t’s a simple notion. If customers can’t find your products, then they can’t buy them.
Easy product findability is a must have in today’s e-commerce marketplace for competitive advantage, increased conversions, and customer satisfaction. E-retailers that understand the value of site search and how it relates to product findability will ultimately see higher online revenue and customer retention.
In a Wired article about on-site findability, they write that “Users who had successful site searches are twice as likely to ultimately convert,” and that “every dollar spent to enhance findability delivers paying customers, who in turn generate revenue to offset that investment in findability.”
Research shows a clear ROI for effective site search, but many e-retailers struggle to provide a search experience that produces higher conversion rates. Instead, they routinely display inaccurate, irrelevant, or even zero search results. This leads to customer frustration and site abandonment.
While part of the problem may be your search technology, the more likely culprit is your product content. Search technology is only as good as the product content it works from; if your product content is lacking, then your technology will display lacking results.
Product content optimized for site search produces more relevant search results, which in turn, makes customers feel confident they’ve found the correct product that best fits their needs. Here are a few basics to know when getting started optimizing for search.
The Importance of Relevancy
Effective site search should always display products that match what the customer searched for and what the customer expects to see. Site search must show customers relevant products.
For example, a search for sports watch should only display sports watches – what the customer searched for – and exclude watch straps or batteries, because the customer doesn’t expect to see accessories. Similarly, a search for cashmere sweaters shouldn’t display Oxford shirts. They’re irrelevant to the customer’s search.
Relevancy is so important because it builds trust with customers and gives them faith in your brand, which in turn, produces loyalty and higher retention rates. This is critical if e-retailers want to take advantage of the tremendous growth in e-commerce over the past several years.
Since relevancy is a cornerstone of effective site search, how does your search technology know what products are relevant? Your technology decides what’s relevant based on your product content, which means if your content is inconsistent or missing information, your technology can’t produce the most relevant results.
When a customer searches by keyword, your website scans your product content to decide what’s relevant and what isn’t. The two types of product content your website scans are product categories and product characteristics.
Now, imagine a customer enters the keyword sports watch into a website’s search box. Let’s say this website sells five different sports watches from five different brands. Each watch has varying levels of product categories and characteristics, form type, like “sports watch,” to material, like “rubber.”
Say your customer is searching for a sports watch, but all your fields are not properly filled out, and instead of seeing a sports watch show up first, a more expensive, jewelry watch appears. You’ve probably lost that customer to ineffective search.
Always Thinking of Customers
Product content optimized for search will always put the right products in front of your customers. This creates competitive advantage necessary for increased conversions and e-commerce success.
Together with technology, product content optimized for search creates a positive e-commerce shopping experience that improves customer satisfaction and retention.