Archive for month: March, 2014

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Using Product Concepts to Enhance Your Search and Satisfy More Visitors

Sourcing agents and merchandisers have a direct understanding of the characteristics of your products and reliably put this information into the product catalog – brands, sizes, colors, materials, wear and tear and more.  These characteristics can power refinements in faceted navigation and enable some simple searching (red jackets, color televisions).

But your customers may use their own descriptions that are unique to your specific retail sector.  This is a second customer behavior use case we examine in the white paper: Increasing Customer Conversion by Boosting Product Findability.

Here are some examples:

  • Boating/Marine Accessories: “galvanized plow anchors” or “waterproof radar displays”
  • Hardware/Tools: “jobbers drill bits” or “solid carbide cutting blades”
  • Beauty Supplies: “nourishing skin cream” or “foaming facial cleanser”

With e-commerce sites becoming increasingly specialized, the ability for visitors to find products their own way makes the difference between a sale and a lost visitor.

Searches such as these use what we call “product concepts.”  This goes far beyond keyword search and requires a natural language search engine that can easily understand and process groups of terms that combine to form a description of product.

Let’s look at how outdoor and clothing retailer The North Face uses product concepts on their site.  We will first search for “lightweight ski jackets.”  This returns products that are ski jackets with the characteristic “lightweight” (see image).

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A search with similar terminology is “lightweight running jackets.”  But this search returns a very different set of results (see image).

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A keyword search engine would deliver a superset of products based on each term – a result not optimized for what the visitor is seeking.  Only a natural language engine can understand these product concepts and deliver the right results to the visitor.

Download our free white paper,  Increasing Customer Conversion by Boosting Product Findability and learn more about how you can tune your site to deliver a better customer experience and increase sales.

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EasyAsk Releases Guide to Increasing Customer Conversion through Better Product Findability

New EasyAsk guide offers ways to optimize sites for five important e-commerce customer behavior patterns

BURLINGTON, MA – March 5, 2014 – EasyAsk, the industry leader in e-commerce site search, navigation and merchandising, today announced a new best practices guide that shows how e-commerce sites can increase their customer conversion through better product findability. This new guide examines five critical customer behavior patterns on e-commerce sites, and offers specific ways in which e-retailers can optimize their sites to support these behavior patterns.

Shopping involves three stages – find, decide and purchase. Yet, most E-commerce sites measure their success based on conversion rate and abandonment rate, which are measured in a simplistic manner – did a visitor complete a purchase after placing items in a cart, or did they leave the site and abandon that cart? This simplistic view can often mask other problems with the e-commerce site, in particular all the activity up until placing items in the cart. This is why many practitioners are now advocating measuring, understanding and tuning your site across this entire process.

Since “find” is the first stage in the purchase process, understanding how customers find products on your e-commerce site is critical to adjusting the site to match their needs. To understand the “product findability” on your site, you must put yourself in the visitors’ shoes and understand how they behave. The EasyAsk guide examines visitor behavior and defines five very common customer behavior patterns for e-commerce sites.

“Understanding customer behavior on your site, in particular how they find products, is critical to optimizing the purchase path,” said John Morrell, Vice President of Product Marketing at EasyAsk. “Site optimization requires more than just understanding – you need the tools to deliver the richer customer experience. Our guide not only gives you the ‘what’, but also gives you the ‘how’ – how to tune your site effectively for your visitors.”

The new EasyAsk guide, Increasing Customer Conversion by Boosting Product Findability, can be downloaded for free from the EasyAsk website at: http://landing.easyask.com/product_findability.

About EasyAsk

EasyAsk is the leading provider of natural language software and solutions for e-commerce and business applications. EasyAsk software products go far beyond traditional search, allowing users to simply ask questions in plain English and receive highly tuned results. EasyAsk uses this unique technology to deliver industry-leading website search, navigation and merchandising solutions that boost online revenue through increased conversion rates, improved customer experience and agile merchandising. Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in Europe, EasyAsk has customers such as The North Face, Samsonite, Anna’s Linens, Journey’s, Coldwater Creek, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, True Value, Andertons Music and Harbor Freight Tools that rely on the EasyAsk software products to run their business and eCommerce operations daily. For further information please visit www.easyask.com.

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Automatic Spell Correction in eCommerce Search Saves you Time and Money

The last thing any visitor wants to see when they perform a search on an eCommerce Site is a page that says “No Results”. As we indicated in our recent whitepaper, Increase Customer Conversion by Boosting Product Findability, misspellings and using different tenses is a very common occurrence by eCommerce shoppers.

To make your site tolerant of misspellings and the like, you have two options: Either manually enter all the various misspellings and whatnot into your search engine, which will take you God-knows-how-long… Or, the better approach, use an eCommerce search engine that offers Automatic Spell Correction and stemming against terms in your product catalog.

This gives you out-of-the-box tolerance of these visitor errors, enabling them to find the right products and keeping them on your site as opposed to going to your competitors.

Watch this one-minute video and see how Coldwater Creek uses EasyAsk’s automatic spell correction to convert more visitors into customers.

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E-Commerce Money Saver: Automatic Spell Correction

The last thing any visitor wants to see when they perform a search on an e-commerce Site is a page that says “No Results”. Misspellings and using different tenses is a very common occurrence by e-commerce shoppers, which on your average site will produce a No Results page.

To make your site tolerant of misspellings and the like, you have two options: Either manually enter all the various misspellings and whatnot into your search engine, which will take you God-knows-how-long… Or, the better approach, use an e-commerce search engine that offers Automatic Spell Correction and stemming against terms in your product catalog.

This gives you out-of-the-box tolerance of these visitor errors, enabling them to find the right products and keeping them on your site as opposed to going to your competitors.

This short video demonstrates EasyAsk’s automatic spell correction, on customer site Coldwater Creek. This tool, among others, helps e-commerce companies save time and money as well as increase customer conversion rates.

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Andertons Music Uses EasyAsk to Help Deliver Record Online Sales Growth

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We announced this morning that Andertons Music Company in the U.K. is using EasyAsk eCommerce Edition to help deliver record growth on their online site. We are thrilled we could be such a great enabler for the Andertons e-commerce site.

Andertons choose EasyAsk last year to replace their existing search technology from competitor SLI Systems. And their results once again show how natural language search, navigation and merchandising delivers better results than keyword search engines.

The Andertons site takes advantage of three very unique features of EasyAsk eCommerce Edition:

  • Search as you Type (SayT) – EasyAsk SayT delivers far beyond typical search box auto-complete providing a fantastic customer experience directly in the search box through optimized suggestions for products, categories and content as the visitor types.
  • Derived Attributes – EasyAsk’s natural language rules allowed online marketers at Andertons to create new attributes such as “beginner” products (beginner drum kits, beginner guitars, etc.) and eliminated an expensive and time-consuming process of restructuring their product catalog when they wanted new attributes.
  • Descriptive natural language search – With over 11,000 products with a wide range of categories and industry terminology, EasyAsk’s natural language search allows visitors to be far more descriptive in their search and find their products faster.

Congratulations Andertons and we look forward to even more success in the future.

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EasyAsk eCommerce Edition Supports Andertons Music Company’s Record Online Growth in 2013 by Delivering a Superior Customer Experience

Andertons Music Company, the musician’s No.1 superstore, deployed EasyAsk in 2013 to deliver a greatly enhanced search & navigation capability to support the expansion of their online business whilst leveraging their existing ecommerce platform.

 

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – March 04, 2014 – EasyAsk, the leader in natural language software and solutions, today announced that Andertons Music Company has achieved record growth from their online business since deploying EasyAsk eCommerce Edition early in 2013. EasyAsk’s comprehensive advanced site search, navigation and online merchandising solution, which replaced SLI Systems old-style keyword search offering, has delivered a vastly improved customer experience and helped Andertons Music to achieve record revenue growth in 2013. The EasyAsk solution allows customers to more easily find products or content, driving improvements in conversion rates and has empowered the Andertons web team with a simple to use but powerful capability to deliver an optimal, relevant and personalized shopping experience on any device.

“At Andertons Music Company, the online channel is a key element of our growth strategy” stated Lee Anderton, CEO. “2013 delivered a record year in terms of online sales with revenue increasing by 25%. We have to offer our customers the very best online experience to mirror the high quality expert service we offer in-store and an important element of this is helping guide our customers to the right product. EasyAsk has enabled us to drive significant business improvement in a short period of time, increasing conversion rates and reducing bounced searches, whilst allowing us to leverage greater return from our existing ecommerce infrastructure. Without having to re-platform EasyAsk has delivered results, underpinning the growth we have seen from online and equipping our relatively small team with the necessary tools to deliver continuous improvement to our online offering.”

One of the unique EasyAsk features – derived attributes – gave the Andertons online merchandising team far greater flexibility to market their products to different audiences and skill levels. For example, Andertons were able to create a new merchandising attribute called “Beginners” which is defined in a simple, English style natural language rule and reused across different products, such as “Beginner Drum Kits”, “Beginner Guitars” and “Beginner Keyboards.” According to Andrew Chart, Ecommerce Manager at Andertons, “EasyAsk derived attributes simplified our search, navigation and merchandising, and eliminated a costly process of restructuring our product catalog every time we wanted new attributes.”

With a product range in excess of 11,000 products, ensuring browsers can quickly and easily find exactly what they are looking for is critically important to support Andertons ambitions for their online business. EasyAsk’s natural language search technology allows consumers to be far more explicit when defining a search term, facilitating a more human interaction via the search box, as opposed to the traditional key-word search solutions which lack the intelligent understanding of language to deliver a rich and satisfying search experience.

EasyAsk’s advanced Search As You Type (SAYT) functionality provided a tremendous boost to the Andertons site, allowing browsers to navigate a large and complex range of products directly within the search box, helping find the right products in a single click. The SAYT functionality goes beyond traditional auto-complete, providing detailed optimized suggestions for products, categories and content as the visitor types. SAYT helped Andertons Music Company achieve a 12% increase in conversion rates and a 10% decrease in bounced searches.

The successful deployment of EasyAsk’s eCommerce Edition by Andertons Music is highlighted by a number of significant advances, including:

  • The deployment of EasyAsk’s advanced “Search As You Type” functionality to proactively highlight relevant search terms and navigation options as the visitor types, getting them to the relevant products faster.
  • The ability for visitors to utilize EasyAsk’s unique natural language and voice capabilities to deliver a far more effective search experience than traditional keyword search.
  • A richer user interface that offers a deep set of refinement options on both search and navigation giving customers many different methods to find products that meet their specifications.

“It is great to see EasyAsk delivering so well for Andertons Music, not only in terms of a greatly enhanced user experience but also helping drive real business improvement and underpinning the growth of their online channel, said Simon Persse, VP EasyAsk Europe. ‘ EasyAsk’s natural language technology is providing a next generation search capability, which is essential as today’s consumers demand more than being able to search using key words’.

About Andertons

Andertons Music Co. is a family run musical instrument retailer with nearly 50 years of experience serving the music community in the UK. From the Guildford music store and the online musical instrument shop, Andertons offers musicians a huge selection of guitars, amps, drums, pianos, keyboards, synthesizers, recording equipment, PA systems, music accessories and more – all at competitive prices and with a high level of customer service. For more information, please visit www.andertons.co.uk.

About EasyAsk

EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find information through ground-breaking Natural Language search software. EasyAsk software products go far beyond traditional search, allowing users to simply ask questions in plain English and receive highly tuned results. Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in Europe, EasyAsk has long been a leader in natural language information analysis and delivery software. Customers such as The North Face, Coldwater Creek, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, True Value, Journey’s, Anna’s Linens and Harbor Freight Tools rely on the EasyAsk software products to run their business and eCommerce operations daily. For further information please visit www.easyask.com.

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