Changes in retail — The future of guided (online) selling — Jennifer Hessel
Retail has become constant in change. Whether it is the retail landscape, the way in which consumers shop and buy, or the evolution of technologies in e-commerce.
I came across an interesting article about the future of guided selling, which touches some of the issues many retailers and brands today struggle with. Let me share a few.
A striking question is asked:
Why are so many retailers happy to provide such a consultative, conversational, and guided selling experience in-store, but then rely on customers to find the right products for themselves online?
This is where online guided selling comes in.
The main aim of online guided selling is to replicate the in-store consultative experience in order to provide a targeted list of products to a customer based on their answers to a series of questions. This can start simple, but can grow to a much more involved process with the questions asked being based on the answers to previous questions in the form of a decision tree.
The beauty sector has been using this ‘decision-making’ process for years to better understand their customer, their concerns, needs and desires. Beauty customers are used to consulting with experts in store. Customers may not know what products they should use for their specific skin or hair type and require the advice of a product expert to help with their buying decision. This happens online through asking a series of questions, providing product recommendations to customers, in the same way that a beauty consultant may do in a department store.
The next evolution of guided selling involves chatbots and AI. Current guided selling tools are generally quite linear and are not very intelligent, at the moment.
What if…a guided selling tool could be combined with a chatbot with a certain level of AI and natural language processing, it could engage in a conversation with a customer and automatically adapt the questions it asks the customer based on the language used in the conversation — now that would be a step forward.
Jennifer Hessel — CEO and President Serucell Corporation
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