How to Help Customers Sort Through Thousands of Products on Your Site

July 18, 2019

How to Help Customers Sort Through Thousands of Products on Your Site

The faster your customers find what they want on your site, the faster they’ll complete their purchases. If they don’t find what they’re looking for in 15 seconds you may risk losing them as they shop somewhere else. To avoid this from happening, you should use powerful site search tools in your digital strategy to organize your products and make it easy for customers to search your site and navigate to their preferred items. Customers will enjoy a better shopping experience and your organization will benefit as you increase eCommerce conversions and influence higher revenue per purchase.

If you’re thinking about implementing site search tools into your eCommerce strategy, there are a few terms you should know when researching these nifty tools. Be on the lookout for intelligent navigation, natural language semantic search, advanced auto-complete, cross sell or product recommendations and dynamic merchandising. Now let’s learn more about these terms.

Site Search Tools That Will Help Improve Your Website:

Intelligent Navigation

You’ve definitely seen intelligent navigation at work when scanning the web in the past few months. More and more companies are implementing intelligent navigation into their digital strategy to provide a higher-performing user experience. Some companies do it better than others, but overall intelligent navigation rapidly speeds up the path to purchase by presenting the customer with dynamic and relevant navigation categories based on their search terms and interests while also allowing them to sort, narrow and refine results using product attributes such as popularity, gender, size, color, price, brand, rating, best sellers and more.

Natural Language Semantic Search and Machine Learning Using natural language processing (NLP) and semantic algorithms, your website can serve the most relevant results and drive more conversions. Natural language semantic search attempts to predict the searcher’s intent based on query context and the relationship between the words used in the search. The algorithms interpret long-tail queries into a concept-based search, taking into account the user’s search history, location and spelling variations to determine context and predict the most relevant results. In other words, the algorithms bridge the user’s own words with actual product data to accurately interpret a user’s search for products. These algorithms get better through machine learning the more they are put to use, determining over time what results have been successful for various searches.

Advanced Auto-Complete

As customers type in search queries on your site, you can use advanced auto-complete to display accurate search possibilities and results instantly. It works even if your customer doesn’t know how to spell your product name perfectly or they only remember the first few letters in the product name searched. Some auto-complete platforms are more advanced than others and we are seeing not only text-based auto-complete but more advanced menus as well that show dynamic product images, categories and terms that are relevant based on the few letters typed in the search bar.

Cross-Sell or Product Recommendations

Cross-selling and product recommendation tools enable your site to display personalized and automated banners showing complementary items, recommended options and previously searched items while customers shop for products on your site. It provides a helpful way to assist customers in finding what they need and personalizes the experience. Recommending similar and complementary items help you increase your average order value as customers tack on more products to their order. Advanced search software enables your site to present suggested items, complementary items and previous products searched. Dynamic Merchandising

Dynamic merchandising engines add even more functionality and personalization to site search tools while letting you drive the process. Using a dynamic merchandising engine, you can encourage higher-revenue purchases by promoting high-margin products over less profitable ones. You can also motivate shoppers with banners, alternative product suggestions, category promotions, redirect campaigns and dynamic landing pages.  The Real-World Champions of Site Search Tools

Some companies are champions at implementing site search tools, take Sugarfina and Zappos for example. Sugarfina is a luxury candy company that caters to adult tastes. From champagne gummy bears to chocolate martini almonds, they create the most unique and varied candies - so they have a lot of products to organize.

Sugarfina employs advanced site search tools including intelligent navigation to sort their candies into categories like bestsellers, cocktail candy, seasonal candy, sugar-free candy, healthy candy, candy from different countries, corporate gifting, candy type, color, dietary needs and more. They also employ advanced auto-complete so you get intuitive results when you start typing in their site search bar. The idea behind doing this is so that no matter what path the customer takes when browsing their site, they are likely to find what they’re looking for even if they didn’t know they were looking for it. Zappos is the largest online footwear company that prides itself on the greatest customer service. What better way to serve your customers than by enabling them to find what they need as quickly as possible? Zappos organizes their footwear using intelligent navigation into categories like size, brand, price, color, occasion, features (like waterproof, closed-toe and antimicrobial), materials, pattern and theme.

Their search bar is prominently displayed on their homepage and they have a decent auto-complete feature. When you view a product, you’ll see multiple banners showing items bought by customers who liked the same items as you, products that you may like based on your search and similar styles to the item you chose to view. Customers are definitely able to find what they need and Zappos will benefit from this.

Powerful site search tools like intelligent navigation, natural language semantic search, advanced auto-complete, cross sell, product recommendations and dynamic merchandising are integral to a positive customer experience and a strong eCommerce strategy. To provide tangible benefits to your organization and customers, you should install advanced site search features and keep track of the resulting ROI benefits. Your customers will be glad you did!