In the, first part of the series, we looked at the reasons why there is an increasing need for businesses to make expert product advice available and to guide shoppers to confident purchase decisions. Expert Advice (Part 1) – Why Your Customers Need it
We defined 3 characteristics of credible advice, which are
- Expertise – “What makes you an expert?”
- Trustworthiness – “Can I trust you?”
- Similarity – “Are you like me?” or “How well can you relate?”
In this part, we will look at 3 approaches that businesses implement to share expert product advice with their online audience.
1) Guided Selling – Interactive expert advice
Guided selling is an approach to offer shoppers interactive advice online. The rule-based question-and-answer system guides shoppers through a series of questions and generates recommendations based on the shopper’s stated needs.
- Expertise – Relevant information texts to explain product benefits and features
- Trustworthiness – Recommendations explained based on how well individual features match the shopper’s needs
- Similarity – Need-oriented, customer-focused questions to understand the shopper’s expectations
2) Social Shopping
Social shopping is a concept that can be found most often in the fashion industry. Customers can collaborate online and get advice from trusted individuals. It brings together a community of shoppers who seek product advice and a community of experts who advise them.
3) Digital Shopping service / Loyalty programs
Sears has recently launched a service called “Get Advice” that enables members of their “Shop Your Way”-loyalty program to ask questions and receive answers about products and services from fellow members of Sears in-store associates and other members.