With the holiday season on the horizon, brands are looking to gain an edge over the industry competition. Since many customers will buy some, if not all, of their holiday gifts online, identifying ways to take advantage of increased e-commerce demand can make or break a holiday’s profit potential. organization. As the state of retail technology advances, businesses are learning to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools to deliver more personalized online shopping experiences.
In any omnichannel approach to sales, it is essential to seek to replicate the best elements of an in-store experience online. Online retailers are always looking for ways to simulate guided selling – the process by which a salesperson engages a customer on their specific needs and guides them to the perfect item without further navigation or research. This simple tool for a website can be implemented even after the code has been frozen, adding a responsive and engaging layer to the online shopping experience. Using AI-based technology, the guided selling process can now be improved and streamlined through the power of automation.
Beyond the transaction itself, guided selling provides brands with data that can lead to a deeper and more intuitive understanding of their consumers. Learning how customers react to specific product recommendations allows brands to better understand what consumers are looking for and why. Real-time visibility allows them to build their offers based on the most frequently purchased items, the most attractive product upgrades, and the most important factors in determining the customer’s final purchase decision.
The fastest way to the perfect product
Guided selling is an interactive method to help customers quickly identify the product that’s right for them. In industries like apparel or electronics, where specific sizes, brands, and types make all the difference, having a tool to reduce the search time required by the customer allows for a more seamless customer experience. For example, a customer buying Bluetooth or wireless speakers doesn’t want to waste time comparing dimensions or compatibility specifications for each product available. Their purchasing decision will be influenced by convenience and relevance.
AI-powered guided selling can be done in several different ways. First, it requires adopting a dynamic e-commerce platform that can engage customers in real time, asking relevant questions to identify the item of interest to them. Organizations can set up a flow of questions that build on each other to present personalized product recommendations or direct a customer to the single product that best suits them. The end result is a custom selection or series of selections for the buyer. Shoppers arrive at the desired product faster and more confident that it is the right item for them.
Benefits for the customer and the company
The benefits of guided selling are clear. A more streamlined experience that leads to smart purchasing decisions is a key driver of consumer brand loyalty. Evidence suggests that in the near future, high-quality customer experiences will overtake product quality and price as the most critical brand differentiator.
Implementing AI-powered guided selling tools within an e-commerce platform enables brands to reduce choice paralysis and purchase fatigue, resulting in higher conversion rates higher and more satisfied customers. For brands to stand out from their competitors this holiday season, the focus must be on customer experience. Guided selling will soon no longer be a fun option for brands to stand out in their field, but a practice required to provide the best online service available. The 2022 Omnichannel Retail Index shows that only 26% of merchants offer guided selling, helping several merchants stand out this holiday season.
Want more information on the 2022 Retail Omnichannel Index to guide your 2023 strategies and tactics? Watch our recent webinar with Bernardine Wu from OSF Digital and Rob Garf from Salesforce now!
Kathy Kimple is Executive Director of OSF Digital’s Strategy Group. She draws on over 25 years of experience in omnichannel retail with a focus on brands, spanning digital strategy and in-store operations, register, marketing, technology selection and organizational design.
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