THE POWER OF INTERNAL SITE SEARCH
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps get people to your eCommerce site, but only powerful internal site search will keep them on your site. Visitors who use onsite search usually have a high level of motivation and purchase intent. Combine their intent with effective search functionality, and you get a higher conversion rate of search to sale. In a study conducted by Econsultancy, conversion rates for companies nearly doubled when site visitors used onsite search and found what they were looking for.
As a specialist in eCommerce product data management and analytics, Unilog realizes how important internal site search is for businesses, which is why we put together this white paper to share our insights and strategies to help create a powerful search experience on your eCommerce site.
An internal site search involves much more than just a search box on your website. The search functionality must be intuitive, flexible, and useful for customers. That’s why it’s critical to utilize a sophisticated search tool like Apache Solr, which processes, digests, and analyzes your online data in ways that accommodate different search behaviors. If you’re looking to take your digital business up a notch, consider including these essential search tools in your eCommerce arsenal.
Your site needs to be able to point customers to the product they want regardless of how they search for it.
ONSITE SEARCH NECESSITIES
There are specific must-haves for your eCommerce site search in order to keep your customers engaged:
- Search bar visibility
If customers can’t find a search bar on your site, they probably won’t stick around for long. Search bars should be located near the top of the sidebar or header of each page of your website where they’re clearly visible. Highlight the bar in some way to make it stand out from the rest of the site. Also, clearly identify that it is a search bar by including watermark text within the box and an accompanying search button or icon.
- Top-notch search capabilities
Different customers can search different ways for the same product, whether it’s by brand, keyword, product name, or even part number. Your site needs to be able to point customers to the product they want regardless of how they search for it.
Increase your site’s search vocabulary by making sure your search tools can interpret misspelled words, alternative words/synonyms, and even different orders of words so your customers get to the products they want. This requires some configuration effort on your part, but it pays off in better search experience for your users.
Provide search assistance by helping customers fill in search terms. Known as auto-complete or type-ahead, this feature creates a list of suggestions when a customer enters a few characters into the search box. Auto-complete speeds up the search process and helps avoid misspellings, making it that much easier for site visitors to find what they’re looking for.
- Helpful filters
Your users should also be able to refine their search results. For instance, with the ability to filter by color, length, amperage, size, or manufacturer, people can find what they’re looking for more quickly and easily. However, don’t crowd your navigation with too many filters. Focus on those most used and most relevant to the product category.
- Rich product content
Another way to help customers find your products is by offering detailed and informational descriptions. Many other companies – your competitors – are selling some of the same products as you; chances are you all have the same manufacturer-provided product descriptions and specifications, with little or no variation. In order to differentiate yourself from the competition, use descriptive, well-written, original content that contains relevant keywords. The benefits of having original and detailed product information are two-fold: your products will rank higher on search engines, and customers will be more apt to make a purchasing decision when they have additional product information.
Very few companies take the time to enrich the product content on their eCommerce sites. It’s a daunting task and hard to scale for large numbers of products. Unilog offers product catalog services that include data enrichment. Through research and manufacturer sourcing, we can enhance the descriptions for your products and collect relevant digital assets like manuals, spec sheets, and alternate product images.
REPORTING TOOLS: THE KEY TO OPTIMIZING INTERNAL SITE SEARCH
Once you have integrated enhanced search capabilities into your site, you can start reaping the fruits of your labor by collecting and interpreting the data from your customer searches. This information helps you improve the content on your site and provides valuable insight as to how your customers search. In order to tap into this data, though, you’ll need a robust search tool with reporting to do the job. their CIMM2 eCommerce platform, ensuring customers can purchase your products anywhere, anytime.
Unilog’s eCommerce software platform, CIMM2, is a user-friendly cloud-based system that includes built-in reporting tools and custom analytics specifically for internal site search. These tools allow you to personalize and optimize your web content to ensure the most relevant and effective promotions are shown to each shopper at every stage of the shopping cycle.
The wealth of information you collect from site search reporting not only benefits you, it also helps your customers. Consider these four wins gained from internal site search reporting:
- See through the eyes of your customers
By tracking how and what your customers are searching for on your site, you can improve findability and offer the most relevant results. If a specific product is being searched for or purchased the most, make sure it’s ranked at the top of search results. An easy-to-find product is more likely to lead to a purchase.
- Find missed opportunities
You may find that customers are searching on your site for a product that you don’t carry. Consider selling the product or, instead of showing a No results found page, display related products that may satisfy the customers’ needs. There is a better chance of them making a purchase if they are shown a product than if they see a blank screen, even if it doesn’t exactly match their search term.
- Speed up time to conversion
Studies show the more intuitive a site search is, the greater the chance a visitor will make a purchase. If you’re constantly monitoring customer search patterns, you can adjust your site search as needed to filter out underperforming products and bring customer preferences to the top of their search results.
- Offer a better overall experience
If customers have a positive user experience, they’re likely to spend more time on your site and come back for return visits. Use reporting from site search to help guide you in providing a memorable experience. As a result, you’ll build customer loyalty and trust, and improve your brand.
Providing a strong internal search on your eCommerce site doesn’t come easy. But with the right search tools and reporting, you can learn exactly what your site visitors want and meet their changing needs. Unilog’s all-in-one CIMM2 eCommerce platform utilizes Apache Solr technology and advanced algorithms to give online shoppers a dynamic and responsive search experience – regardless of how they search for a product.
Contact Unilog today to learn how CIMM2’s robust commerce capabilities and sophisticated search can give your company the power to thrive in the B2B digital marketplace.
Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace. Our cloud-based eCommerce platform and product data enrichment services help distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers increase online sales, reduce cost to serve, and enhance their digital channel. Unilog is an ISO 9001:2008- and ISO 8000-certified company with North American headquarters outside of Philadelphia, PA and international headquarters in Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.unilogcorp.com.