How Online Retailers Can Become Virtual Personal Shopping Assistants – Part 3

How Online Retailers Can Become Virtual Personal Shopping Assistants – Part 3
Posted by Attraqt | 7 December 2018

Help guide your customers to relevant products like a personal shopper.

Choosing the Best Technology

Any decision on buying new onsite search and online merchandising technology will be dependent on the nature of the individual retail business, its goals for the future and the resources available. More specifically, the technology should:

  • Grow with the business and adapt with change
  • Provide a return on investment
  • Work with the ecommerce team, online merchandisers and IT people in a way that solves problems
  • Suit budgets now and in the future
  • Enable an easy transition from existing systems

As we discussed in the second blog in this series, there are three options – automated, manual and automation combined with control & creativity. To help you decide, consider the following:

What Kind of Retailer are You?

What are you selling and what kind of catalogue do you have – is it fairly static or does it change frequently? What kind of ecommerce system is in place – do you have a legacy system that needs updating, or can you start from scratch? What are your resources in terms of staff and investment – do you have experienced merchandisers in place to curate pages manually if required, or do you have to expand the team or recruit specialists? Most importantly, decide what your business goals are and what you are hoping to achieve.


What is Everyone Else Doing?

Know who your competitors are. What is their online merchandising like – do they seem to be getting the results they want, and how are they achieving these results?


Service Providers and Levels of Support

Once you’ve decided on the type of solution your company needs, speak to possible suppliers and speak to others who use them. Get a feel for how you interact with the company. Real value lies in having an open, trustworthy channel of communication with each other.

Evaluate this interaction, because how you relate with a company and how they come across, in the way they explain things and help you, is just as important as the plug-in and technology behind it.

Is the provider highly responsive and available at all hours? Can you speak to a real person when you need to? Does it truly understand ecommerce, their vertical sectors and the various challenges of online merchandising?

All this matters. Retailers should invest in a solution with a strong organisation behind it that makes sure the technology is running smoothly at all times, and helps staff get the most from it.


Your People

Technology without talented human guidance is rarely useful. You can have the best platform installed and have thrown the next five years’ budget at it, but if you don’t have people in-house who are trained to get the very best out of the system, then your online merchandising may still be mediocre at best.



The service provider should be constantly evolving its technology with a stream of innovation.

By utilising the correct tools, retailers can provide the much-needed services of a personal shopping assistant, and improve how they help each customer make purchase decisions online via superior onsite search and visual merchandising tactics.

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed these insights. Look back at the whole blog series here.

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