social Proof), or they look to Authority. Guided selling leverages Authority because shoppers put their trust in the retailer to find them the best product.

It’s like consulting an in-store expert - except online. So you have to make sure your customers feel heard, which is why the design of your questions need to be influenced by a sound understanding of who the customer is (psychologically), what makes them click online (their behavior).” - Patrick Oberstadt, Behavioral Designer at Crobox

 

2. The quick and easy wins of guided selling


When talking about cognitive biases and what motivates a person to trust your brand, psychology is a must. Recruiting a behavioral designer (or a UXer) could really take your guided selling to the next level. 

But aside from psychology, here are some quick and easy wins for your overall business goals. Guided selling: 

  • Reduces complexity in navigation
  • Simplifies complex products 
  • Streamlines the buying journey
  • Offers tailored advice and recommendations
  • Personalizes the customer experience
  • Optimizes the path to purchase (CRO!)
  • Reduces returns

But the most important part of guided selling is that you are actively collecting information about your customers in a data-safe way. 


guided selling examples guess who

Remember the game Guess Who? 

The more questions are answered, the more you narrow down who you’re talking to. Guided selling provides the behavioral data that will pave the way for moments-based personalization. 

Don’t worry - I’ll explain all of this in these seven guided selling examples. 

 

7 Guided Selling Examples for Data-Driven Excellence

 

1. Maybelline foundation finder


guided selling examples maybelline

How do you emulate an in-store sales expert online? 

Well maybe(lline) you simply ask? Guided selling is all about asking questions to your shoppers and then guiding them through the sales funnel based on their answers. 

Maybelline’s guided selling example does this by leveraging a chatbot to springboard product discovery. A real conversation starter (literally). 


guided selling examples maybelline 2

 

Chatbots are also a good strategy because you can tell your customers why you’re asking these questions in the first place. As a DTC brand, you can highlight your tone of voice and create that one-to-one connection the digital world often lacks. 

 

What’s great about this guided selling example (apply yourself):

  • Leverage chatbots
  • Let your brand tone of voice shine through
  • Leverage conversational intelligence to establish trust and authority as a brand
  • Take your guided selling chatbot to Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp to facilitate product discovery from different channels

 

What’s not-so-great about this guided selling example:

  • Shoppers may not always read that much text. 
Crobox Tip: The less text the better. Try one-sentence questions. When leveraging chatbots, make sure your copy is checked and checked again for brand tone-of-voice. Make it conversational (as if it’s a real person talking) to get rid of the resistance to automated messages. 



2. Anomalie styles your perfect wedding dress 



guided selling examples

While most shoppers use guided selling because they are goal-oriented, many will also use tools like this for inspiration. 

After all, product discovery is about both finding and exploring products. 

Guided selling is equally appealing for your discovery-oriented shoppers. Plus, these customers feed unique data back to you based on their answers. 

For example, Anomalie helps brides-to-be find their perfect wedding dress. They ask a series of questions accompanied by different photographs of the product in use so that shoppers can pick the styles they like the most. 

In the end, the webshop puts together the perfect style to match the shopper’s interests, goals, and even aspirations. 


guided selling examples

And the icing on the (wedding) cake? 

The data from the guided selling choices can be used by product creation teams: 

E.g, If many Anomalie customers click on the details like “long train” and “open back” together, their creative teams are learning that these are elements that resonate with their target audience. They could create similar dresses or looks based on these attributes.

Anomalie could also use this data to track trends. While “slit” and “lace” might be all the rage at one point in time, “high-neck” and “sleeves” might be the bridal must-have at another point in time. 

They could also track cultural or geographical differences. This is really important information to optimize marketing campaigns in the future: Here’s data that can be made actionable all throughout the supply chain! 

 

What’s great about this guided selling example (apply yourself):

  • Inspire your customers with your product range and styles by letting them choose what appeals to them
  • Lifestyle photos, when done right, or any accompanying visuals to show how the product moves is a big win for guided selling! 
  • Drive customers in-store based on how they explore your products (e.g., to try on)
  • Re-target on social media based on their answers

 

What’s not-so-great about this guided selling example:

  • Shoppers have over ten options to choose from per question. The common misconception is that the more you offer, the more you’ll win customers. But this strategy will create Choice Overload. 

Crobox Tip: Give shoppers two to three options to answer your question. Especially if you’re using real photographs, it’s important customers know where to look and not create information overload. 

 



3. IKEA’s comfort guide



guided selling examples

IKEA is the master of making stories around their products: They create homes from products (particularly purchases that are traditionally utilitarian). 


guided selling examples

 

Their “Comfort guide” recruits a similar strategy. They recommend multiple products that will help their customers set up the perfect sleep. Which is what makes it such a valuable journey for the end-customer….and, of course, IKEA. 


guided selling examples

 

What’s great about this guided selling example (apply yourself):

Data of this kind will also provide information to IKEA that could inform things like:

  • Product descriptions: For someone who can only sleep when it’s really cold (sue me), I’d like to know what kind of bedding won’t trap heat, what pillows give enough air, etc. This is something that the guided selling tool answers, and could be resued in the product description (e.g., dynamic product descriptions personalize what the person reads based on their context). 
  • Product taxonomy: If many customers click on the first option “My partner and I”, why not create a bedroom category especially for couples? 
  • Re-targeting for up or cross-selling: This involves sending similar bedroom products that will resonate with the shopper based on how they navigated the guided selling tool. 
  • Add CTAs to your final recommendation page so people can directly add-to-cart or buy!
  • Create a path that recommends products often bought together 
  • Have either a) a question asking for preferred price range or b) show the price in a very obvious way (especially if you’re selling high-margin products) 

 

What’s not-so-great about this guided selling example:



guided selling examples

  • Guided selling should never come to a “no results” page. 

Crobox Tip: IKEA actually circumvents this problem by offering other recommendations. They aren’t “perfect”, which is a shame, but it’s still a good idea to give choices no matter what. You could also place product badges on the products that are “best match” and “good match” to show a hierarchy of recommendations. 

4. Simple Wishes find your fit nursing bras



guided selling examples

Simple Wishes guides new mums to their perfect nursing bra. While this provides proactive assistance to their audience, this kind of communication doesn’t stop at the final recommendation. 

Instead, Simple Wishes can leverage the answers to analyze where moms are in their journeys, and then send them relevant educational content (as an example) to help them through their pregnancies. 

 

What’s great about this guided selling example (apply yourself):

  • Find a helpful tone of voice. You want to guide customers through the sale so you can support their lifestyles (not so you can sell them your products) 
  • Have a CTA that requires an email to be filled in, but not one that creates a barrier to seeing their guided selling recommendation 
  • Deliver educational content based on their answers to help them through their lifestyles (e.g., through email campaigns) 

What’s not-so-great about this guided selling example:

guided selling examples

  • Shoppers are obliged to enter their email. This is a CX barrier. 

Crobox Tip: Collecting emails is great, but users need to have a reason to give it to you. After all, this is private information. Instead, give your customers their results straight away, and ask for an email to a) download and share the result, or b) read more information about the product. 

 

5. Coolblue 


guided selling examples

Coolblue mostly sell electronics, so having a guided selling tool (for technical products):

  • Reduces complexity 
  • Informs and advises shoppers (the psychology of Authority, remember?)
  • Matches the right product to the right customer


guided selling examples

 

What’s excellent about this is that Coolblue have done their research. For instance, when looking for a TV to buy, the first question they ask is, “What are you going to use the television for?” with options ranging from gaming to streaming. The user can choose multiple options to refine their search. 

 

What’s great about this guided selling tool (apply yourself):

  • For niche products, don’t assume everyone knows what you’re talking about. Explain every technical attribute you introduce.
  • Explanations should come in non-text-heavy forms. Use images or videos, or simply break up the text so it’s elsewhere on the page. A bonus would be in testing: Have a clickable info-bubble and track how many people are using this. This will be useful to see what products need more explaining to who. 
  • Sell on value rather than price. Showing and explaining technical attributes is great, but don’t forget your customers want to see why these are great in relation to their lifestyles. 

 

What’s not-so-great about this guided selling tool:

  • Not everyone will read the text!

 

Crobox Tip: Guided selling is about making your customer journeys fluent, streamlined, and delightful. Once again, text-heavy descriptions will cause a mental barrier to these three things. Instead, leverage info-bubbles with information if someone hovers over it. Or, bullet points with the main parts to make the copy scannable. 

 

6. Familon filtering on product attributes



guided selling examples

Familon hasn’t built a fancy guided selling tool. Instead, they’ve strengthened their filtering foundation. A great workaround if you don’t have the IT capacity or resources to build a guided selling tool - like a product finder - from scratch. 

Customers can choose three options: Pillow height, softness, and sleeping position. The webshop then filters the results to recommend the perfect pillow for that customer. 


guided selling examples

Guiding shoppers by letting them filter on attributes is valuable because you’ll understand more about how your product characteristics can lead to benefits. Which is data that can inform your product messaging and communication. 

E.g., A shopper who filters on low pillow height, soft, and sleeps on their back may be searching for a new pillow because of neck pain. This information is an assumption backed by data, but one that your market research and segmentation should also support. 

But Familon’s tool is still a beta version of a guided selling tool.

 

What’s great about this guided-selling tool (apply yourself):

  • Collapse your filters to give autonomy back to the customer
  • Leverage data on how people filter to inform what questions you put in your guided selling journeys
  • Segment the product profile (like height and softness) and the customer profile (like sleeping position) to track data on both 

 

What’s not-so-great about this guided-selling tool (apply yourself):

  • Filtering isn’t a journey. Many goal-oriented customers will skip this in favor of traditional browsing. 

Crobox Tip: The point of guided selling is to personalize the customer journey. Throughout guided selling, you are reducing barriers by filtering for the customer. If shoppers have to do this themselves, this could cause journey resistance and bounce. 


guided selling examples

See Mac’s Lipstick Finder for how filtering is used to inform the guided selling journey. 

 

7. ASICS Shoe Finder


guided selling examples

 

ASICS’ Shoe Finder was built to emulate an in-store assistant. The quiz wizard asks questions to determine the shopper’s running style, goals, and profile. The final answer is revealed and its attributes showcased so that shoppers have a shoe profile that fits them.

Sleek, right?


guided selling examples
At Crobox, we also elevated ASICS’ guided selling by having product badges on the recommendations (based on Great and Good match). So when you click on the product it takes you to the PLP, but the product discovery is further personalized with badges. 

 

What’s great about this guided selling example (apply yourself):

  • Have a collapsible banner on your pages so shoppers can find the guided selling tool without infringing on their shopping experience. 
  • Provide a product profile with an explanation of why the product has been recommended to them. 
  • Have product badges on the recommended page to show good and great matches. 

 

What’s not-so-great about this guided selling example:

  • No product comparison. 

Crobox Tip: If you’re selling technical products, a product comparison will take your guided selling to the next level. This isn’t something that ASICS could implement on their results page to show attribute comparisons like pronation, price, comfort, etc. 

 

Taking your guided selling to the next level 


guided selling examples data

 

To take your guided selling to the next level, Crobox offers a dashboard where you can visualize your data in the best way. 

Half of the work of your guided selling is in the design, but the other half rests in analyzing the data you get.

There’s a lot of data you can check, from flow data (how people navigate the guided selling tool) to click-data (what products or answers people are actually clicking on).

So how do you visualize it? 

Well, you need a couple of things to get started:

  1. A dashboard: To centralize all your data points and show them in a visual way
  2. An export function: So you can share digestible data across departments 
  3. An editable dashboard: If you want to add data points that different departments will need

 

Wrap Up 

 

Start with guided selling today and you’ll witness a win-win for both the customer (who discovers their perfect products) and your organization (with higher business impact). 

These guided selling examples are all leveraged by brands that listen to their customers and personalize their products and journeys based on what they’ve learned. 

This approach will not only skyrocket your product sales. It will help your customers in their decision-making, creating delightful behaviors throughout their overall product discovery journeys.  

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