Article

Andreas Brueckner
Andreas Brueckner 17 May 2018
Categories Ecommerce, Technology

What is the biggest onsite search headache for retailers?

The concept of searching online seems straightforward on the face of it. Look a little more closely, and there is an intricate web of purpose, desired outcomes and best practice to consider.

I regularly speak to retailers about how to provide the best onsite search experience. Knowing how to understand a customer’s intent is their foremost concern, and my advice to them is to see search engines as virtual shop assistants. Use technology to engage better with the consumer and combine it with a human touch to apply direction.

The problem is it’s hard to define what good search is. That’s because we often confuse relevant results with useful results. Nowadays, returning relevant results wherever possible is pretty much a given for the vast majority of search requests. The greater challenges for retailers are searches for products where the customer’s intent is unclear or where no results that match exactly are available.

Make the shopper part of the search algorithm

While we can, and should, try to make our algorithms better in deciphering user intent, we should also consider involving shoppers wherever they can be more effective than algorithms. After all, they know why they are searching for something. If we aim to make our search engines more transparent and interactive and combine automation with creativity and control, we will deliver the correct results. Whenever a search algorithm is unsure about search intent, ask the shopper to clarify. All this gives them the feeling the search engine truly understands them, and that they are in control of their buying experience.

Implement intelligent Interfaces

With good user interface design it’s easy to change the perception of a search engine - especially for those cases where algorithmic solutions are difficult. For example, a common approach to searches for sold out products is to force wonky results onto customers based on a doubtful similarity matching logic. Instead, it’s perfectly fine to tell them that the product isn’t available. The important task is to guide the consumer to alternatives: tell them why there are no results and offer meaningful alternatives that are contextually suitable.

Relevancy is key

In short, we need to start thinking about searches as conversations with customers. We need to take what bricks-and-mortar stores have been perfecting for hundreds of years, and teach search engines good customer service.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of...

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more
7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. And if you are not applying this profitable...

Sharron Nelson
Sharron Nelson 6 February 2018
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Collection Of The Best Email Testing Tools Online

Don’t be afraid of email testing. There are many free or freemium tools online that can help you with testing your SPAM score, deliverability and even the rendering of your email. We feature 30 email testing tools in...

Roland Pokornyik
Roland Pokornyik 31 October 2016
Read more