Search as an effective sales tool

Finding products is an essential part of the buying process that directly affects the level of sales in e-commerce channels. Inefficient UX/CX (User/Customer Experience) inevitably leads to a high percentage of rejections to buy and lost customers.  In this article, we will learn how to optimize the search for products in the brand’s online store.

Among the most important criteria for an effective search in e-commerce are the following:

  • A noticeable search bar and understandable logic. The most common practice is to place a search bar with a search icon (and/or button) in the site’s header. The mobile version only permits the search icon to save a space on the screen. It is also worth considering how different users can initiate a search: click on the icon, click on the button and click Enter after entering the search query.
  • Tolerance to mistakes. The search algorithm should take into account and automatically correct typos and grammatical errors.
  • Contextual suggestions. Having contextual offers (automatic addition to a search query) in the drop-down menu increases the conversion of users to buyers. This optimizes the search for the right product and provides additional options at the inquiry input stage before the search results are displayed.
  • The ease of changing a search query. The entered query should remain visible to the user on the search engine page and be displayed in the search bar. This allows users to quickly and conveniently adjust (or completely change) the request, especially on mobile devices, thus keeping potential buyers on the site.
  • The most relevant results are at the beginning of the search result page. Unfortunately, this obvious rule is not always taken into account at the programming stage of search algorithms. In some cases, even a detailed query may produce results corresponding with only one of the keywords in the inquiry. This makes it difficult for the user to search and can lead to a high rejection rate. The most relevant results should appear at the top of the search result page.
  • Search by model or article. A user looking for a specific item by the model’s name or article is the most interested and “warmed up” visitor, who is the easiest to convert into a buyer. If a search query contains a unique identifier specific to a particular item, it is advisable to redirect the user to the product page rather than to the search engine page.
  • The ability to sort and filter. Sorting results (by price ascending or descending, rating, relevance, etc.) and narrowing search through filters (by product categories, characteristics, price range, availability, etc.) are integral elements and a good form rule for modern e-commerce.
  • Convenience of work with search results. In addition to sorting and filtering, the search engine interface should be easy to use from any device and possibly variable. For example, users can choose the mode of displaying results (list, tile, etc.). Also, the critical characteristics of each product should be visible on the search results page. This makes it easy to compare products without switching to individual product cards. It is also often appropriate to show the user the newly viewed items at the end of the current search results page.
  • No-result. A zero result that occurs for any reason (no product, incorrectly worded request, etc.) should not lead to a blank page. As an alternative, you can offer customers the products close to the product in the search inquiry, bestsellers, or, ideally, products recommended personally to a particular user. Another way to encourage visitors to shop, even after a no-result search outcome, is to place relevant catalog sections on the search page to show the available items.

The basic rules mentioned above can be supplemented with optional but convenient for user details that improve the overall buying experience:

  • Common language. Don’t forget that customers use conversational rather than formal language more often and can formulate search queries differently. The ideal search algorithm should consider various factors, including different morphological forms of words, synonyms, etc.
  • Extended Search Operators. Many advanced Internet users are familiar with advanced search operators used in large search engines. For example, the search only brings the results that match the text in quotes entirely when using quotes. Such a small detail can improve the accuracy of the search and, as a result, increase customer satisfaction.
  • Search for related products. Some users expect to be offered compatible accessories and other related products when searching for a “complex” product such as smartphones, laptops, or cameras. Adhering to this relevance rule, please do not abuse it and don’t put results showing compatible and related goods at the beginning of the search. However, showing related and compatible products in search results often increases the average purchase amount in many cases.
  • Machine learning mechanisms. Accurate and relevant product recommendation for a particular user is not possible without advanced machine learning mechanisms. Relatively difficult to develop and implement; however, if correctly configured, machine learning can increase sales and purchase amount, as it displays the goods that users are more likely to buy.

As we have seen, the search for goods has many parameters and nuances, and each of them can significantly influence the success of sales; or, conversely, the loss of users.  Setup and support of a convenient and efficient search algorithm is the key to quality consumer experience and increased sales in e-commerce channels.

A convenient and efficient search is the key to quality CX and increased sales in e-commerce channels.

Syntes, an international company, develops a next-generation MDM (Master Data Management) and PIM (Product Information Management) cloud platform and provides brands and manufacturers with services for creating, managing and automating D2C (Direct-to-Customer) sales and marketing channels. Syntes solutions and services are used by the world’s leading brands and manufacturers of consumer and business products such as Razer, Scarlett, Pantone, X-Rite, AVerMedia and others. Syntes is a registered trademark of Syntes, Inc.

Mentioned trademarks and company names are registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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