The customer journey describes the totality of processes a consumer experiences when purchasing a company’s products or services. It starts with business or brand awareness and extends beyond the sale itself to include important factors like customer retention and advocacy. Smooth, seamless customer journeys play a central role in building customer loyalty. By using the technique of guided selling, businesses can align their consumer-facing interaction touchpoints with the customer journey–making for a superior customer experience.
The related concept of curated commerce describes practices in which online retailers personalize product or service selections based on the user’s preferences. Curated commerce was initially developed as an eCommerce strategy for overcoming market saturation. Today, it helps businesses address any obstacles that may be impeding the consumers’ ability to discover and explore new brands.
Here, we’ll examine how the relationship between guided selling, curated commerce, and product information management works. Retailers can use these insights to optimize their connections with consumers throughout the customer journey process.
What is Guided Selling and How Does It Shape Curated Commerce?
The eCommerce concept of guided selling seeks to recreate the shopping experience a consumer has in a physical retail location. In most cases, people have specific ideas about what they’re looking for when they go into a store. They also don’t typically spend much time browsing unrelated merchandise. Instead, they tend to focus most of their attention on goods that match their immediate shopping objectives.
Guided selling aims to replicate a similar experience. By developing a personalized and precisely attuned understanding of the customer’s wants, needs, preferences, and shopping goals, guided eCommerce allows online retailers to direct consumers’ attention to those products or services that best match their current needs. Moreover, it’s particularly useful for online retailers with large product catalogues. After all, consumers are more likely to experience friction or lose interest when they need to sift through an enormous selection of unrelated products to find what they’re looking for.
The closely aligned concept of curated commerce describes tools and systems that use data to inform personalized product suggestions. These strategies typically draw on a combination of user-specific data and information sourced from large pools of shoppers with similar consumer profiles.
The Power of Curated Commerce and Guided Selling
Together, curated commerce and guided selling represent a powerful fusion of helpful advice, personalization, and user support–the perfect combination for a great customer experience. Market research also reflects the impact potential of these approaches:
- 86% of shoppers say they’d be willing to pay more for a product if it entailed a better customer experience
- 83% of eCommerce consumers say they need the kind of personalized support that curated commerce and guided selling supply
- 74% of consumers say they have negative impressions of retailers that fail to personalize their product displays
Businesses can use guided selling and curated commerce to create a personalized customer journey with seamless, customized interactions across multiple critical touchpoints.
How Product Information Management (PIM) Sets the Foundation for Curated Commerce
Product information management (PIM) lays a vital foundation for building effective approaches to curated commerce. PIM describes the process of organizing, maintaining, concentrating, and distributing product information to appropriate service channels and consumer touchpoints. It also strives to provide buyers with timely, on-demand access to the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
When properly managed, PIM offers significant benefits, including:
- Strong support for the omnichannel shopping experiences that consumers increasingly prefer
- A smoother, more consistent customer experience
- More efficient internal management of sales-related workflows
- Reduced costs and increased productivity
- Enhanced customization potential
PIM helps businesses maintain complete, accurate, and up-to-date product information. Then, it’s easy to make that information available to consumers across multiple channels.
Product information management systems store and organize the following types of data:
- Text-based product descriptions
- Product images and videos
- Pricing information and technical specifications
- Current inventory levels
- Customer-generated ratings and reviews
PIM systems centralize this information for speedy, on-demand distribution to both staff members and customers. The ready availability of these data points creates a smoother, more satisfying customer experience, which also helps strengthen trust between businesses and consumers.
Best Practices for Implementing PIM for Guided Selling and Curated Commerce
When retailers integrate PIM systems with guided selling and curated commerce strategies, eCommerce consumers can look forward to high-impact experiences. Using guided approaches to selling, online retailers often solicit information from consumers. Questions typically take a form similar to, “What can we help you find today?” eCommerce management systems then analyze the supplied responses to generate personalized recommendations.
Keep these best practices in mind when developing guided selling strategies:
- Ensure questions are clear and simple, so users can supply direct, unambiguous responses
- Provide interactive feedback in response to questions to help customers further specify or narrow down their options
- Include progress indicators that present consumers with a visual display of their journey through the curated commerce process
- Build in options and filters that allow consumers to limit their results to products that precisely match their budgets, preferences, or objectives
- Incorporate reviews and social proof to elevate consumer confidence in the products you display
To create an optimized curated commerce experience, there are also several techniques that online retailers can adopt:
- Use firsthand and secondhand data to guide personalization efforts
- Create thematically unified product collections to enhance the discoverability of similar items that may interest a consumer searching for a particular type of product
- Ensure you deliver a consistent curated commerce experience across all customer service channels and touchpoints
- Weave cross-selling and upselling opportunities into product displays to maximize your revenue potential
Connect these practices to PIM strategies whenever and wherever possible. For example, eCommerce retailers can build links into their product displays that consumers can follow to access detailed information drawn from PIM databases about the item. This way, the customer can obtain whatever additional information they might need to finalize their purchasing decision without having to complete any additional steps.
Create a Curated and Elevated Customer Journey With Zobrist’s Smart Merchandiser Platform
Online consumers not only prefer curated, guided, and personalized experiences–they also increasingly demand them. Failing to provide one can lead to lost sales, eroded trust, and inadequate customer retention outcomes.
eCommerce retailers often invest substantial time and resources into building centralized PIM systems, only to miss the opportunity to integrate them with guided selling and curated commerce strategies. Presenting willing customers with curated product displays represents the last step in an arduous journey, and retailers need to make the most of these opportunities to thrive in the hypercompetitive world of online shopping.
This is where Smart Merchandiser generates value. Smart Merchandiser helps online retailers build visually curated product collections that represent their brand, tell their story, and immerse the shopper in the brand’s values and flavor. The Smart Merchandiser platform empowers online retailers to take complete control of their virtual storefronts, enabling them to apply the powerful principles of guided selling and curated commerce to attract, retain, and satisfy customers.
Get started today: request a free demo of the powerful Smart Merchandiser platform.