When we shop offline, i.e. in a store, we are free to walk around the aisles and ask store representatives for help. Well, when we shop online, there’s no such luxury to ask them, or touch and feel and even try the products.
Think about how to bridge this gap for online shoppers, we should know better about how a shopper shops. I think a shopper generally falls into one of the following three types, in terms of shopping starting points:
1. She knows exactly what she wants to buy – the item (possible scenario: she may not know what category it belongs to). Note: Having a specific product in mind doesn’t mean she is not open to other products/ product categories.
2. She knows what product categories (one or more) she’s looking for, but trying to find the best-fit item (or deal or whatever that make products a good fit for her needs). She’s more open to exploring different options under each category. She may jump between products under each category back and forth. She may need to frequently visit a history of explored products under each category, or put products she loves into a temp list like “wishlist”/”add to cart”.
3. She has a general concept when shops (e.g. a gift, gears for outdoors), but mostly relies on recommendations. She’s most open to exploring different options, and likely to compare different categories, products under these categories, evaluate how a combination of products work best for her. She may jump between categories and products back and forth. She may need to frequently visit a history of all products she has explored, or put products she loves into a temp list like “wishlist”/”add to cart”. Note: Having product categories in mind doesn’t mean she is not open to other product categories.
Quite often, shoppers are open to product options that are different from what’s in their minds, because people know that there may be better options than their existing knowledge. E.g. I’m looking for a specific face wash because I’ve always been using it, but if there’s another good face wash, I’m open to trying it out. That’s where the cross-sell & upsell comes in.
That’s what our eXpert Personal Shopper (XPS) is for, to assist online users to find products that best fit their needs. We’re on a mission to improve users’ online shopping experience. We know it’s not easy and far from perfect, so we welcome feedback and always strive for a better experience. Try our personal shopper for finding your next perfect jacket: https://www.thenorthface.com/xps
Note: the team is well aware that this jacket finder is far from perfect, and we’re working the hardest as we can to improve it. There are unavoidable technology barriers that hinder us from making it more intelligent, but we are determined to constantly improve it.