Prepare the product catalogue
To build up the knowledge base, your product catalogue is needed first. Before you submit the product catalogue, however, you should check it and, if necessary, prepare it. A high-quality data basis is essential so that the right product can be determined for the need.
Example: A digital bicycle consultant asks, for example, where the customer usually goes cycling. If the customer’s answer is “in the city”, the product catalogue must contain a category with bicycles for the city so that the product advisor can recommend a suitable bicycle. Alternatively, the value “in town” can be composed of attributes, e.g. type of tyre, etc.
Capture click and purchase behaviour
Then the click and purchase behaviour from your online shop is required. By integrating a tracking code into your online shop, the data flows into your knowledge base (in compliance with data protection regulations). This is followed by the learning phase of the intelligent algorithms. This is because the knowledge for the consultation is built up from the product data and the click and purchase behaviour.
Conception of the online product advisor
The conception phase is about planning the needs assessment. It is mainly about the questions that are asked to the online shopper to determine the need. These questions are the basic element for the online product advisor. At this point, one more note: for self-explanatory, preference-driven products, instead of questions, possible tags are included that the online shopper can select. Therefore, the following concept mainly deals with function-controlled products that require explanation.
1. Formulate the right questions
For example, think about how needs assessment works in stationary retail. What questions does a good salesperson ask in order to determine the customer’s needs and offer the right product?
Example: If a customer comes into the shop and wants to buy running shoes, the salesperson usually asks about the running surface: “Where do you go running, in the forest or in the city?”.
Depending on the answer, the salesperson will recommend running shoes with an appropriate outsole for the forest or the city. Therefore, you should go through the sales process for the selected product category and write down the appropriate questions in order. The number of questions and the depth of advice will depend on your product category. Once you have identified all the questions, you need to match the appropriate answer choices with your assortment to ensure that you have the right products to match the answers.
2. Check the comprehensibility of the questions
Once all the questions and answers are set, you should check them for comprehensibility. Are there technical terms that need to be explained before the customer can make a choice? If your product and the associated questions and answers are very complex, it is advisable to include info icons. They provide your customers with additional information for better understanding. This way, your online shopper will have no trouble choosing the right answer that leads to the appropriate product listing.
Example: If, for example, a customer has the option of selecting an expansion fold from a suitcase advisor, this should be defined, as not everyone knows immediately what is meant by this.