Ecommerce Site Search in Online Retail?
Typically, software developers tend to program site search tools into the websites they develop, but end up developing a tool that is limited in scale and elasticity. They program the search function to work with specific keywords that make up the product nomenclature in the respective industry or domain. Most of the development effort goes into the aesthetic appeal of the website and the quality of product display.
Why is a site search function so critical in online retail you might ask? Remember the traditional setup of an offline shop. Would you or would you not have hired a smart sales executive or a team of such executives to engage each customer that visits your shop? Would you not want every customer to be stepping out only after successfully completing a sale? Whom do the customers turn to for advice on a product a product need, the specifications of a product? If all your answers are a resounding ‘Yes’ for a talented sales executive(s), you have your answer to the question we started with.
Ecommerce site search tools address those type of customers who generally know what they want to buy and type in some keywords. In some cases, they might not know the product keyword itself, but would know what the product is used for and how it is used. In an ecommerce setup, it is crucial for a site search tool to be able to decipher these nuances and make sense out of them.
Ecommerce site search tools should be able to facilitate quick and easy product discovery, and engage the customer. You competitors are waiting to lap these customers up if you do not engage them in a meaningful way. A whopping 76% of customers want an online retail site to make it easy for them to find what they want
Ecommerce Site Search in online Furniture Retail
Online furniture retail in India is not as developed as other industries like fashion, but is seeing significant adoption lately in all developing markets. The heavy investment in time and the limited range in an offline store are the compounding factors that are accelerating the growth in this sector. But how do you manage to allow the customers to query such a wide range of variety in the furniture industry. Not only that, you have to deal with different nomenclature for the same product among different demographics. That is a challenge that the furniture retail industry has been dealing with. An efficient, intuitive and smart site search tool then becomes the preferred solution.
Without an efficient ecommerce site search solution, your retail business stands to lose a good chunk of revenue and business to competitors. According to kissmetrics up to 12% of the visiting customers will leave your website, if they do not get the results, they are looking for using the site search tool. The same is true for any furniture retail business.
Pitfalls of Conventional Ecommerce Site Search in Online Furniture Retail
One of the most common issues with conventional ecommerce site search in online furniture retail is the inability of the tool to identify a product that goes by different names. Doesn’t it sound criminal to you to lose a customer just because your site wouldn’t recognise a less suave sounding name. To give you an example, in the Indian subcontinent context, a wardrobe is also called an “almirah” or “almari”. You could potentially loose a big order just because you do not have a smart and flexible site search solution working for you.
Another issue is error tolerance. Many customers end up searching on a furniture retail store using the wrong spelling or combination of keywords. What do we do for such customers in the offline world? Do we send them away immediately? No, we ask them to rephrase, we give them options to choose from and figure out the most likely product they are looking for. Even if we do not have a good match, we offer them a solution based on the specific requirement. In the online furniture retail world, many customers tend to turn away from sites that cannot offer them better search results for their queries. A customer may only retry a different search phrase on your competitor’s site and not yours. To be able to get it right the first time, is the key.
Is your search solution working for you? Let’s Find out
Let’s take a very simple example. Let’s take two competing websites and pit them against each other.
Urban Ladder and Wooden Street.
We attempt to search for a simple word “patio” on both the websites. Here is what we get on Wooden Street
Notice that we get only one option to choose from, although the site might have other items to choose from.
Now let’s see what we get as results for the same input on Urban Ladder
What do you think happened? Urban Ladder simply understands more jargon related to the word patio. Which site do you think the customer will tend to lean to? If a customer is looking for exactly what Wooden Street offered, they will still possibly complete the conversion. What about the rest? You getting the drift?
(This was an example for representation purposes only and does not make detailed assessment of the search tools in use.)
How do we mitigate these pitfalls? We find out in the section coming up.
Benefits of AI powered Ecommerce Site Search in Online Furniture Retail
With an AI powered Ecommerce Site search tool, you get to enjoy the benefits of a machine mimicking human intelligence behind the search bar. An AI powered site search tool uses technologies like Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) to better understand the customer queries and their context.
Some of the benefits of using AI powered ecommerce site search tools are
High Error Tolerance
The site search tool is immune to typos. Your site will never ever give a zero results page in response to a valid search that include typing errors. Using NLP, the engine is able to figure out the closest match. In fact, NLP allows customers to type in long tailed queries and get pointed results.
Smarter Customer Engagement
Even if the customer has searched for a product that is not in your inventory, a smart search engine is able to identify a related product that might go well with the product the customer is searching for. You are able to engage the customer better and pocket a conversion.
Using ML, site search engines are able to tag and establish better keyword product relationships. Using browsing and shopping history, a smarter AI based site search tool that uses ML is able to make intelligent product recommendations.
Better Product Discovery
With NLP in use, search queries are able to fish out products from the inventory every time, no exceptions. Would it be a disaster not being able to reach a product through your site search just for a typo?
Improved Customer Experience, trust and loyalty
With consistent and improved results for every search query, the confidence the customer entrusts in your online retail site, improves tremendously. With customer confidence comes customer loyalty. The customer will only tend to think of your website first when it comes to furniture. That’s half the sale done!
Choosing the right Ecommerce Site Search Solution
- Use a scalable site search solution
It is advisable to use a site search solution that is scalable, and can be plugged in and out on demand. A site search solution that can be easily integrated into your website. Hard coding your site search solution into your website, will most likely keep it limited in its capabilities
- Use a smart site search solution
With the world getting used to quick and efficient search results from search engines like Google, will quickly dump your site for a competitor who can offer quicker better and intuitive search results. Smart site search results will keep your customers engaged and loyal to your site.
- Use a site search solution that offers data analytics
Site search solutions are a great way to capture trends, search failures, customer sentiment and more. A smart site search solution that offers intelligent data analytics will help you get on top of trends quicker than your competitors and grab market share quicker than other businesses.