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Online vs Offline – Choice paralysis, customer experience and conversions!

3 min read

How well does your website covert? 1%, 2%, 3% or more? Did you know that in-store conversions are often 30% and higher? Everyone understands there are significant differences between in-store and online. However why do you think there is a 10 – 20 times difference in conversion? Given we have so much resource at our finger tips in real time online, it takes me by surprise to learn that the conversion rate gap between offline and online is so dramatic.  

Digging Deeper Into What’s Really Happening

Let’s dig deeper. Thinking about this logically there are several reasons why offline would convert higher then online. One strong and obvious reason is that in-store you get personally guided and advised from sales assistant. Going a level deeper, why does this really make a difference? Why is it if I walk into a shop and speak to “Tanya” the sales assistant my chance

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s of conversion go up dramatically? A large component of this is what is referred to as “choice paralysis” or “analysis paralysis”. 

Don’t we all love Wikipedia! Straight copy and paste from there, choice/analysis paralysis describes a moment where over-analysing or over-thinking a situation can cause it to become ‘paralysed’, meaning that no action was taken therefore a solution is not reached. 

This is what happens when you give your customers to many choices without a sales assistant! 

Let’s put this in perspective. Think about the last time you decided to buy a product in-store that had a lot of alternative options. What questions did the sales assistant ask you? Did those questions and your responses lead to a product recommendation that was perfect for you. Did that sales assistant help you narrow down a range of 100 TVs, knife sets, cars, insurance products, suits, etc. After the recommendation did you feel more comfortable making that purchase, when you left did you feel satisfied you got the right product for you. Most likely you did. 

The Need To Translate This to Digital

I often wonder why this experience is not replicated online more often. Why don’t we as businesses ask the questions, listen to the responses, take those responses and cross reference them with our product database to make informed and smart product recommendations. Just like a in-store sales assistant does.  

I think the answer is it’s typically too expensive and difficult, until now. The good news is that Preezie, the early stage company I founded does exactly this. Our technology is integrated onto business’s websites, where we ask questions and then recommend the most suitable products for that particular individuals’ circumstances.  

The Concept of Guided Selling

In-store this process is simply called “customer service”. The process of a sales assistant learning from you then recommending suitable products. Online we often refer to this process by the term “guided selling”. Simply put “guided selling” is the process of helping guide a consumer through all the product choices to establish a comfortable preference for a few highly compatible product options. Our tech creates a survey of questions, then processes the answers to those questions through our algorithm decision making engine to display a number of most applicable products for that person. Just like a sales assistant, only online! 

This process now takes away the reduced conversion from “choice paralysis”. No longer does your customer go to your product page and see 300 shampoo’s, 700 home designs or 250 TVs and get overwhelmed with the large number of options.  

We have now in the space of 30-60 seconds given that consumer an in-store experience. We have showed them we care by asking questions and provided a recommendation of best product options. Of course, this will convert higher and provide a better experience online. 

To provide some insight we have seen conversions (for lead generation) of up-to 10%. A site that was converting at 0.5-2%, is now generating leads at 10%. That’s a 5-20 times multiplier. The proof is in the pudding.

How Retailers Should Forge Ahead

The retail industry literally spends billions of dollars per year on sales assistants’ wages. I was a sales assistant for many years and when you break-down their time and responsibilities you will decipher that a large portion of their time (hence your companies’ money) is spent recommending the right solutions to potential customers, and that makes perfect sense, you want that, that’s how you get salesNOW, DO IT ONLINE! Given that in 2018 we have the technology and the ability to replicate this experience online and remove choice paralysis I encourage all businesses to give this a good hard think and try it for yourself.


About the Author

Michael Tutek has a passion and LOVE for leading teams and building amazing technology and products that can revolutionise industries for the benefit of human progression. He completed an Engineering and Finance degree at Swinburne and launched his software start-up in 2018. Now Michael embraces his passion for technology and sales everyday through his early stage company, Preezie, that helps businesses boost customer experiences and conversions online.  


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