Visit an Activewear brand site, and you’re likely to face an overwhelming array of choices. Looking for leggings? Here are ten different varieties. Seeking out sneakers? Here are five that all look the same but have different technical specifications you can’t quite understand.

This common situation actually presents an opportunity for brands, according to L2’s Guided Selling report. The study makes the case that by employing tools like product finders and sophisticated filters, brands can help consumers find the right products – and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Product finders are one way to help consumers locate relevant items. Yet these useful tools appear to be underused: just 7% of Activewear brands employ a product finder, according to L2’s study. One example is The North Face, which launched an IBM Watson-Powered product finder in 2015 that uses artificial intelligence to make product suggestions. Another is Brooks Running, which created a simpler nine-step Shoe Finder questionnaire.

REI guided selling

Brands can also simplify the online experience by letting consumers view multiple options side by side in order to compare their merits. As many as 16% of brands provide this useful feature, although just six of them encourage conversions by incorporating quick-view functionality. Sophisticated filtering tools are also increasingly popular among brands. Nearly half of brands in L2’s study let users filter items by product use: for example, Lululemon offers the option to sort by activity.

While these features would also be welcome on Fashion sites, they are particularly handy in the Activewear category, where consumers typically shop with highly specific needs. Helping shoppers find the right pair of leggings or sneakers right away could make the difference in whether they return.

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