4 Easy Ways Retailers Can Improve Their Site Search Experience6 min readReading Time: 5 minutes
According to AdSearch, 68% of shoppers would not return to a site that provided a poor search experience.
We live in a time where shoppers can search for anything online and have results delivered within milliseconds. With the current e-commerce climate being this efficient, shoppers are unwilling to settle for anything else. They are likely to exit a website if the search results are not relevant to what they would like.
With an endless catalog and a vast array of products, retailers often find it difficult to provide exactly what the shopper is looking for. This leads to increased bounce rates and abandoned journeys. A shopper may search for ‘Tangerine dress’, and get no relevant results. As a result, the shopper leaves the site.
The retailer just lost a customer – even though they may have a range of relevant products that have just been tagged “orange”.
In another case, a shopper searching for ‘turquoise dress’ is directed to over 15 pages of products – each of which showcases different types apparel in every shade of blue. She spends an endless amount of time scrolling through the site and is overwhelmed by the options. She still cannot find the product best suited to her likes. Out of frustration, the she decides to try her luck elsewhere and exits the site. This is a typical case of Paradox of Choice.
Finding the perfect product in an online store for shoppers often ends up being like finding a needle in a haystack. They are either greeted with too many options, which do not fit the bill, or none at all. This leads to a poor experience and the shopper abandoning the site.
As a retailer, quick product discovery is imperative. Unless a customer can find a product he/she wants to buy, no amount of traffic or conversion optimization will be able to drive revenue. This is where an optimized site search solution can help.
In a study conducted by ClickTale, it was found that on websites without an optimized search functionality, shoppers spent a large amount of time looking for a product but ultimately left because they were unable to find what they were looking for.
But this was not the case when retailers invested in optimizing their search pages. Even though customers spent less time on site, they inevitably found their desired product. As a result, they stuck around to make a purchase.
But what is an optimized search function? How can retailers ensure that their site search engine can give shoppers exactly what they are looking for?
By making sure that the search results have the two basic pillars of a good search experience –
Do the search results match the keywords typed in?
Shoppers searching for something usually are very clear about what they are looking for. Wrong or mismatched results are sure to drive them away. Search results must be accurate and display the products closest to the keywords the shopper has searched for.
28% of shoppers are frustrated when they receive irrelevant product results while searching. Nearly 24% cannot find what they are looking for.
Do the search results display products best suited to every individual customer?
In today’s incredibly competitive retail world, personalizing across shopper journeys is no longer an option – but a necessity. This stands for site search too. Shoppers browse through a site expecting to see results that are relevant to their needs and preferences. If this is not the case, they simply move on the next best site that customizes this experience for them.
According to a Forrester study, 77% of shoppers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides personalized experiences.
Often, search results page churn out an “Error 404 Page not found” when poorly typed search words are entered. Ideally, the search engine should be able to identify every poorly worded search and return a good set of results. With standardised product tags, it is possible to ensure that any keyword search returns some related products or product suggestions.
Here’s how an A.I powered solution can help with site search
With Vue.ai’s automation based solution, retailers can –
1. Reduce null results page
Quality product data can help retailers recommend similar results when the product searched is not available or sold out, helping reduce drop-offs from zero search results. This way, when the customer searches for a ‘lilac dress’ that is not available in the product catalog, the site can still return results of purple dresses in shades close to lilac.
2. Manage common typing errors with intelligent guesses
Often, with poorly typed or worded search terms, the search results churns out an “Error 404 not found” or something similar.
Instead of searching for a ‘sheer’ dress the customer may have entered in ‘shear’ dress which will inevitably deliver no results, driving the shopper out of the site. Ideally, the search engine should be able to return a good set of results even in these cases by predicting what the term could have been. A.I. can help power automatic keyword substitution. This helps retailers display relevant search results for a search that does not have a perfect match.
3. Personalized sorting of search results
Vue.ai’s automation-based solution can help retailers interlink detailed product data with deep knowledge of the shopper’s style preferences, occasion and previous purchase patterns to personalize search results.
The product listings on the search results page can also be sorted and personalized to each shopper’s preferences. This allows them to find products that they like the best without even having to scroll. Retailers across the globe have been able to reduce bounce rates and increase conversions with personalised sorting of search results.
4. Improve accuracy
Retailers can leverage A.I. to understand both visual and textual data, extract and build deep, accurate tags and product information.
When a customer searches for a ‘polka dotted top’ on an A.I. driven search engine, they will no longer be greeted with endless results of polka dotted socks, striped tops, and floral ponchos. The accuracy of search will improve significantly – creating a better search experience and increasing conversions.
With an A.I powered solution, retailers can help improve their product discovery process through a highly automated and powerful search platform, revolutionizing customer shopping experiences like never before.
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