Guided Selling


Humans are inherently lazy. Why then, do we make them do all the work when they reach our website?

This week we delve into “guided selling”, the idea of replicating a sales consultant on your product website to help customers find the right product to meet their needs.

Why finding over searching?

Most websites are set up for browsing like you would in a physical store. You can either browse by category page or use the search bar when you’re looking for something specific. Both of these options assume you’re either happy to browse or know exactly what you’re looking for. What if you don’t know what’s right for you and need a little extra help? In a physical store that’s where the sales consultant would come in — asking a series of questions to find the right product to meet your specific needs.

Unfortunately, this is where the e-commerce environment often pales in comparison, that guided selling approach is missing. Thankfully some brands are addressing this digitally, and increasing buyer’s confidence and reducing decision fatigue in the process.

Top 3 guided selling experiences

1. Good pair days

People find the selection of wine confusing and intimidating. There are thousands to choose from, there are no standards in naming conventions and the wine labels aren’t designed to help you choose (why are off-dry wines incredibly sweet and not dry like their name infers?!)

At last, a wine brand that not only removes the choice paralysis from choosing your monthly dozen but also educates on how certain wines can compliment certain foods.


2. Fitbit 

A guided selling experience doesn’t need to be a long process. I love this Fitbit example which essentially narrows down the choosing process and shortlists some potential products the shopper may be interested in. The final choice is then left with the shopper to make.


3. Blackmores

Complimentary medicines can be an overwhelming category if you don’t what you’re looking for. Have you ever been to your local pharmacy to select a simple vitamin B? There are thousands of products to choose from. The Blackmores Wellbeing Check was a simple experience that essentially played your digital naturopath to deliver you your personal wellbeing score and select the most appropriate complementary medicines based on that information.


Where do I start with guided selling?

So is guided selling as simple as constructing a Buzzfeed survey? Unfortunately no. To truly develop an experience that is both useful to the end-user and to the brand, it involves a touch of rigor.

  • Walk in the shoes of your customers: Understand the types of questions they ask in narrowing down their decision
  • Develop your question flows: Work out the various question flows that account for the different types of customers arriving on your site
  • Put your questions in a logical order: Are your questions structured in a logical flow?
  • Allow for a feedback loop: Allow for small micro-interactions where you can also educate your customer about your product in the process. Have you ever noticed in a shop where a sales assistant can help you but they also provide small factoids about their own product along the way?
  • Design the UX and interaction flow: Guided selling doesn’t need to be a glorified survey, there are many useful and remarkable ways of bringing guided selling to life
  • Analyse and test: Review your guided selling experience. Did the selling experience achieve its intended purpose? What do the results reveal about your customer’s needs and drivers? How effective was your experience at driving online conversion?


Above all else, just ask yourself, in this category, is my customer happy to browse or could they be better served by a guided selling experience?