Using product finders to help customers navigate products in a more intuitive way has become increasingly popular the last few years. Ecommerce shops are competing to provide the most personalized experience to convert visitors to customers and have them keep coming back. Product finders help with just that, but how do you build one and what should you have in mind when you do.

Starting small

It's common to underestimate the time it takes to build a personalised and highly detailed guide for your website. Start by creating and testing a guide for one category at a time. Trying to cover all your product categories at once will most likely lead to you being overwhelmed.   

Hierarchy of questions

Don't ask questions that are unnecessary for the product your customer is searching for. Make sure that you have a correct hierarchy of questions where the important questions are asked first. Most guides also require unique follow up questions based on previous answers.   

Avoid sliders

Mobile first is becoming a mindset most websites has adapted the last years. When building a guide it's easy to forget that the average e-commerce website has 70-80% mobile users. Sliders are one of those elements that look cool but is really unintuitive for mobile users. It's a better user experience to create buttons with numbered intervalls. 

Show products along the way

Some guides require a lot of questions to provide good recommendations, at the same time you need to be aware that each question you add increase the risk of the customer not completing the guide. One way to deal with this is by showing recommendations during the guide, instead of waiting until the guide has been completed. It gives the customer the ability to click on a product anytime they feel like they have answered enough questions. 

Attributes vs. needs

Before starting to build a product guide you need to decide what kind of guide it is you want. A guide can be either attribute centric like traditional website filters, or it can be need-centric meaning the questions are designed around the need or use-case instead of attributes. There is no right or wrong applicable for all questions or guides, what style of guide you should choose depends on your products, target audience and website design.

Article-guide-attributes-2

In reality, you will most likely want a combination of the different styles. We did for example notice, in our first pilots, that price was a variable that most consumers wanted to be specific with no matter their experience level with the products.

Who are you guiding

Customers experienced with your products are more likely to want an attribute centric guide, they know how many liters of space they need for their new backpack or what length they prefer for their skis. While a beginner will need some kind of confirmation or reference point on what size they need, which is when they go to their favorite search engine to find an article online about the subject. And if you’re unlucky that article is hosted by your competitor, increasing the likelihood they will make that purchase through the competitor instead of through your website.

Skill level

One way to tackle this problem is to make different guides based on who the customer is. However, to achieve this you need to know who’s using the guide. One way to find out is to simply ask the customer if they are a beginner or advanced and alter the following questions accordingly. You can ask in a more discrete way by asking whether they know exactly what attributes they are looking for or if they want your recommendation, if they want your recommendation it’s likely they are beginners. The last one is to design the questions to cater to both the target groups.  

Measure your guide's performance

There are three basic metrics to consider when analysing the performance of a guide, they are all linked which makes it important to understand them all and how they effect each other. 

  • Started guides 
  • Completed guides
  • Click to products

The first one is how many of those who have seen that guide decide to click on the guide. This metric is dependent on the placement, first message and theme of the guide. The second one is the number of completed guides, how many of those who clicked to start the guide went far enough to get product recommendations. And lastly click to products, how many of those who got product recommendations from the guide clicked on a product.  

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