As long as the process to find something is quick, easy and tailored to their personal tastes, most busy consumers want to help themselves when shopping online. So, does your website act like a virtual assistant that helps online shoppers find exactly what they want to buy?
“The more assistance you can give a consumer during their shopping process, the more likely they will move down the funnel with you and ultimately you’ll be their final buying destination,” says PERQ Co-Founder Scott Hill. “We’re trying to assist our clients in forming a digital relationship ahead of time through technology.”
In order to do this, you’ll need to start the conversation online, nurture the digital relationship with helpful guidance, and let the customer know who to personally contact when they are ready to buy. “It’s about letting that person know, ‘Hey, I’m here when you’re ready,’ but still allowing the consumer to stay in control,” Hill says.
Consumers Prefer a Virtual Assistant When Shopping
Consumers no longer visit multiple showrooms or multifamily properties before making a decision. Instead, they conduct as much online research as possible, comparing prices and narrowing down choices.
They also want to search online without talking to a salesperson, and the majority don’t visit a business until they are ready to buy. Hill believes consumer-buying preferences will continue to evolve. “It’s moving to where consumers are not really wanting to shop, period,” he says. “They’re really looking to be told what to buy.”
It’s all about conversational commerce, according to Kees Jacobs, an expert in consumer retail who says consumers desire hassle-free shopping without complications. They don’t want to spend time shopping around for the best value, he says. They would rather find a brand they trust to deliver the best value.
“The more websites continue to act like a virtual assistant and make recommendations — this is what you should buy, this is what’s right for you — the more the consumer is going to enjoy that digital relationship,” Hill says.
Give Shoppers What They Want
The popularity of Intelligent Personal Assistants, or virtual assistants, is radically changing the way we search and consume information on the internet, according to Moz blogger Tom Anthony. With Siri or Alexa tracking a consumer’s profile of buying patterns and preferences, it uses artificial intelligence (A.I.) to shortcut the process and find exactly what you want when you want it.
Hill says that idea reinforces his prediction that consumers don’t want to shop, they just want to be told what to buy.
Meet those needs in real time by providing interactive and personalized content that helps shoppers figure out what it is they truly want with an online virtual assistant, while saving consumers’ time and frustration.