Buying Guide Examples
Buying Guides 101
Consumer behavior looks different than ever before. Think about yourself as a consumer. How do you shop? Do you wander around the aisles of your nearest home improvement store looking for the best lawn mower or dishwasher to purchase? Or, do you spend time researching online before ever stepping foot in a store, to come into the purchasing decision well-informed? Most of us start our buying journey for a larger purchase with the latter; 81 percent of consumers spend time researching online before making a large purchase.
Consumers are looking at a myriad of different resources, like reviews from customers, videos on social media, how-to videos to see how easy a product is to install or set up, and so much more. But here’s the thing - a large portion of the content consumers are digesting is user-generated content that is not controlled by the brand. There’s a real opportunity for brands to create helpful resources that aid in the customer journey when it comes time for them to make a big purchasing decision. This allows brands to control the narrative of their products while giving accurate and relevant tips and guidance to consumers.
That’s where a buying guide comes into play
What Is a Buyer’s Guide?
A buyer’s guide is a resource that includes helpful information, tips, best practices, etc. to help guide consumers to purchasing the right product for their needs.
A buyer’s guide must include helpful information for customers that helps guide them to the right purchase decision to fit their specific needs. Otherwise, consumers won’t find the guide helpful nor will they come to trust your brand’s resources and may turn to other competitors to fulfill their purchasing needs.
What Is a Buyer’s Guide for Cars?
You might be familiar with the concept of a buyer’s guide for cars. A buyer’s guide for cars gathers product information, reviews, ratings, and more for consumers to digest before purchasing a vehicle. However, buyer’s guides aren’t just for vehicles. Almost any brand can benefit from creating a buyer’s guide for its customers.
What Is the Importance of Buying Guides?
A buyer’s guide is beneficial from both a marketing perspective and a consumer perspective.
For consumers, it serves as a guide that they can trust when making a considerable purchase that could take several hours of research, evaluation, and planning before purchasing.
For marketers, a buyer’s guide steers consumers down the path of purchasing their products, controls the content consumers read about their products rather than relying on unvetted user-generated content (that may or may not be accurate), and helps increase brand loyalty if consumers come to trust what your brand has to say within the resource. When asking “Who owns a buyer’s guide within the business,” it’s typically marketing as it’s a valuable piece of content that has the ability to increase demand and sales for the organization.
What Should Be Included in a Buying Guide?
What should be included in a buyer guide? There should be product descriptions, pricing information, features and benefits, and product images in a buyer’s guide that help direct consumers to their best choice.
Additionally, a buyer’s guide should be written in a way where it’s digestible to the reader. This can mean including product comparison charts within the guide, bullet points that describe various features, and customer reviews.
To review what must be included on a buyer’s guide, here’s a brief list of some things your brand will want to include when creating this resource:
- User review and ratings
- Helpful tips
- Product recommendations
Buying Guide Examples
Whether you sell refrigerators, cars, or even lawn care equipment, buyer’s guides are extremely beneficial for your customers to help them purchase their perfect product as well driving trust in your brand that customers can count on your organization to help them solve their specific problems. Let’s take a look at a few buying guide examples for a multitude of use cases.
Kitchen Appliance Buyer’s Guide Example
Doing any sort of home renovation project can be stressful. Adding another layer on top of an already tough situation, deciding what products to purchase for the project can be the thing that breaks the camel's back if you’re not well-equipped with the right information. Sure, consumers can look to places like Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration, but when it comes down to it, consumers need a resource from the store they’re loyal to or the brand they’re interested in purchasing to make their lives easier.
That’s where a buyer’s guide for appliances, for example, is a no-brainer for brands and marketing teams.
Let’s take a look at the Lowe’s buyers guide for washing machines as an example.
Here’s why it works - consumers will come to trust that Lowe’s can help them solve their problems and will turn to the retailer as the place where they continue to purchase from.
This washing machine buyer’s guide has tips on:
- Small Space Purchasing
- Pet Hair Control
- Energy Savings
- Mitigating Damage Control
Lowe’s also provides customers with a list of considerations they need to think about before starting their purchasing journey. This makes the actual research and discovery process much easier for consumers if they know what types of questions they should be asking when purchasing a new appliance for their home.
Lawn Care Equipment Buyer’s Guide Example
Lawn care equipment is another example of a considered product that consumers often spend a lot of time and effort researching before investing in a product. There are even home and garden shows that many consumers attend to see what lawn care equipment is the best product. So this is no small feat for consumers and they often need guidance to direct themselves to the best option.
A lawn mower buyer’s guide is extremely beneficial for brands to create because it not only increases search rankings and brand visibility when consumers are searching online for these types of resources, but if your brand can create a helpful resource for consumers, then your brand has just earned brand loyalty from consumers.
A buyer’s guide for lawn care equipment may include some definitions describing the various types of lawn mowers (push mowers versus self-propelled), what features might be most important to customers considering purchasing a lawn mower, and perhaps the type of maintenance required for a lawn mower.
Based on the buyer’s guide, and after learning about the various types of lawn mower types, the customer may then turn to a product guide or product catalog from the same brand or retailer to see what products are available based on the information they have collected.
What Is a Product Guide?
Now that we’ve taken a look at what a buyer’s guide is, let’s go over another common resource that brands create for consumers - a product guide.
If you’re confused about the difference between a product guide, product catalog, and buyer’s guide, don’t worry. These resources are often used in place of one another and have many similarities they share so it’s easy to mix them up. But each one has a specific purpose and varies slightly from the other.
A product guide is a resource that contains all of a brand’s products with relevant information such as images, product descriptions, related products, pricing, and more.
Product Guide vs. Buyer’s Guide
When comparing a product guide to a buyer’s guide, there’s no true “winner." One of these resources is not better than the other - they provide different solutions for consumers. A product guide is factual and informational where as a buyer’s guide is more helpful and directional. What we mean by that is a product guide lays out the information in a very direct way for a customer to make a decision based on the data within the guide. There is also a comprehensive list of a product guide with many (if not all) products a brand possesses.
A buyer’s guide is more of a helpful resource for customers that don’t necessarily list all of the brand’s available products. It is more or less an article that triggers useful questions or considerations for customers to think about.
Brands may choose to have both a product guide and a buyer’s guide. For example, a large appliance company may choose to create a product guide that has every available kitchen appliance in one location for customers to view. They may also create a more digestible and reader-friendly resource that provides tips on how customers can choose the best refrigerator or dishwasher for their homes based on a list of factors.
A buyer’s guide explains how a customer should think about purchasing, while a product guide provides what is available for the customer to purchase.
How Product Guides are Made
The purpose of a product guide is not the only factor that separates it from a buyer’s guide. It’s also in the way it’s presented to the customer.
Product guides are typically made in one of two ways - traditional methods and digital.
Traditional methods of creating product guides are a timely and costly process. Many times, if a company is using a traditional method to create a product guide, it often means they do not have a product information management (PIM) system in their tech stack. This is troublesome for several reasons including a lack of accurate product data and the inability to have a company’s product data in one place.
So the marketing team would need to track down all of the company’s product data for multiple products, which is often an impossible task. Once they’ve gathered the information, then they can begin creating the actual product guide. The team then sends the product guide to the printer to create hard copies of the resource and pays for the shipping and handling of these product guides which is extremely costly.
But worse - once the product guide is created and shipped, it’s almost always outdated because of the length of the project. Pricing or products within the product guide have been updated at this point and so the guide now contains inaccurate data for customers.
Keeping with the status quo is comfortable. It’s safe and familiar. But many times we find success in exploring avenues outside of our comfort zones. That’s why we recommend making your product guide digital.
Make Your Product Guide Digital
No one likes when their time is wasted. But that’s exactly what happens when brands use traditional methods to create their product guide. According to Gartner, poor data quality costs organizations an average of $15 million per year.
We touched on this earlier, but a PIM solution is an extremely useful tool for brands to organize, edit, and manage their product data. PIMs save teams hours of time looking for product information, only then to gather inaccurate data.
Here’s some things brands can store in a PIM:
- Product Name
- Product Description
- Product Manual
- Type of Refrigerator
- Product Images
- Related Products such as parts and accessories
Brands can store their product data in a PIM to ensure all of the information is accurate and present for marketing teams to then use in the product guide.
Check out this overview video of how Lumavate’s PIM can help brands save money and organize their product data.
With Lumavate’s PIM, you could have access to:
- Multiple Product Types
- Unlimited Products
- Unlimited Custom Attributes
- Product Relationships
- Change Log
- Integrate to Existing Systems
- Unlimited Users
- Drive Dynamic Digital Experiences
Once the marketing team gathers all of the data for the product guide, they can begin to assemble the content in a digital product guide experience. Why would teams want to create a digital product guide experience rather than a hard copy version? It saves time, money, and can be updated instantaneously if any changes occur to the product data. Plus, the experience of reading your brand’s product guide will be astronomically better.
How Do I Create a Buyer’s Guide?
You can get started with creating a product guide or a buyer’s guide in Lumavate today.
Schedule a demo to see how we can help transition your brand’s product data into our PIM and help create digital experiences for your products to enhance the customer experience, drive revenue, and decrease costs for your brand.