What is Guided Selling? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Have you ever wished for a personal shopper to make recommendations to you? With guided selling, you have a similar agent. In this lesson, we'll learn more about guided selling and see some companies implementing it.

Making the Right Choice

Derek is ready to make his first big solo purchase, a new car. He's had his eye on a few and has some ideas about what he wants - a moonroof, hatch and heated seats are a must; but, he's open to many makes and models.

Guided selling focuses on product benefits, not prices.
guided selling, choices, consumers, buying

He ventures out to a local car dealership and meets with a salesman who listens to what he wants and then makes recommendations about cars that he thinks will be the best fit. Sure enough, Derek drives a few of the salesman's recommendations and finds his perfect car.

Having an expert to walk Derek through the car buying experience is much like the online experience consumers can have with the help of guided selling. Let's examine what guided selling entails.

Let's Talk about Guided Selling

Guided selling is sort of like having your own personal shopper when you're trying to make a purchase online. The great thing is, with guided selling, you can get personal shopping help 24 hours a day!

Think about your last online shopping experience: did you visit a website that asked you for your favorite scents, foods, product features or styles? If so, you got a taste of what guided selling is all about.

The act of guided selling is a way to:

1. Understand what's important to the consumer;

2. Educate the consumer about the features of your products;

3. And, then sell them something that fits what they're looking for.

Frequently, the act of guided selling results in more conversions (or sales) because consumers feel empowered by the information provided and feel that the product recommendation is the finding at the end of their own search results.

For example, the cosmetics sample box company Ipsy uses guided selling of sorts to customize members' monthly membership boxes. When you start the sign-up process, Ipsy asks you to complete a quiz with questions about your skin tone, eye color, hair color and comfortability with makeup to customize a box of product offerings that most closely match your wants and needs as a consumer. Just imagine: you're far more likely to make a purchase if a hair sample in your box matches your curly hair type than a one-size-fits-all hair product, right? That's the concept behind guided selling as well. Make the consumer happy and they're more likely to purchase and keep purchasing.

Guided Selling in Action

With a basic understanding of what guided selling means, let's take a look at a few brands that are putting guided selling into action.

1. Victoria's Secret: The lingerie giant didn't get where they are without a little online sales smarts. Their Sport Bra Boutique offers guided selling through their ''Build Your Sport Boutique'' function. Customers are asked about their sizing, the intensity of their workouts and the type of straps they prefer, among other questions, to help find a personalized recommendation for the best sports bra for each consumer. Because the customer is inputting the features important to them, they're sure to get a recommendation that fits the bill.

2. BonLook: BonLook, a company specializing in fashion eyeglasses for men and women, utilizes a 'Try On' function on its website, so a consumer can see exactly what a particular frame will look like on their own face. How? By allowing visitors to the site to upload their own photo to virtually try on different styles and colors.

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