As a marketer at an ecommerce site, there is constant pressure to deliver more sales.

See how quizzes can help by personalizing your product selection.

Personalizing your ecommerce site to offer up a tailored product for each visitor can increase conversions by 30% or more.

Unfortunately, the reality is that personalization software can be expensive and time-consuming to implement - until recently.

A few months back, ecommerce sites began to adopt the quiz as a mechanism for providing targeted product recommendations, and the results have been nothing but impressive. 

Today I want to show you two example quizzes that combined to drive $15,686 in revenue. We’ll examine the exact process these sites used so you can implement it for your own products. 

Using a quiz to differentiate between similar products and make $7,260 

Rising star ecommerce site Birchbox created a quiz called “Find your facemask soulmate” that takes buyers through a journey ending with a product offering that’s irresistible. 

Let’s follow along. 

The quiz was implemented on the Birchbox magazine, which runs on a simple CMS so implementing it didn’t take too much time (compared to other methods for personalization).

It was a main feature for March 2015 and was quite popular. 

Once a potential buyer begins taking the quiz, it asks personal questions, really doing its best to understand the person taking the quiz so as to deliver up an accurate result.

The logic for the quiz was built up using research compiled from studies online for accuracy.

After five short questions, a facemask product is recommended, and of course there is a link to purchase the mask right there as part of the results.

This quiz result is where Birchbox really gets to utilize the personalization aspect of the quiz by providing a description that refers back to the way in which quiz takers answered the questions.

They do an excellent job of describing the product in a warm way that entices click-through to the purchase page. The way they accomplish this is by being very uplifting with the wording, but also honest.

So for example "is best for oily skin and removes pore-cloggers, leaving skin radiant, clear, and less susceptible to acne" that statement is both very poignant and very kind all at once, the exact combination that makes someone want to purchase the product. 

Results: 11,000 quiz takers, 3% sales conversion rate, average sale price of $22, $7,260 in new sales.

This quiz was wildly successful. It not only drove sales, but it was also a fun enough piece of content on its own to be share-able and drive social traffic.

This quiz achieved the rare combination of fun and practical, as it delighted readers and led to sales all at once. 

This Birchbox example shows us that a quiz can be used to help differentiate between similar products.

For them it was Facemasks, but it could very well be sweaters or wallets or cell phones. When you’re in a business that has several variations of a product, providing some level of personalization with a quiz is an excellent way to break through product confusion and increase sales.

Successfully launching an ecommerce site using the power of personalization through quizzes

A slightly more irreverent quiz, this one comes from a yet-to-be-launched startup running a Kickstarter campaign.

The quiz asks you a series of questions before identifying which kind of Elephant pants you should get.

This quiz appeals to the type of people who actually buy products like Elephant Pants in that there are mentions of travel, gourmet foods, and Friday night adventures.

The questions work to not only build up a portfolio for the quiz taker which will be used to provide a recommendation, but also build some trust with the person taking the quiz.

Given that this is a brand that doesn’t even exist yet, trust is important if the quiz is going to be effective at convincing people to pre-order the product, and the personable nature of the questions certainly work to build that trust. 

Once finished taking the quiz, a certain type of Elephant pants are recommended - again a stellar example of personalization. There is a link to the Kickstarter campaign to actually pre-order the recommended pair as well.

Results: $8,426 raised on Kickstarter. Also, The Elephant Pants brand has since beomce a thriving company with a full website outside of Kickstarter and healthy sales.

This quiz was an integral part of launching a successful stand-alone E-commerce website. 

As a marketer within an ecommerce company you need to find ways to make sales.

Quizzes can work for any industry to help personalize your website and sell products without a huge up-front investment.

Personalized recommendations can increase sales by 30% or more, and quizzes are the quick and easy way to personalize your online shop. 

Josh Haynam

Published 7 April, 2015 by Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam is Founder at Interact and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (5)

Christopher Rose

Christopher Rose, PPC Marketing Director at Rose Digital Marketing

This was interesting as far as it went, but not actually a "how to"...

over 3 years ago


Alicja Krzeminska, B2B Marketing Manager at Flubit

Great article. I work in an ecommerce start that creates personal offers for each customer. We have learned to gather data about our users by asking them fun questions each time they make a purchase. And it really works. We are able to create more tailored offers for them and our conversion rate is over 30% . Asking questions is the best way to get an answer,huh? Who would have thought :)

over 3 years ago

Roger England

Roger England, Owner at Right Direction Marketing

Hi Josh,
Interesting article. Don't we Brits just love answering questions?? Marketers need to make sure that this 'tactic' isn't over-used though, otherwise it'll soon become a turn-off for e-commerce customers.

over 3 years ago

Josh Haynam

Josh Haynam, Founder at Interact

Alijca - That's awesome! I always tell people that you can try to re-create those fun questions using a quiz to scale up your efforts - I would assume that a lot of the questions are similar for each customer, which would lend itself to making a quiz?

Roger - I agree, and I think the key to not over-using the tactic is to keep the quality really high. If you don't release a quiz until it's amazing, there just won't be enough time to over-use the quizzes.

over 3 years ago

Milosz Krasinski

Milosz Krasinski, Digital Marketing Manager at Smart Assistant

Good reading Josh! Really enjoyed it. Here are my 2 cents :)

I agree with you that e-commerce sales quizzes, if done right, help increase conversions, but can do much more. Higher customer satisfaction, reduced return rates, increased sales, reduced customer care costs are just to name a few. And, taking into account that today’s shopper is usually confronted with a multitude of options (choice overload is real!) quizzes can have a major impact on alleviating decision anxiety.

Choice overload is one of the most common reasons why shoppers decide not to decide. Providing support and advice in e-commerce in the form of quizzes aka Guided Selling, product finders, product wizards etc is somewhat critical if not a must for retailers today. Here’s an interesting article that talks about the benefits of this approach:

about 2 years ago

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