Shopping Guide Pro
Before you start
Not only this, but you have decited to do something awesome: Help your customers in the early stage of the buy process (customer is researching) by providing them with a shopping guide. This in turn will ..
- .. drive your traffic, as you will additionally pick customers in research-mode, not only those ready to buy.
- .. increase your conversions, as customers finished reading your guide will ..
- .. be presented with the best fitting item for them from your shop
- .. have trust that this is the best fitting item for them, because ..
- they are now educated
- the guide shows how many percent of the user's required features on that product are covered by the suggestion
- the guide shows which required features are covered by the suggested item, and which are not
- all of this shifts the early customers from research-mode further towards buy-mode
- .. increase your SEO, as an interactive shoppingguide is a pretty neat and unique asset, which site owners and happy customers like to link to in their blogs and forum posts.
Building a good shopping guide is not easy. You're challenged with research, identifying and modelling product key features, collecting and entering data and at the end write some decent chapters.
The Users Manual will guide you through all of that. Imagine you're put in the position of a storeowner selling sports gadgets - it's 2010 and the first fitness trackers emerge. You've put some models on your store and want to have an edge over your much bigger competitors. That's where you decite to build the ultimate guide for fitness trackers - that's where our journey begins.
Before you can jump into the app and write the ultimate guide, you actually need to prepare the ground. You're going to create a list of all important aspects of your product, together with why they are important and some examplary values. For the exemplary values you can in turn again write down again why they are important. Writing down why s.th. is important will later feed the content when you start writing chapters and it will get your mind going.
All of this will shape the scope of your guide and get your knowledge out of your head onto paper. This way you can work in a more structured way in the next steps.
- Must withstand the persons activity (explains why the wristband is important)
- Wristband with loose closure (exemplary value "loose closure")
- Not good for sports (in turn explains why ..)
- Wristbands with clasp
- Required if person is going for real sports
- Trackers without wristband
- Clip to Jeans or Jacket
- Leather (more fashionable)
- Rubber (sports)
- What about allergies?
And although you're probably an expert in the niche you're selling to, you should definetly research existing guides and other sources, simply because you can't know everything or may have missed new evolvements in the market.
I like to do the research in the following way:
- Create a Microsoft Word file "Fitness Tracker Research.doc" (Word is a great tool for keeping things structured and sleek)
- Find other sources
- Google for "fitness tracker guide", "fitness tracker how to buy", "fitness tracker what to consider", "fitness tracker how to find"
- Choose only in depth sources and dismiss cheap "Top 10 fitness trackers 2018" write ups
- Dump the urls into your research files and mark them with a "[todo]" annotation. You will change that to "[done]", once you have fully processed a source.
- Read and write down in comments: Go through the sources one by one and start to write down all important aspects of the product. Word can be especially helpful here, as you'll be able to write down the essence of an aspect as a bullet list and any details, citations, or explanatory text can be added as a review comment (Word Menu -> Review -> Add Comment). This way you don't clutter your primary information (which aspects are there? what are some examples?) with more in depth information.
- Google for details: If you feel you need more detailed information about a certain aspect, google it separately and add the information. For example in the fitnessband niche you may like to further understand what the differences between 'optical heart rate monitoring' vs 'chestbelt heartrate monitoring' is. You can then write down durther details in the comments of the item.
Finally you'll end up with a Word-file full of apsects and related information in the comments. What will we do with if?
- Derive features of your product (e.g. "Band Material: Leather, Rubber, ..")
- Derive chapter structure (e.g. you see that a lot of aspects match the theme "Sleep Tracking")
- Derive chapter content (e.g. you have added a lot of important facts/citations/nice-to-knows as comments)
It is now time to create the initial draft of your product model, i.e. write down an initial list of product features relevant for your customers' buy-decision.
Practically this means to go through your file of important aspects (input) and transform (make decisions) them into a condensed Excel-file of well defined features (output). This will be your initial "Product Model", which may look like this:
Please feel free to use this excel sheet as a template.
You have probably noticed that in the example above every feature has a "type" assigned to it. This means to reflect and decide if that feature is for example ..
- a number (e.g. battery life is of type "number of days")
- a yes/no decision (e.g. does the tracker work with an iphone? "yes/no")
- a value from a fixed list of possible values (e.g. there may be a fixed list of sensors a fitness tracker may have: "acceleration, temperature, heartbeat, gps, altitude, ..")
Thinking about types vastly helps to shapes your shopping guide. The feature 'waterproof' could for example be modeled as a yes/no decision, an integer number (how many meters are allowed), or an enumeration of fixed values (waterproof ratings according to IP Code Standard). This decision will substantially influence how much data you will have to collect and how your customer will be able to use your guide (is he really interested to decide on a fine grained level, how many meters exactly the wristband must withstand? No? Then better just provide a yes/no decision or just a limited number of fixed options).
Besides just assigning types, you'll also want to sculpture your product model. You'll transform the important aspects by grouping them together, tearing them appart, or pruning them away. Let's go through the example below.
Choose types: You have collected important aspects, such as "Heartrate Monitor", "Counts Calories", "Counts Distance" and now you've put them into your product model as features. You've chosen a boolean type (yes/no) and you could stop here. Great! Although any type of product can in theory be modeled with a long list of yes/no-features, creating a very long list of features doesn't feel right: Have you ever read an article titled "The 57 easy steps to pick the right tooth brush"? Long lists do not capture similarities between certain aspects. They rather spell out each and every item, without recognizing the overall structure.
Consolidate similar features: By looking at the long list of , it is easy to see that most of the features belong together. All of them are about the capabilities to record the users' data, either directly (Sensors) or indirectly (estimate calories, distance). Therefore the long list can easily be consolidated into two features, i.e "Trackable" - Things that are estimated / tracked by the band, and "Sensors" - Sensors that are build into the device. The type is changed to "enum", because both features have a fixed list of available options (Track calories, steps, distance, ..). This list of features looks much more structured - it's easier to understand the overall picture and it's also becoming evident that there should be a chapter around "Tracking capabilities".
Take your visitors' view: So now you've arrived at two features - Trackables and Sensors - and that seems to be much more manageable. Now please put yourself in your visitor's shoes. What would his experiende be going through your shopping guide? Let's see:
He would first (1) read something about things that can be tracked: Steps, Calories and his heart rate. With ShoppingGuidePro he will then for example be able to select "halories" and "heartrate" as cruicial features that he want's to have for his fitness tracker.
After that he reads about (2) sensors: GPS, Optical Heartrate Sensor, etc. - but wait.. Didn't we already have the heartrate? Why bother with the heartrate again?
Something is clearly not right with the user experience and the reason is that the list of "Trackables" and "Sensors" can in fact be converted one into the other: "A (2) Heart-rate sensor tracks a (1) heart rate", or "A (2) GPS sensor tracks a (1) Position", or "An (2) Accelerometer-Sensor + some software can track (1) Steps", or "The same (2) Accelerometer-Sensor + other software can track (1) Distance". During your research you have just sometimes written down the "Trackable" side of the equation, and sometimes the "Sensor". This means that basically one of those lists would be enough.
But hold on: If we throw away the "Trackable" list, this might be overwhelming for the visitor: 90% of your visitors don't care if there is an accelerometer or not - hell, they'd probably read that word for the first time in their lives! What is meaningful for them is the possibility to measure steps, but not in the technical details.
On the other hand If we dismiss the "Sensors" list, we end up with the option to track your "Heartrate", but we lose the possibility to make a finegrained decision between tracking the heartrate with a (1) chestbelt sensor, or via (2) optical sensor. Chestbelt sensors are way more accurate when measuring the heartrate, while optical sensors are just rough estimations that work for endurance sports with relatively constant heartrates, such as running. This is a case where it is actually cruicial to educate the user about the different sensor technologies and let him choose the one adequate for him.
Therefore the best solution is not to dismiss neither of the lists, but create a mixed list "Tracking and Sensors", where for each item only the adequate option is added (i.e. add "Steps" to the list, but not "Accelerometer Sensor"; add "Optical Heartrate Sensor, Chestbelt Heartrate Sensor", but not "Heartrate").
Phew, that was tought, wasn't it? Now you have formally modeled your product and there's a tiny step left, before we start to work within ShoppingGuidePro: Initial data collection.
Before we jump into creating the guide, we shall first collect the data for 3-5 products. This validates the feature model we have created before, so we know whether it's good or not.
For example we may have overestimated the importance of certains features and will realize that these features are mostly the same for all products. Features that do not differentiate products are not worth to collect data for and can probably be removed from the feature list. In the best case they are mentioned as a side-note within an adequate chapter. On the other hand we may have missed some key-features of the products, which will become evident, once we have skimmed through a few of those items.
Also you might find more appropriate synonyms to use in your copy.
Data Collection Excel Sheet
"Oh no, not another Excel sheet!" - I promise it's the last one. 😉
In the end of course, the data needs to go into ShoppingGuidePro, but as an intermediate step, excel sheets are good, because ..
- .. you can use them to fine-tune your feature model (this is what we do here).
- .. you can outsource the datacollection to freelancers, and ..
- .. you don't want to give them access to your shoppify store.
- .. you can pass additional instructions and hints on how to collect the data within the sheet.
To create the sheet, just make columns for the different features as in the picture below. Notice how the different values for features such as "Tracking and Sensors" are put into separate columns, i.e. "Steps", "Calories", etc are put into separate columns. This is because several of these values can apply at the same time. If there was only one column to keep the list of relevant sensors, an entry like "Steps, Calories, Heartrate (optical), GPS, .." would be unnecessarily hard to read. Trust me on this one.
Please feel free to download the Exemplary Data Collection Sheet.
Sources for data collectionWhen collecting your first data, sites with lot's of product specification will be helpful. These are often ..
- Other Shops (google for "fitness tracker shop")
- Product comparsion articles (google for "fitness tracker comparsion")
- Vendor sites (google for "<product name> speficitation" or "<product name> technical specification")
- have many products
- lot's of specification per product (otherwise you'll need to research any missing information individually for each product)
- offer strtuctured data (tables instead of free text)
- describe every product in the same structure / layout (allows to read the data fast)
Also create a new "Sources" worksheet within the data collection excel file, to store the urls that you have found to be good. If you later outsource the data collection to a freelancer, he will be able to use these links as a starting point.
Rework the modelAs stated earlier, you will find that several changes will enhance your product feature model:
- Remove features that are the same for all products or you find to be insignificant
- Add new features you have missed before
- Change features' names to more appropriate synonyms
Tutorial: Create your Shoppingguide
The installation of Shopping Guide Pro into your Shopify Store is pretty simple:
- Find Shopping Guide Pro in the Shopify App Store: https://apps.shopify.com/shopping-guide-pro
- Click on "Get", which will prompt you to log into your shopify store
- You will be prompted to accept the installation and grant permissions.Shopping Guide Pro needs to know which products are in your shopify store, so it can list them for your visitors and perform a search on them. To synchronize the list of products the permission to manage products is needed.
- That's it, it's done.
You'll end up in your store's administrative backend, where you can find Shopping Guide Pro in the app section. You'll be granted a completely free account, so that you can test the app and build our first shoppingguide.
Opening the app will lead you to the overview of your shoppingguides, which is at this point: completely empty. 🙂
Before jumping into the following nitty gritty detailed chapters, let's take a break. Enjoy our short presentation about the basic concepts of Shopping Guide Pro and how they play together - it will give you a good start by understanding the big picture.
You're good to go and create your first shopping guide: Click on that small "Plus" Icon in the Shopping Guide Overview.
This will take you to the following screen, where you can add the necessary data. For now, we'll solely be working with the tab "Create new Shopping Guide", but not with the tabs "Layout" and "Custom CSS". Those are covered in advanced chapters.
Please fill the following fields, before you hit "Create":
- Name: This will be the name of your shoppingguide, both visible in your shop's administrative backend and also visible to your visitors. Example: "Complete buyers guide to fitness trackers"
- Url: This is the URL under which the shoppingguide will be publicly accessible, i.e. this is also the address to which you should place a link within your shop's menus. This URL cannot be changed, but will automatically be generated by the app.
- Description: A description or some notes regarding this shoppingguide. Only visible internally and not visible for your visitors.
- Restrict Shoppingguide (to Collection)
Unchecked: This means that this shoppingguide applies to ALL products within your store. Choose this option only, if your store offers only one type of product.
Checked: If checked, the shoppingguide will only apply to a restricted number of products within your shop. In order to restrict the products, you will (1) have to create a collection within your shopify store (not within this app), (2) assign the respective products to this collection (again within your shopify store) and then select this collection within the dropdown box (within this app; see picture below).
After finalizing the creation of the shopping guide by clicking the "Create" button, the app returns to the shoppingguide overview. You should now be able to see your newly created guide, together with two possible actions:
- Edit: This will bing back the options for this guide, that we have just set.
- Delete: This will delete the shoppingguide. Please note that it is not possible to recover a once deleted. shoppingguide
Please note that when selecting the edit action, further menu entires for this shoppingguide are activated in the left menu. It is now possible to add features, decisions, chapters and edit product data for the newly created guide. All of this is covered in the next chapters.
Take your seat and hold your breath, finally you'll make use of the feature excel sheet created earlier. You have described aspects, such as "display", "sleep", "tracking and sensors" in this excel sheet, which are now added to Shopping Guide Pro. If you have already collected product data, this will also help.
The feature section of your shoppingguide is reached via the left side menu and newf features are added using the plus-button.
Please note that you don't need to add the product features "name" and "price", as these will be inferred from your Shopify store.
Add your first feature
With your excel sheet open, press the plus-button and you'll be presented with the following form. For starters we've added the feature "Battery Life" of type "Integer".
Name: This is the name of the feature to be added, which will also be presented to your visitors. In our example the respective names are "Brand", "Display", "Tracking and Sensors", "Sleep", "Online Platform", "Interfaces", Compatible System", "Battery Life", "Waterproof rating" and "Phone Integration".
Type: The most important decision to make along the way is to lay down the type. It will influence ..
.. the way you enter product data, e.g. for the type "Integer" you can only enter whole numbers (e.g. "10 days of battery life", as shown in our example) , whilst for "Enum" you pick from a fixed list of values (e.g. battery life could alternatively be modelled as "just a few days", "weeks", "several months"). You see that once product data has been entered in a certain format, it is not easily convertible.
.. the way your visitors make their decisions. For example a user would use a slider to set his preference for an Integer-feature, whilst he would press buttons to choose his desired values for an "Enum"-feature.
Unit: The unit is only relevant for the types Integer, Float and Intervall. It does not carry any logic, but is only displayed to the visitor to make clear what exactly is meant with numerical values (battery life in hours, days, weeks?). It is allowed to leave the unit empty.
Importance: For now this can be left as defaulted. Later on this can be used to finetune the algorithm of finding the best fitting product for a customer, i.e. give more weight to a very important feature, or give less weight to a negligible one. We'll tell you more later on.
You will inevitably come accross the feature type "Enum" (Enumeration), which has a special twist to it. Because for this type of feature there is only a fixed list of options the customer can choose from, this list needs to be defined first. For example there is only a fixed list of manufacturers the visitor can chose from. As shown in the picture below, an additional input field becomes visible for this case and you would add all brand names available in your store.
Once you have added all features, the feature section should look something like below. Congratulations, you've earned it! 🙂
Feature Types Overview
Still hungry for more? Let's take a deeper look at the various feature types available.
Used to describe wholenumbered numeric values. As a shopowner, you will enter a numeric value in the Shopping Guide Pro app:
Your visitors will be able to filter for the integer value, specifying a minimum allowed value and a maximum allowed value, using a slider widget with two handles (see below).
Using the Integer-type can sometimes be counterintuitive, particular when people do not intend to restrict their search for maximum values. People will for example not want to restrict "Battery Life" with a maximum value, because "more battery life = always better". Therefore they might be confused by the second handle of the slider. For these cases the feature may also be modeled using the feature type "Intervall".
Examples: Battery Life (in days) of fitness trackers, Harddrive space (in GB) for laptops.
Similar to an integer, but used for minimum and maximum ranges, e.g. a minimum/maximum allowed body weight for a product. As a shopowner you will enter the minimum and maximum range values in the backend:
Your visitors will be able to use a slider, to select products for which the slider's value fits into their intervall range.
Examples: minimum/maximum body weight, min/max user's height, battery life (as an alternative to integer).
A numeric value that needs to have decimal places. As a shopowner you will enter a dot-separated number.
Your visitors will be able to use the same slider as for the Integer-type, but adjustments of smaller scale are possible.
Examples: Display size, width, height.
A string is a freetext value that can be searched by the user. As a shopowner you will define the string value:
Your visitors will be able to search for values:
Warning: This feature type shall be avoided, as it does not provide a structured way to search for products. If for example the user wants to search for the brand name "Garmin", but mistypes it as "aGrmin", no products will be found. It is very often much more convenient to use the feature type "Enum", where no mistakes can be made.
A fixed list of values, the user can choose from. As a shopowner, you will first have to predefine which values apply to your products (e.g. write down all brand names available for your products). When entering the respective data for each product, you will have to select each value that applies:
This can be a single value (e.g. the fitness tracker "A360" is made by "Polar"), or even multiply values (e.g. the fitness tracker "A360" offers "heartrate, calorie and distance" as tracking options).
Your visitors will be presented a box with these values to choose from.
User selections have the following meanings:
- User selects one value, e.g. "Garmin" ⇒ The product's brand shall be "Garmin".
- User selects multiple values, e.g. "Garmin" and "Nike" ⇒ The brand shall be either "Garmin" or "Nike".
- Mandatory ⇒ The product needs to have a brand, but it doesn't matter which (e.g. no-name products do not apply).
- Don't care ⇒ This enum is not considered when matching products to the visitor.
This feature type is the most useful, as it ..
- creates a clear and compact model, due to compact clusters of values that belong together
- gives an easy structure to collect data without error
- provides an easy way for the visitor to choose values
Examples: brand name, tracking capabilities of fitness bands (distance, calories, heartrate, ..), backpacks' body fit (cheststraps, hip padding, back padding, compression straps, ..), laptops' storage type (HDD, SSD, Hybrid).
A feature type that allows only yes/no values. As a shopowner you will simply define whether a product does have a feature or not. It is also possible that for some of your products the feature does not apply, i.e. it is not possible to state yes or no (e.g. for all fitness bands with additional cheststrap heart rate monitors you want to state whether the cheststrap supports bluetooth; for those fitness bands that do not support a cheststrap in the first place it is not possible to state whether "the cheststrap supports bluetooth", thus this feature stays undefined for them).
Visitor can choose from a box similar to the enum feature type, with analogous meanings.
- Yes - The product needs this feature
- No - The product must NOT have this feature
- Don't care - The product may have this feature (yes) or not (no), or it may even not apply to this product (undefined)
If you happen to find a lot of similar boolean features, it is often useful to think about merging them into a single enum feature. E.g. "calory tracking: yes/no, distance tracking: yes/no, altitude tracking: yes/no, heartrate monitor: yes/no, .." will create a lot of seperated features which the user will have to decite on one by one. Instead these can be replaced by a single enum feature, namely "Tracking capabilities".
Very often boolean types appear for features that feel like "leftovers" and don't really fit to any other apsects of your products. That's okay, as long as you don't have a massive amount of them.
Examples: "Batteries included" for all sorts of electronics, "Allergy safe" for cosmetics, "included daypack" for backpacks.
When setting up features, it is possible to adjust their so-called "importance". This provides a way to make a feature more relevant for matching products to visitor needs or tone it's effects down. By default all features start as "important" and it is advised to fine-tune this setting only in case you find that your test-runs with your shoppingguide yield unsatisfactory product recommendations.
When a visitor works through your shopping guide, these importance-values are considered as numeric values / points when scoring products agains your visitor's preferences. A product that matches the visitor's preferences will "earn more points" than a product that does not match these preferences. The importance-values have the following meaning:
- Crucial: If this feature does not match the visitor's preferences, the product is out. Otherwise gives 4 points.
- Very Important: Gives 4 points if according to visitor's preferences.
- Important: Gives 2 points.
- Nive to have: Gives 1 point.
Please notice how "very important" makes a feature twice important compared to a feature that is just "important", same as for "important" vs. "nive to have".
In the chapters of "Before you start" we have already created our data collection sheet and added two or three entries (feel free to grab the exemplary initial data collection sheet). Now it's time to fill that sheet with data for ALL our products, so that we get this:
The online research to fill in all data points is very time consuming, so I strongly advise to delegate or outsource this work. This job can get done in just a few days by an online freelancer for very little money - and I'll show you how.
The website upwork.com is a huge online marketplace for jobs and tasks of any size: entrepreneurs will post job offers - freelancers will apply to get them.
The steps you need to take of are ..
- Register as a client.
- Post a good job offer / job description
- Screen candidates and hire
- Get the job done by the freelancer
I want to only guide you through the main point of that list, which is how to post a good job description, so that we find good candidates. I'm sure you can handle a registration form and have also used Paypal before. 😉
A good job offer
Once you've registered as a client on upwork.com you might want to check out the job description I have posted for the creation of this manual: https://www.upwork.com/jobs/~0158551aff550939b3
A good job posting is very specific about the work to be done and the expected deliverables. No time shall be wasted during the ongoing job, e.g. to re-explain the task, by sending back and fourth deliverables which were not produced as expected, et cetera.
Create a very specific image in the freelancers' mind, by laying out a step-by-step instruction, providing working materials, being precise with deadlines and you will attract the right kind of freelancers. Do this by including the following points:
The job context outlines an overall view of what's to do. This should include everything important to know about the job, without being too specific e.g. don't include detailed steps to complete the job.
The overall view should additionally contain:
- A hint to look at the data collection excel sheet for more details.
- The number of products the freelancer needs to complete, so that he will get a feeling for the size of the job.
- A time estimate for the job. If you have done the initial data collection, you should have a feeling how much time you have spent to complete one entry.
Examplary "Job Context"
You will be collecting data for 28 fitness trackers from the web. The data is such as ..
- Display: [yes/no]
- Color Display: [yes/no]
- Has Berometer Sensor [yes/no]
- Sleep Tracking [automatically, manually, - ]
- Waterproof Rating [20 meters, 50 meters, Splashproof, ..]
- Strap Material [Silicone, Elastomer, ..]”
For around 14 fitness trackers most of the data has already been collected, while 14 other trackers have no data at all.
The Excel sheet to fill is enclosed (please have a look). Descriptions of not so easy to understand features are given as excel comments (just click on the column header).
I estimate the Job to take 4-6 hours.
This gives clear step-by-step instructions to the freelancer and ensures the efficiency of the job execution. The worst thing is to find your freelancer not making progress and wasting days, because he is doing s.th. you did not intend him to do.
Exemplary "Your Job"
#### Your Job ####
1. Complete the data for 14 nearly finished entries
2. Fill all data for 14 blank entries.
3. Try to use online stores, where an overview of all features of a tracker is given on one page
4. If a feature cannot be found, google it proactively, for example “Samsung charm chest strap” and try to find the data on your own.
5. If you are stuck with one piece of data for an entry for a longer time / you have the feeling you cannot complete it, please first continue with the next piece. You can always come back.
6. If you think it makes sense to explain one of your entry, please add an excel comment (Shift + F2).
Make it clear which files you want to receive as an outfut and what they shall look like. Otherwise you'll end up with additional hours of work to reprocess the output. The data collection sheet is of course excellent for this, but I strongly advise to have a dedicated section to point out that this is the expected delivery format.
Examplary “Your deliverables and deadlines”
#### Your Deliverables and Deadlines ####
- The file you need to deliver is the filled Excel.
- I need the file on 28. April, but earlier is appreciated
Don't forget to attach the data collection sheet. You can add small comments into the sheet (Shift + F2), whenever you feel you need to give additional help to the freelancer. E.g. If the name of a product feature may not be crystal clear, explain it using an Excel comment.
Upwork allows to add questions that the applicants have to answer, before they apply. Make use of this feature to ..
- .. force them to look into the Excel sheet.
- This ways they will already start to get in touch with the subject before they have started the job.
- They will come up with blockers now and not during the job, e.g. "What is the difference between an optical heart rate monitor and a chest belt monitoring system?"
- .. encourage them to ask questions.
This way you can also filter out people that mass-apply for jobs, without even reading their descriptions.
- - Have you opened the excel and read all the types of features to collect?
- Do you understand all the features to collect?
- If you don’t understand any of them, please ask now (not later).
- Do you have any questions about the job description?
Otherwise the following proposed settings may be of interest for you:
- Title: 'Fitness Tracker' data collection and entry from Web [English]
- Category: "Admin Support -> Data Entry"
- Experience level: low
(this job is not rocket sience and there are many good enough people available for low rates)
- Should write a cover letter: Yes
(this will help you to screen people. in particular you might want to pick an enthusiast of your product category, e.g. somebody that already has multiple fitness trackers)
- Useful tags: data entry, data collection, microsoft excel, data scraping, internet research, web scraping, english
A short warning before you start: Don't be too fancy and don't write your job description in Microsoft Word. Upwork does not support any kind of formatting, just raw text.
The nice thing about outsourcing this type of work: You are now free to simultaniously work on the next action point - the chapters of your shopping guide.
Chapters are what your visitors will see, when they open your shopping guide. They will read one chapter and during the chapter they will be interviewed about their preferences, i.e. what they are looking for in terms of product features.
We will now ..
- Create a structure: Decide how many and which chapters the guide will have.
- Write content
- Insert images, widgets, etc.
Create a structure
A method I found working well is to take the list of available features and cluster them, putting those features together which belong to the same overall topic.
For example the features display, battery life and strap material are all about the basic usability of the fitness band: Will it be easy for the user to see his current data? Can he use a touchscreen? Will the user have to charge the band on a daily basis? Will he get skinrash from cheap materials?
Other features may deserve an own chapter. It takes a while to find the bigger themes for features, so don't give up so easily.
After the clustering is done, please think of good titles for the chapters.
Write content: The basics
Content doesn't grow on trees and I often have a hard time to write the next sentence.
Therefore it makes sense to make a short list of content that will go into each chapter. As an input, use your material that you have collected during your analysis work. As a tool, you might want to use a mind mapping software called xMind, where you can keep your chapter structure and further detail down the subsections of the chapters.
You can even attach more textual information to the subsections using a notepad functionality.
All of this will help you, when you finally start to write your content. If you happen to stare at a blank page, I can recommend the book "Writing Tools: 55 essential strategies for every writer".
Write content: With Shopping Guide Pro
Chapters are written using a visual editor (wysiwyg), i.e. the chosen text styles are directly visible in the editor window. It is however possible to change to a HTML editor for more complex formatting.
Also, every chapter has a few settings, such as ..
- Active [yes/no], means whether the chapter will be visible to the user, or whether the chapter is visible only in the Shopping Guide Pro backend.
- Interview via [information only/features/decisions].
- Information only chapters don't let the user make any choices, but only contain text.
- Feature chapters will let users choose values for features, e.g. the user can explicitly state that a fitness tracker should be waterproof for a depth of 50m, should support GPS, heartrate monitor, etc.
- Decision chapters will not let users choose explicit values for each feature, but only select predefined decisions, such as "I am a casual user". Decisions will further be explained in the next chapter.
Insert Images, feature widgets, etc.
Uploading images directly to the Shopping Guide Pro servers is unfortunately not supported. However the workaround for this is to upload any images you would like to use to your Shopify store and use the respective urls when you write your chapters.
In order to insert a feature widget, where the user can choose his desired values concerning a certain feature, you need to add that respective feature to the "Interview answers", click on the feature to generate a respective code for the widget, which is then to be pasted into the chapter. The visitor will see a widget at that point of the chapter.
Feature widget's can be placed in various places of a chapter, whilst decisions are automatically placed at the end of a chapter.
Feature layout options
Have you noticed how long the code to insert a widget actually is?
[filter-wizard filter-model="dilterDAO.getFilterForPropertyProfileId(6)" show-name="true" label-any="" label-irrelevant="" label-true="" label-false="" align="center"]
This code actually contains some options that can be used to change the look of the widget. Let's explore these options!
- true: There will be a label above the widget to display the feature’s name.
- false: No label.
- Used for enums, i.e. the button that is used to indicate that at least one of the enum values is wanted, but it doesn’t matter which.
- Per default labeled “Mandatory”.
- You may enter any text you like to replace “Mandatory” with s.th. that fits better.
- Used for enums and booleans, i.e. the button that is used to indicate that the values for this enum don’t matter.
- Per default labeled “Don’t care”.
- You may enter any text you like to replace “Don’t care” with s.th. that fits better.
- Used for booleans, i.e. the button that is used for the value true.
- Per default labeled “Yes”.
- You may enter any text.
- Used for booleans, i.e. the button that is used for the value false.
- Per default labeled “No”.
- You may enter any text.
- Used for all types of features.
- Used to control the alignment of the shown widget, per default “left”.
- Allowed values:
- left: The widget will show on the left side of the chapter.
- right: The widget will show on the right side.
- center: The widget will show on the center.
- fullwidth: The widget will occupy the whole width of the chapter.
Until now we've set up each chapter as 'Interview via features', so that the user can freely choose values for every feature available on the product. For some products this may however be intimidating and too complex (selling computers to old ladies? Oh boy! 😉 ).
Sometimes it makes sense to make it easier for your target audience and offer simple decision points. Let's go back to the fitness tracker example. You could make the visitor choose 'Casual User', 'Jogger', 'Swimmer' or 'Going to the gym'.
Based on his decision, the system would decide on it's own, which features are cruicial:
A casual user will be happy with the basic tracking capabilities - nothing special is needed here. He wears his tracker on a daily basis and would be annoyed by charging his tracker on a daily basis.
Therefore we preset features for a casual user to ..
- Tracking and Sensors: Nothing special required
- Battery Life: at least 7 days
Runners want to measure their heart rate and also keep track of their running tracks. There are two types of heartrate measuring techniques, which are  an optical measurement on the wrist and  a measurement via an additional chestbelt. The optical measurement only works for endurance sports and cannot catch workouts with heavy spikes in the users' heartrate. This is perfectly fine for runners, since they have a very uniform workload distribution during their workout.
- Tracking and Sensors:
- Optical heartrate monitor, or Chestbelt heartrate monitor
For swimming also both types of heartrate monitors will work fine, however we want to make sure, that the fitness band is suitable for going into the water.
- Tracking and Sensors: Optical heartrate monitor, Chestbelt heartrate monitor
- Waterproof rating: At least 20m
Going to the gym, doing high intentity or intervall training usually goes along with heavy spikes of the heartrate. An optical heartrate monitor is not good enough for this, since it averages out several heart rate measurements over the course of up to a minute, and it will not catch that spike. Therefore is it cruicial for this category of users to have high quality heart rate measurements.
- Tracking and Sensors: Chestbelt heartrate measurement
In Shopping Guide Pro you will then set up a "Decision" for each of those scenarios.
Let's have a detailed look at the "Gym" decision, where we want to preset values for the features.
- Using the "Add features" button, the features "Tracking and Sensors" and "Waterproof Rating" are added.
- Tracking and sensors is set to "Cheststrap heartrate"
- The waterproof rating is set to all depths that are okay. Take care that "Only one value must match" is selected.
When all decisions are in place, the last step is to set up a chapter to use decisions instead of features. This can be done qite easily.
- When editing a chapter, select the option "Interview via decisions"
- In "Interview answers" add all decisions relevant to this chapter, e.g. Casual User, Running, Swimming, Gym.
That's it. In contrast to using features, no code needs to be inserted into the chapter content, but the decisions will show up at the end of the chapter.
Your shopping guide should nicely blend into your store's theme, to make it look great. You will therefore have to adjust a few layout settings:
This settings is about the headline shown at the top of your shoppingguide. 3 basic alternatives and a few variations are possible ..
- Don't show: There won't be any headline above your shopping guide.
- Chapter title: The headline will show the name of the currently selected chapter. (Example: "Usability and appearance")
- Guide name: The headline will always show the name of the shoppingguide. (Example: "Which fitness tracker is right for you?")
Every theme has one dominant color to catch the visitor's attention - the so-called 'accent color'. As your shopping guide should fit in nicely, you should add this color to your guide's layout options.
If you cannot find the primary accent color in your theme's settings, you can also use tools such as "Just Color Picker".
If for some reason there needs to be additional blank space on top, on the left/right side or at the bottom under the shopping guide, you can use this setting to add additional whitespace on top/left/right/at the bottom of your shopping guide.
Usually the background color of the shopping guide derives from your shop theme. This setting can be used to manually override the guide's background color.
After the user has completed the shopping guide, he will be presented with the products matching his preferences.
As per default, the products are not shown within a box. A border can however be added manually, using this setting.
Per default, the products in the search results are shown in just one column (recommended). This can be changed to two columns.
Usually your shopping guide should nicely fit into your theme. We have however noticed that many free shopify themes treat "regular pages" and "apps" differently, when being presented to the user.
Regular pages would be presented in the middle of the screen, with a thick margin on the left and right side. To provide a consistent experience for the user this shall be the same for apps. Some themes however display apps at full width.
By enabling this option you can add the "page-width" class to your shopping guide, which will provide the same margins as for regular pages, within your free shopify themes.
Some themes provide too narrow space for displaying your shopping guide. If this is the case, you may use this option to extend your shopping guide beyond the restrictions set by the theme.
Once your data collection is done, you can populate this search data to your shopping guide.
In Shopping Guide Pro you have probably already noticed the red indicator in the shopping guide overview.
This is to quickly inform you whenever you have products that have no/incomplete data and therefore cannot be found by the shopping guide. This can easily be forgotten, as you add new products to your store - then this little indicator will let you know.
The product data can be entered in the "Maintain Product" section, where you will find the same indicator per each product. Once data has been filled, this indicator will disappear.
Because you probably have many products, there is a ..
- .. filter dropdown box on the top-left side, where you can select to show 'all products', products with 'incomplete data' or 'no data'.
- .. search box on the top-right side, where you can enter a product's name to drill down the list below.
For every product all relevant features will be shown. In the example below you see a lot of enum features, where checkboxes are used to select those values that apply.