Use Buying Guides To Inform And Empower Your Customers

Buying guides are a great vehicle to provide your customers with content that both informs and ultimately guides them toward a purchase on your site.

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What is a buying guide?

Ecommerce sites use product detail pages to effectively recreate the shopping experience at brick and mortar stores, offering unique product content, quality images, videos and related product information to give consumers the same sense of confidence in making a purchase, as if they were reviewing the product in person. The aspect of shopping that is particularly difficult to replicate online is the personal contact with a knowledgeable sales associate.

This is where buying guide content comes in. Buying guides serve as an effective online resource providing customers the ability to learn more about the important features, evolving technologies and related benefits a particular product or service has, clarifying how they fulfill individual customer's needs. For example, a buying guide on home theater equipment will provide the customer with a detailed summary of the pros and cons of various driver options, connectivity configurations and in-home placement suggestions, ultimately guiding the customer to the audio technology that is most appropriate for their particular needs, whether they are a music lover, film buff or gamer.

The content of a buying guide should be easy for an unlearned customer to understand, and in-depth enough to clearly illustrate the different choices available within the product category. The intent of a buying guide is not to sell a particular product by highlighting any one product as superior to others. Instead the buying guide should focus on the differences available across the category and how they appeal in various situations to vastly different types of consumers.

Why are buying guides important?

There are numerous reasons potential customers abandon shopping carts, though comparison shopping is the most prevalent. When a customer cannot find the answers to their questions or fully understand the product, they are likely to migrate away from your site and find that information elsewhere. In every instance, this leads a potential customer closer to a competitor's site and further away from the purchase on your own. By providing buying guide content that is available to answer their questions wherever they are in the purchase decision phase, you can effectively stem the flow of traffic from your site and become a trusted authority on the product categories your site offers.

Placing buying guides at both the category and product levels allows customers to both research the product type before an item is even considered, and then find answers for a given product-specific feature without ever navigating away from the product they are considering. While this may not prevent potential customers from seeking product information from outside sources, simply having trusted buying guide content available will greatly diminish these occurrences by significantly streamlining the research phase of the buyers journey.

Buying guides are great SEO opportunities

While the primary benefit of buying guides is empowering your customers with the information necessary to make a purchase decision, while remaining on your site, there are significant SEO benefits as well. Similar to the value of unique category content and product descriptions, each buying guide provides your site with an additional source of unique category and product-specific content that is ripe for accepting SEO-focused keywords, which will ultimately help your site become a trusted authority for the assortment you offer. This content also provides a great opportunity to reinforce the tone and personality of your brand voice.

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