As a member of the Guided Selling.org “collective”, I regularly research Guided Selling approaches to analyze usefulness, usability, UX, design, and performance. Especially this year, I came across quite a few product advisors that caught my attention for various reasons. The rise in new concepts is a sign that more businesses (large and small) are discovering the benefits of Guided Selling and invest into this technology.
To share my findings, I decided to compile a list of product advisors I liked — they should serve as some inspiration for you and hopefully you enjoy them as much as I did.
5) Yankee Candle’s Fragrance Finder
Although the Internet has yet to find ways to deliver an olfactory experience, this advisor still manages to evoke a corresponding scent and feeling in your mind through colorful, warm and cozy images. From a usability point of view, some users may be kept from starting the advisor as they are required to login via Facebook. However, from a marketing point of view, it’s a clever way to generate leads.
Design: Bright and popping, like candy on my screen.
Navigation: Straightforward, with some nice hover effects. The language-switch functionality makes up for the longer image loading times.
Questions: Simple to understand and vary based on previous answers.
Results: The result features a brief description of the recommended scent and offers several ways to share it on social networks.
Mobile: unfortunately not, that’s the downside.
Whoever once had to buy a leash or a dog collar knows that there are many different types of collars and multiple things to consider, which can be pretty overwhelming. This is why I appreciate this advisor. It will tell you precisely what you and your dog need – in only a few steps.
Design: Slightly bland but the cute dog-pictures make up for it.
Navigation: Functional, no nonsense.
Questions: Love the questions! They consider many types of dog owners, and there is no need to skip or leave any blank as the questions and answer options are very clear and need-oriented.
Results: Extensive, with lots of alternative suggestions as well. The results page gives a brief overview of each recommendation and how it meets your needs. The benefits are outlined in a checklist format, which ensures that you do not fall in love with something without realizing right away what the trade-offs would be.
Mobile: Yes, but has a few design glitches on small desktops or tablets.
This streamlined approach is the best example of redefining the current product-search norms. Especially brands shouldn’t just provide lots of filter settings to narrow down a search (it’s not always helpful when products look too similar), but should instead pay close attention to how simple Philips has made this advisor look!
Navigation: Not immediately clear, but once you understand that you have to click on the icons to walk through the steps and should only use the “Go” button if you’re ready to see the result, it’s pretty straightforward.
Questions: Relatable and non-judgmental! It’s clear they want to help, so you don’t feel like you should lie about how often you brush your teeth to impress the question-robot-people. However, I’m doubtful of the way this advisor generates recommendations considering that users can choose answers even if they contradict themselves.
Results: Doubtful. The result is not fully transparent. This would have to improve.
This advisor is not only fun and nice to look at, it’s a prime example for the concept of simplifying choices in a category as technical as mobile phones.
Design: Clean and modern.
Navigation: Easy-peasy. Just click, answer a question, repeat.
Questions: Written in layman’s terms, very easy to answer and very need-oriented. The questions adapt based on previously selected answers and while answering questions the advisor educates the user on the benefits of Android phones without being pushy.
Results: After picking the carrier, users can scroll through the top recommendations and see a large comparison chart underneath the large product image. A very neat feature allows sharing the results via Social media or sending them by email: “Save your results and pull them up when you visit your local carrier or Android retailer.”
Full disclosure: This advisor was developed using SMARTASSISTANT’s Guided Selling technology. SMARTASSISTANT powers this blog — but that’s not why I’ve included OTTO’s advisor here. It’s because this advisor grabbed my focus and sparked my interest in Guided Selling solutions.
The advisor reels users in by creating an emotive experience with positive reinforcements. It’s a big, bold, and fun approach.
Design: Organized and orderly, with very appealing pictures for every answer.
Navigation: Nice and steady flow. Answering a question initiates an immediate page change. There is no excessive clicking and scrolling.
Questions: Very emotive and easy to answer (it’s in German, but encoded in such a way that it can be translated using a browser extension).
Results: Detailed explanation of the recommended living style theme including an array of products that could fit into said theme.
Mobile: Yes, but it looks better on a bigger screen.
As for 2015, these advisors have made it into my top 5 list. For next year, I predict
- even more innovation in Guided Selling interface design and user experience
- vast improvements in mobile optimization
- we will also start seeing product advisors pop up in stores more often
- many more categories – e.g. university wizards, to find your perfectly priced and located university or what about a grocery advisor that figures out what you feel like eating for dinner, and then sets up your list of ingredients? Expect to see all kinds of unusual categories making use of this solution in the very near future!
After all, Guided Selling is the new way to shop.
Which of these product advisors was your favorite or have you come across other great examples? Drop it in the comments. Would love to hear from you.