28 Tips to Help You Build The Ultimate Product Finder
Follow these 28 bullet points, and you’ll build the ultimate Product Finder in no time!
Looking for tips on a specific part?
“Your questions are engaging, easy to understand and always serve a purpose.”
1. Your questions don’t contain difficult or obscure words
The people looking for your product might not be familiar with the different terminology in your industry. It should be easy for them to understand what you are asking them.
Don’t ask: How much PSI does your high-pressure water jet need?
Ask: What will you be cleaning?
How to fix: Replace difficult words with a synonym that is easier to understand or use a description that describes the problem it solves.
2. Your questions are need-based
Asking people what they want based on your product's attributes is confusing to them because they might not know what they specifically want. It’s better to ask them questions to discover what they need the product for.
Don’t ask: What type of screen do you want?
Ask: What type of content will you consume?
How to fix: Focus on the need it solves and not on the product property your product has.
3. Your questions have an open response
When you’re asking questions, avoid questions with yes or no as a response. They are very black and white and might not lead to what a customer is really looking for.
Don’t ask: Do you like hot weather?
Ask: What climate do you prefer?
How to fix: Change questions, so they start with Why, How, Who, What, When, Where, Who.
4. Everyone can understand your question
The reading level should be low enough so everyone can understand the question. As a guideline, people from the age of 10 and above should understand it.
How to fix: Swap out difficult words with easier ones and check your sentences for readability. Split up longer sentences into multiple smaller ones.
5. You only ask necessary questions
You should only ask questions if the possible answers are relevant to how it will influence the picked product. Questions that don’t influence the results should be left out.
Exception: Unless you want to gather the insights for your product lineup.
How to fix: Delete questions with no mapped answers.
6. You have enough questions to fill in the most important product attributes
Asking too few questions is not good, but you still need to have enough. It’s better to recommend the customer with 10 products that totally match their needs than with 20, half of which don’t even fit your customer’s needs.
How to fix: Open your product catalog and make sure all the main attributes are mapped to questions.
“Your answers are relevant, creative and easy to understand.”
7. Each of your product-specific questions has multiple answer options
Provide a sensible amount of answers to any question you ask. Preferably in relation to the possibilities for the attributes. Avoid using 1 answer as we still want to give the customer options, don’t use more than 9 options as that can be overwhelming. For questions that suggest only one answer, the ideal number of options is three.
Don’t use: house, apartment, villa, bungalow, penthouse, boat
Do use: house, apartment, boat
How to fix: Discover your best-selling products' attributes today and focus on using relevant answers for those products.
8. You’re creative yet correct in your answers
Digital Product Finders are about having a conversation with your customer. We can do better than using “Yes” or “No” as an answer.
Don’t use: Yes, No
Do use: Definitely, Of course, You bet! | I’m good, Not at all, Not my cup of tea
How to fix: Before even starting work with your Product Finder, think about what tone of voice you'd like to use. How would you speak to the customer if they were sitting right in front of you? Take a step back when you create your original copy and take time to refine and improve it.
9. Avoid using expert language in your answers
People who are looking for a product don’t know the terminology you use for your products. They will get confused and not know what to pick. It’s better to highlight the specific advantage of the attributes of the product instead of the value itself.
Don’t use: OLED, LED, LCD
Do use: Watching movies, Immersing in sports events, Playing video games
how to fix: Find out what an attribute actually does and use that as input for your Product Finder.
10. Your multiple-choice answers are on-target and not too overwhelming
Provide a sensible amount of answers to a question you ask. These answers should refer to some features or the possibilities of the products. Avoid using 1 answer as we still want to give the person options, don’t use more than 9 options as that will be overwhelming. For questions that suggest only one answer, the ideal number of options is three.
How to fix: Go through your questions and make sure that the answers match specific needs that your products cover and help to find the right product
11. Your Product Finder use of language is consistent
When you create a new Product Finder, think about the tone of voice you will use. How would you speak to a new customer if they were sitting right in front of you?
How to fix: Re-read the copy in your Product Finder and change or edit the text that doesn’t sound right or doesn’t conform to the tone of voice you want to create.
“Your flow is concise, detailed and functional.”
12. You use questions that do valuable filtering
The questions in the flow are meant to narrow down the product results. A product-specific question should always have fewer products due to mapping applied to the answers. If the consequence of any choice for the question is 0 matched products, then we should not ask the question. If you want to make sure redundant questions are not asked, then you should apply progressive filtering.
13. You make sure that the answers are linked to the product attributes
We give answers as an option to filter down the product results. Products results (the list of recommended products) only narrow down after a click on an answer. And this won’t happen if the answers itself isn’t mapped to any attributes.
Don’t: Leave answer mapping open for questions you include in the flow. Unless you just left the answers there for gathering insights.
Do: Map as many answers as possible.
How to fix: Go through all the questions in the flow and check whether you mapped your answers. Click apply to make sure your changes are saved.
14. You don’t ask questions you already know the answer to
Prevent using questions that ask for the same thing in the same flow. It confuses the customer, and it makes the flow unnecessarily long. Some questions you’ve asked in the flow before might result in only one relevant answer that can be clicked. If possible, then also skip that question.
If you are not sure if this will happen, use Product Finder 360’s Progressive Filter.
Don’t: Map the same product attribute to multiple answers
Do: Map one or multiple products attributes to one answer.
15. Start with an easy question
An easy question is a question that doesn’t require much thought. More general questions are easier to answer earlier on in the flow. Keep more specific ones for later on.
Don’t: What operating system do you prefer?
Do: What are you mainly using your phone for?
The Product Catalog
The product catalog is a data file that tells Product Finder 360 about your products and their attributes.
“Your product catalog is correct, clean and contains the needed information.”
16. All mandatory product details are available
There are some attributes you must provide in order for your Product Finder to work. They include name, offerurl, picture, price and sku. Learn more about attributes.
17. All the distinguishing attributes are available
As we’ve discussed before, your Product Finder will ask questions and based on the answers, and their mapping will decide which products to recommend to your client. These attributes, used to distinguish the desired products from the rest of the catalog, must be available. The attributes can be numbers, booleans or text
Some examples: If you’re making a Product Finder that sells smartphones the most common product attributes would be internal storage, screen size, operating system, screen type, megapixels for the front camera and megapixels for the back camera. The list of common attributes depends on your products, but it’s important to remember they have to help your visitor to choose what they need. For example, if all the phones you are selling are water-proof, there is no sense adding the attribute, but if this is true only for some of them, you need to define the attribute and add a question for it.
18. You pick the right data type for your product data
Depending on the attribute, it's better to use a certain type of attribute. It’s better for prices to have decimal numbers, for amounts of storage - integer numbers, and for brand names, it is better to use text.
Don’t do: Memory in GB: 64GBDo: Memory in GB: 64
If you have your catalog as an .xls, .xlsx or .csv file, Product Finder 360 will analyze options for each attribute and define the type of attributes automatically.
Best practices for different attributes:
E.g. Brand name: Contains an actual word. If the value contains an actual word and there’s no other way to narrow it down. You want to specifically target products with this value or part of the value. Having an actual value instead of a dubious value also helps set up the Product Finder.
Don’t: Give your product a cryptic name like “abc123”
Do: Give your product a readable name like “Samsung Galaxy Fold”
Other attributes this also applies to: color, style, type,...
Price: Prices may be expressed in integer or decimal numbers. Both comma and full stop can be used to separate them.
Do not add the currency to the price value. The currency and formatting of the price will depend on the Language and Country that you’ve selected for your Product Finder.
The "Country" will define the currency displayed in the Product Finder, and The "Language" will define the price formatting.
Don’t: Give your price the format €12 or 12 EUR or 12,50 euro.
Do: Give your price the format 12 or 12,50
Other numerical values
Other values like storage amount, processor speed, kWh, amount of megapixels, dimensions, etc., also should contain only the property and not the unit.
Don’t worry about the units - you can specify them in the “Product Attributes” section of your Product Finder
Some of the attributes this applies to: storage amount, processor speed, kWh, amount of megapixels, width, length, etc.
E.g. Bluetooth: Depending on your product data, you might have a column “features” that contains the different features for a product or a different column for each product feature.
Example of a property that contains the features:
Features: Bluetooth, wide-angle camera, water-resistant
Example of a property that has features split up:
Bluetooth: trueWide Angle Camera: falseWater Resistant: true
19. Don’t hesitate to use computed attributes
So, you have entered all the details of your product catalog, and now are ready to map your question's attributes. But do you want to stun your customer with tenths of technical details or had better speak human language?
For example, if you’re selling laptops:
You have a product catalog filled with laptops and their attributes.
The least recommended way: Ask your customer: How much should it weigh? How long should the battery life be? What should the processor be?A better way: Ask your customer: “How will you use your computer?” and provide options like “work”, “games”, “everyday routine usage” and create a set of rules, such that they filter laptops with specific parameters for each of the answers. The problem is that, in the product details, your customer will still see the technical attributes.
The best way: Create a computed attribute “Profile” based on these technical attributes, and use it for mapping and display. This will both simplify the mapping process and make the product recommendation speak human language.
For example, you are selling beverages:
You’ve uploaded the product catalog containing details on the number of different substances in the beverages, the type of packaging, and possible side effects (if any).
The least recommended way: Ask your customer directly “Should the beverages contain alcohol?”, “Can the drink have caffeine in it?” “Do you want the packaging to be certified under…?”
A better way: Make a question like “What age are the people who will be drinking it?” with answers like “Under 4”, ”From 4 to 12”, “From 13 to 21”, “Over 21” and create rules that will recommend specific beverages subject to the answer.
This approach has two problems: you will have to create such rules for any question related to the age of usage and, what’s even worse, the recommendation page will either not contain this details at all or will overwhelm your customer with this technical information.
The best way: Create a computed attribute “Age group” and only once create the rules for assigning it. This will simplify mapping, and moreover, in the recommendations page, you can show property “age group” for each product.
How to fix: Look at the product details. Check if some set of technical details could be replaced with an easy to comprehend the human value.
20. Check your computed attributes
Once you’ve set up computed attributes, you need to check that the rules are defined correctly.
How to fix:
Check if your filters have distinct computed values as a result. You can do this by picking some products and checking what values the computed attribute has.
Product Finder UI Design
“Your design is linked to the conversation, informative and works on multiple devices.”
21. Your design is responsive
People are moving more and more to mobile when they’re online. Make sure all elements of your Product Finder are clear and clickable in the desktop version as well as the mobile and tablet version. Different UI elements work better on different devices.
How to fix: Either create different versions of your Product Finder depending on the medium.
22. You provide extra information in the description for the answers
As much as you might try to create the best answers for questions, sometimes they may not be clear. We want to assist the users as much as possible and also include a description to inform them about the product benefits. Avoid using expert language in the description.
Avoid too long text descriptions and sentences. Point out values and benefits i.e. using bullet points in the description, emojis, icons, images or even videos can be integrated!
However, remember the description should be just an optional help and we should still strive to write the questions and answers in such a way that they are clear without the info
23. No spelling errors
Spelling errors should be avoided. Seems like an obvious one, but make sure to check it just one more time.
Result Page Design
24. Product attributes in the result list are translated to reflect practical customer needs and product benefits
During the Product Finder’s work, we’ve asked questions in a need-based fashion. It’s important that people can see which needs are filled in by the recommended product. Additionally, we can always include some specific values of the attributes.
Along with that, you can change the names of the attributes. For example,log it is “scr_width_i in the product cataloguench”, you can display it as “screen width” and add a symbol of inches after the value.
25. Your design is responsive
A desktop UI provides more space to show results. In a mobile, UI there’s less space, and UI elements should be shown stacked instead of next to each other to increase usability. Check if the items in the UI scale accordingly.
“Your images are engaging, high quality and load easily.”
26. You have an image for each answer in the question bank
People are very visual and pictures help to recreate the aspirational nature of humans. Use relevant pictures depending on the culture and customs of the region where you publish the Product Finder. Be sure to pick the right images for the right medium.
How to fix: Find images for each answer. On mobile, icons usually work better.
27. You have high-quality images
Provide high-quality images that are not blurry and clearly show what you want. They need to have a link with the answer that you add it to. Dimensions of the picture should be at least 240px by 240px. The best picture format is PNG or JPG.
Some things to note for the best result:
Ratio of image: 4:3, 16:9
Keep the most important subject in the middle of the image.
How to fix: Pick a sharp image. Check the dimensions of your image before uploading them. If the image is too small, find another one.
28. Your images load quickly
Keep the file-size of your images as small as possible to decrease loading time for the Product Finder.
How to fix: Pick images with smaller file size. Compress your images to make them smaller. Pick png for transparent images and jpg for other images.
You can find more tips and recommendations in the Requirements and Recommendations section!