How to simplify customer journey while dealing with a large product portfolio?
Are you selling products in multiple variants? It is a frequent situation, particularly in the furniture industry where one sofa may come in over a dozen different sizes and coverings.
Online sales seem a perfect solution as they allow for the complete product portfolio to be presented and the full potential of digital tools to be utilised - including configurators, builders and visualisers which help users browse and choose an ideal variant.
The choice paradox
However, these solutions may also produce a different than intended result. Online customers want to buy fast and in a convenient way, and not to ponder a series of decisions. The abundance of available options may lead customers astray: with too many decisions to make, he will choose none. Weary of drifting on the ocean of multiple options, he will simply not make it to the cart. Subsequent new variants and decisions to be made will drag him away from closing a sale. As a result, an overcrowded creator can become a hurdle in the buying process.
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Large product portfolio poses a serious challenge. If you decide to present on-line your complete range (including those product models, variants and configurations which are chosen only occasionally and their unit share in sales is negligible) and ensure visualisation of each product variant, costs will be snowballing. Preparing graphic materials, expanding tools, storing photos and renders on Web services will absorb unproportionally large resources. The situation gets even more complicated when collections change frequently and new variants crop up all the time.
Managing catalogues of products containing dozens or hundreds of thousands of items and servicing on-line the complete variant range is not cost-effective and may significantly extend the process of purchase.
That being so, it is helpful to start with the question: How can I be of assistance to my client in his decision-making? It might be a good idea for e-commerce to create an inspiration section . Instead of confronting the user with a series of choices to be made, try presenting products in arranged contexts, e.g. decorated interiors or complete fashion styles. This can help the customer to identify his needs and narrow down search criteria. Once he realises what style he follows and, what fabrics, materials or colours appeal to him, it will make much easier to pick relevant products. At this point customer choices can be reduced to a necessary minimum, such as the measurements of a sofa or the size of a dress.
A simpler customer journey means higher sales
Contextual approach to sales and consistent simplification of the customer journey results in increased conversion figures and improved user experience. Inspirations make the cart value swell - simply have the power to encourage complementary product purchases, e.g. accessories. If a client likes the presented arrangement, he will not merely buy a sofa (as originally planned), but also the pillows, the cover or the lamp which are part of the final impression.
By employing the inspiration section you can lead customers to buy mainly these variants of products which are shown in the arranged context. It ensures sales repetitiveness and at the same time facilitates warehouse stocking, replenishment and production management. Fast product rotation and fresh offerings help to follow fashion trends or catch up with competition. You can cut the time and costs of including novelties in the product catalogue, as well as reduce IT costs related to files storage or extending configurator functionalities.