Technology Focus Part 3 Improve Your Site's Searchability
When evaluating future technology acquisitions, make services-oriented architecture a key selection criteria.
A new breed of software application has emerged over the last few years that has changed the dynamics of online product search within multichannel marketers' Web sites. Advanced search engines are becoming "must haves" on catalogers' lists of next-generation e-commerce features.
Advanced search technologies differ from traditional, structured search approaches that rely on simple keywords and description indexes. Today's better Web sites allow for searches that automatically categorize results sets by navigable counts of relevant subsets of data. For example, a customer's search for "denim" may result in a page that returns 10 hats, 22 pairs of pants, five handbags, three pairs of shoes and four shirts that all meet the criteria.
Additionally, the merchant's page may summarize the results by price range, season or brand. Each of subcategories then become a link to allow a quick drill-down into specific sets of items. In order to evaluate the relevant products, the search engine also uses the fact that "denim" is a synonym for "jeans" and "dungarees." Once customers reach a list of products, they'll see the images can automatically be sorted by relevancy, customer affinity or inventory position.
Search Engines' Effect on Shopping Behavior
70% of online users start with search
80% of online visitors abandon the purchase if the search doesn't work well
30% of shoppers are lost with each unnecessary click
Sources: Jupiter Research, IDC, Forrester Research
A customer's inability to quickly find the products she's interested in is the No. 1 reason cited for not completing a purchase online. Advanced search engines can make dramatic improvements in reducing the number of searches required to find a specific product, ultimately increasing revenue per site visit. Some noteworthy multichannel marketers that have implemented these tools on their sites include Nordstrom, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM and Barnes & Noble.