As I wrote last week, interactive tools that enhance the customer buying experience are the current hot trend in internet retail. These tools use client side technology to allow customers to quickly find the best product for them based on criteria they specify.
At Vitabase, we have been experimenting for the last few months with our Health Guru, a tool that allows customers to answer a few questions and recommends the best health supplement based on their answers. You can see how it helps a customer choose a multi-vitamin here.
There is good news and bad news about these kinds of tools. The good news is that they dramatically increase conversion rates when customers use them. Home Depot claims a 50% increase in conversion rate for customers using its Grill Finder. At Vitabase, we have seen an even more dramatic increase in the conversion rate when customers use our Health Guru.
So what is the bad news? The bad news is that not enough customers use these tools. We are astounded how few of our customers use the Health Guru, and I am hearing the same report from other companies. For some reason, the average online shopper is not ready for this technology.
There are people in the industry that do not believe that the current online shopping experience is ever going to change that much. They are wrong–in a few years, the shopping cart as we know it will be dead. However, if you want to lead the innovation, don’t be surprised if your customers are not as excited about new technology as you are.