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How to Create a Competitive Advantage with Ecommerce Site Search

eCommerce website search is a search solution you can incorporate into your ecommerce store. It helps users find the exact products they’re looking for by matching keywords. 

However, retailers should not think about search functionality as just another feature – it can offer some advanced features that can set you apart from your competitors. If planned and executed properly, your eCommerce site search can bring you more benefits than you think. 

As per Baymard Institute, the data shows that 42% of ecommerce sites fail to fully support 8 key search query types performed by users such as:

  • “Exact” search queries (42% of sites reported issues)
  • “Product Type” search queries (71% of sites reported issues)
  • “Symptom” search queries (52%)
  • “Non-Product” search queries (39%)
  • “Feature” search queries (22%)
  • “Thematic” search queries (36%)
  • “Compatibility” search queries (30%)
  • “Slang, Abbreviation, and Symbol” search queries (49%)

Let’s dig deeper into eCommerce site search:

Site Search Solution Features

Faceted search allows users to narrow down and refine their search results. For example, if a customer searches for a term ‘chair’, your site can apply filters based on faceted categorization and specify results by company brand, color (e.g. blue chair etc.) and other filtering options. 

Product ranking is another feature you may implement on your site search – it will enable you to rank certain products higher/better than the others and give you control to decide which products will appear in your search results. 

Semantic search in retail divides the query in parts to identify differences between product categories and attributes. Some search solutions use NLP (natural language processing) as it helps search engines match keywords, structure and the intended meaning. 

Source: search.io

Search Query Types

We can find different types of search queries on how users ‘demonstrate’ the range of things to be searched.

Types can be:

  • Exact search – customer query matches a certain product name or a model
  • Product type search – customers search for a product type (e.g. ‘computer’ instead of typing in the specific brand name). 
  • Problem-based search – customers search for a solution to a problem
  • Non-product search – when customers search for general information about your business like delivery options, return policy and similar. 

Advanced site search solutions can help you establish the practices you need to improve for better relevance of results, yet you would need to do some manual work depending on your requirements. 

Source: growrevenue.io

Query Qualifiers

Query qualifiers help us narrow down the results we get from one of those original four basic types of searches. 

For example, some most common query qualifiers are:

  • Feature search – customers search for an attribute of a product (instead of ‘television’ they type in ‘smart television’ etc. )
  • Thematic search – similar to feature search but more general. Include things like promotions, usage locations, environmental conditions etc. 
  • Compatibility search – customers search for items compatible with something they’d like to buy. Users usually do not know exactly what is compatible, this search is important for electronic equipment like computers, cameras or smartphones and more. 
  • Relational search – customers search for products based on its affiliation with another item. 
  • Subjective search – customers refine their own search with non-objective qualifiers like beautiful or high quality etc. 
Source: blog.kissmetrics.com

Structure of Search

Any query involves linguistic syntax in order to be interpreted. 

Let’s look at three types of query structures:

  • Slang, abbreviation and symbol search – slang words to describe products (e.g. ‘loot’ instead of ‘money’ etc.) and abbreviations or symbols (‘$’ instead of  ‘dollar’ etc.)
  • Implicit Search – failed to include relevant quantifiers to properly improve the query. 
  • Natural Language Search – a full sentence search instead of a short keyword query. For example, users write: ‘what are the advantages of outdoor activities in winter’ vs. ‘advantages, outdoor, winter’ etc.)

Benefits of using Site Search in Your Online Store

Site search works in a similar way like when you go to the store and ask for help from a store associate. Such a feature enables your business to always direct a user to what they’re looking for. 

Higher conversion rates

A recent Forrester study showed that 8 out of 10 users ABANDON the store if it does not provide a convenient website navigation or does not display relevant results. 

Another SearchNode internal study revealed that searchers generate 30-60% of ALL eCommerce site revenues

Supply a simple and clear way to your products and make it as convenient as possible for them to enable a smooth purchase process. 

Source: barbaraweins.com

Better Customer Experience 

On-site search is an important factor in customers journeys no matter if they know what they need and came to look for that product or do not have a clear idea on what they want and will need some help narrowing it down. 

Search experience for customers plays a major part of the entire shopping experience and can be a crucial element for your shoppers. 

Analytics for Better Business Decisions

With analytics, you will get valuable insights into what your customers want, say, type etc. wehn searching for specific products and also which search returns irrelevant or no results!

In certain cases, it is not about changing business strategy but just tweaking your search solution. Once you compile data from your customers’ searches, you can validate if you may need to change search rules or add new ones to better serve your shoppers. 

Final Say

On-site search is a powerful tool – not only because it helps your shoppers to find their desired item faster – but because it also compiles important data on your customers’ preferences enabling you to personalize and optimize your offer just for them. 

Do not forget to continually optimize your site search to provide the best user experience for your shoppers. 

Such an additional effort will pay off in the long run.