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Amazon Voice Search: It’s the Search Engine That Matters

Amazon released a new version of its’ iPhone app (version 4.3.0) that contained a very interesting new feature – Search with your Voice. When you open up the app and tap the search box, you can then tap the Voice button and enter your search by voice. Very nicely done!

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But some are questioning the true capability of Amazon’s voice search, as reported in this article in the mobile commerce daily. The real question is: what’s behind that search? In the end, voice search is only as good as the search engine behind it. I tried two searches with the Amazon app to see how good it was.

The batteries in my wireless home phone set had recently gone out (the phone is old) and I am looking for a new home phone. My current Panasonic model had served me well, so I was looking for a new Panasonic model. So, for my first search, I tried “Panasonic wireless home phone.” The voice interface translated my voice request well. But the results left me somewhat confused. I received 5,391 results! The first 3 were Panasonic phones, but then there were headsets and AT&T home phones mixed in. The results were not highly relevant.

Then I decided to try a conversational style search – “I’m looking for a Panasonic wireless home phone.” The results were not even close to being relevant. They included a USB charger, iPhone cases, and headsets, finally followed by a couple Panasonic phones.

The ability to interact conversationally with the mobile phone user is a core design philosophy of a good voice interface, as depicted by this Information Week article. Without relevant results and conversational interaction, users will not fully trust the interface or find it engaging.

Any EasyAsk customer has voice search capability built-in. But EasyAsk takes it to the next level with highly precise and accurate results, and the ability to have conversational search, as shown by this video.

With mobile commerce conversion rates lower than those of a standard e-commerce site, it is the engaging voice search capability powered by conversational search that will increase your m-commerce conversion rates.

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EasyAsk Helps Oya Costumes Convert Shoppers Into Buyers During Critical Halloween Season

EasyAsk site search, navigation and merchandising gives shoppers on Oya Costumes conversational search to easily find products and convert swiftly

Burlington, MA – October 14, 2014 – With Halloween fast approaching, the number of shoppers on the Oya Costumes e-commerce sites grows daily, reaching peaks for the year. Up to 70% of the annual online revenue for Oya Costumes lies in the balance during the critical Halloween season, making customer conversion incredibly important.

Oya Costumes uses EasyAsk, the leading provider of e-commerce site search, navigation and merchandising solutions for e-retail, mobile commerce and B2B commerce. EasyAsk products offer engaging conversational search which has unprecedented accuracy and precision, putting the right products on the first page every time. EasyAsk voice mobile search gives freedom of speech to shoppers on mobile commerce sites, allowing them to search by speaking to their mobile device.

Oya Costumes is Canada’s finest internet costume business selling fun, costumes, hats, makeup, decor, masks, shoes and lots more. The company has sold products online for 10 years and operates 3 different sites powered by EasyAsk – a U.S. English site, a Canadian English site, and a French Canadian site. The Oya Costumes sites run on the NetSuite Ecommerce platform.

Oya Costumers offers over 6,000 products on its’ e-commerce sites. In 2014 Oya Costumes added over 1,500 new costume designs, many licensed from new licensors over a large number of new themes and characters. This created a big challenge for the online merchandising team. Shoppers needed to find products in many different ways – by character, theme, licensee, category, size, color and more.

A recent e-commerce search usability benchmark study by the Baymard Institute [1] showed that 54% of the top 50 U.S. e-commerce sites did not support “thematic searches” (searches around themes or concepts) and 50% did not support “relational searches” (searches using terms that are related to the items). With EasyAsk, Oya Costumes offers search with the utmost flexibility, supporting searches using themes (“1970s women’s disco costume”) and terms related to items such as various characters (“Princess Elsa from Frozen costume”).

“The very nature of our products and the various ways shoppers try to find the right product makes our business very unique and challenges our online team,” said Faten Hodroge, owner and President of Oya Costumes. “In order to best service our customers, we have to offer search with extreme flexibility that allows shoppers to find the products they are seeking in their own way.”

EasyAsk’s ability to support more sophisticated search terms and ease in adding search synonyms played an important role in Oya Costumes getting the new and existing products onto their site and giving shoppers an easy search experience and richer site navigation. EasyAsk’s integration with NetSuite Ecommerce made the EasyAsk rollout swift and immediately adds new search capabilities as additional products are added to the Oya Costumes NetSuite catalog.

Oya Costumes sites are in two different languages – English and French – and support two different currencies – U.S. dollars and Canadian dollars. EasyAsk’s internationalization support and its’ multi-currency capability played a strong role in Oya Costumes selecting EasyAsk for their e-commerce sites.

The Oya Costumes site relies heavily on navigation powered by EasyAsk. “We were pleasantly surprised to find out our left column navigation, implemented by EasyAsk, is heavily used by our online customers,” said Faten Hodroge. One extremely helpful feature is that EasyAsk allows customers to filter their search by size, color, type and other attributes. This makes it possible for customers to easily find what they are looking for.”

Additional unique characteristics of the Oya Costumes site powered by EasyAsk include:

  • Search suggestions provided in the search box speed the search process and are powered directly by the deep EasyAsk search analytics
  • The search tolerates mis-spellings for a friendlier shopping experience based on EasyAsk’s automatic spell correction capabilities
  • Shoppers are always returned products and “no-results” searches are virtually eliminated due to the search term relaxation capability of EasyAsk
  • The Oya Costumes merchandising team can quickly promote products based on operational data such as sales (e.g. top sellers) via the easy to use EasyAsk Commerce Studio

“EasyAsk has surpassed our expectations and allowed us to deliver a wonderful online shopping experience for our customers,” added Faten Hodroge. “The EasyAsk team has been highly proactive in servicing our needs and ensuring our success.”

[1] – E-Commerce Search Usability, Exploring the Customer’s Search Experience, a study performed by the Baymard Institute, publication date of May 29, 2014

About EasyAsk

EasyAsk is the leading provider of e-commerce site search, navigation and merchandising solutions for e-retail, mobile commerce and B2B commerce. EasyAsk products go far beyond traditional site search, delivering unprecedented accuracy and precision to deliver the right products on the first page every time. EasyAsk voice mobile search gives freedom of speech to shoppers on mobile commerce sites, allowing them to search by speaking to their mobile device. Customers that use the EasyAsk software see a tremendous boost in online revenue through increased conversion rates, improved customer experience and agile merchandising. Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in Europe, the EasyAsk solutions are used by leading e-retailers and e-commerce sites such as The North Face, Samsonite, Anna’s Linens, Journey’s, Aramark, JJill, True Value, Andertons Music and Sonic Sense.

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Breaking the Barrier of Low Mobile Conversion Rates

According to Goldman Sachs, global mobile commerce sales will reach $626 billion by 2018, growing nearly 5 fold from 2013. The $626 billion in global mobile commerce sales in 2018 will be just shy of the total global e-commerce sales for 2018 of $638 billion.

However, customer conversion rates on mobile smartphones are alarmingly low.  The average conversion rate on a traditional desktop is slighly over 3%.  The conversion rate on mobile smartphones is less than a third of that rate – around 1%.

Many e-commerce firms have launched mobile sites that are well designed for the display aspects of the device – they fit the size and some of the look and feel requirements.  New Responsive Design techniques have played a role in the rollout of a new generation of mobile sites.

So, where is the disconnect? Why the low conversation rates?

One major aspect overlooked in mobile site design is search and navigation.  Mobile keypads are clumsy, making it hard for shoppers to type searches.  Small screen sizes and awkward touch screens make it difficult to use the complex navigation menus offered on most e-commerce sites.  E-Commerce firms need to rethink the look, feel and functionality on their mobile commerce sites.

Please take a look at our latest video which explains this problem and offers a solution to increasing your mobile commerce conversation rates, and leaping ahead of your e-commerce competitors.

 

 

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EasyAsk Named a Magento Silver Partner

We announced this morning that EasyAsk and Magento have entered into a partnership, with EasyAsk being named a Magento Silver Technology Partner.  Please read our press release for more details on the announcement.

The partnership will enable the two companies to jointly market the EasyAsk e-commerce site search solution and engage with more Magento customers.  In addition, it will more closely align technical resources to further integrate the EasyAsk solution into the Magento platform.

The existing EasyAsk Connector for Magento seamlessly integrates EasyAsk search, navigation and merchandising services into the Magento platform and sites running on Magento.  Please read our Magento product page to learn more about the value EasyAsk brings to Magento sites, and the integration of the EasyAsk Magento Connector.

Please read more about EasyAsk in our listing on the Magento Partners Portal.

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EasyAsk and Magento Partner to Bring Intuitive, Intelligent and Voice-Enabled Mobile Search to Market

From EasyAsk’s industry’s best search and voice-enabled mobile search, Magento customers benefit via increased customer conversion rates and online revenue

Burlington, MA – October 13, 2014 – EasyAsk, the leading site search solution for e-commerce, mobile commerce and B2B commerce, has been named a silver Magento E-Commerce Technology Partner. Through this partnership, EasyAsk and Magento will jointly market EasyAsk’s industry’s best e-commerce search, navigation and merchandising solution and the two companies will work together to further integrate EasyAsk into the Magento platform.

EasyAsk’s industry leading e-commerce search solution and Magento Connector is already used by leading Magento customers worldwide including the North Face EMEA, Anna’s Linens, Sonic Sense, Gretchen Scott Designs, DAZ 3D, Canada’s Motorcycle, Blauer, HD Tracks, Eckler’s and Schuler Shoes. Prominent Magento integrators such as Zeon Solutions and Hara Partners are already partnering with EasyAsk to deliver richer e-commerce sites for their customers based on the EasyAsk solution.

Only EasyAsk provides an intelligent, intuitive search capability that enables mobile shoppers to just speak into their mobile devices (similar to Google Now or Siri), search a mobile commerce site, and find exactly what they are looking for. EasyAsk eliminates the need to type searches with clumsy mobile keypads and navigate using a small touchscreen.

EasyAsk’s natural language technology truly delivers the best search box in the industry, as well as richer navigation and easy to use online merchandising. Other search suppliers claim to have “better search, but they are based on obsolete keyword search technology that cannot come close to delivering the results EasyAsk can.

Quotes from some of the Magento customers that have deployed EasyAsk show the customer experience improvement and business result gains from the solution:

Chris Todd, The North Face EMEA:
“EasyAsk allows our customers to find the right products quickly and efficiently. The resultant uplift in conversion rates and revenue – a 35% increase in search conversions and a 24% increase in revenue from search – has been extremely positive.”

Preston Smit, Technical Director at Sonic Sense:
“EasyAsk’s natural language technology has given our customers the ability to find any product quickly to streamline purchases. EasyAsk’s integration with our Magento catalog and easy-to-use tools allowed us to deploy the most extensive and flexible search capability possible”.

Lloyd Buchanan, Owner of Gretchen Scott Designs:
“We needed a powerful tool to improve the online experience for our customers. Intuitive search can be difficult to achieve using Magento and we wanted a search solution that would require minimal set-up. The Search As You Type (SayT) feature and advanced natural language processing capability makes it incredibly easy for our users to navigate to the exact items they are after in a single click or by using a long tail search query, whether that be a wide selection of cotton dresses, or a very specific long sleeved blue summer dress.”

The EasyAsk Connector for Magento seamlessly integrates the best-in-class EasyAsk search, navigation and merchandising services into the Magento platform and e-commerce sites based on Magento. EasyAsk e-commerce site search, navigation and merchandising delivers the following capabilities and benefits to Magento customers:

  • Highly accurate and precise e-commerce search allowing online shoppers to find products faster and convert more easily and often,
  • Voice-enabled mobile search that allows shoppers to speak their searches to the m-commerce site for an engaging mobile shopping experience,
  • Direct integration with the Magento product catalog, categories and attributes for fast, easy implementation
  • Advanced visual Search-as-you-Type (SayT) auto-suggestion that displays product, search and category suggestions to convert customers directly from the search box,
  • Support for “derived attributes” that allow you to create new categories and facets without the time and cost of restructuring your Magento catalog,
  • Seamless integration into the Magento site display with no API programming for rapid implementation and easy change,
  • A dynamic navigation plug-in that supports the selection of multiple attributes for faster navigation to products by visitors,
  • An easy to use merchandising studio that allows merchandisers to define and rollout promotions without IT support, speeding time to market and reducing IT costs,
  • Full internationalization and localization which enables the simultaneous rollout on sites in different languages and countries.

“We are excited to have a closer partnership with Magento and bring the customer conversion benefits of the EasyAsk search solution to additional Magento customers,” said Craig Bassin, CEO of EasyAsk. “Adding EasyAsk provides significant capabilities in terms of search functionality and accuracy, which benefits the e-retailer through a better shopping experience and higher customer conversion. Simply look at the results our customers have seen and you will know why they chose EasyAsk.”

About EasyAsk

EasyAsk is the leading provider of e-commerce site search, navigation and merchandising solutions for e-retail, mobile commerce and B2B commerce. EasyAsk products go far beyond traditional site search, providing unprecedented accuracy and precision to deliver the right products on the first page every time. EasyAsk voice mobile search gives the freedom of speech to shoppers on mobile commerce sites, allowing them to search by speaking to their mobile device. Customers that use the EasyAsk software see a tremendous boost in online revenue through increased conversion rates, improved customer experience and agile merchandising. Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in Europe, the EasyAsk solutions are used by leading e-retailers and e-commerce sites such as The North Face, Samsonite, Anna’s Linens, Journey’s, Aramark, JJill, True Value, Andertons Music and Sonic Sense. For further information please visit www.easyask.com.

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Improving Mobile Commerce Conversion Rates

The mobile commerce revolution is here now! According to Goldman Sachs, global mobile commerce sales will reach $626 billion by 2018, growing nearly 5 fold from 2013, equaling web-based e-commerce sales by 2018.

Conversion rates for mobile commerce on smartphones is only one-third the rate on traditional desktops. While many e-commerce firms have launched mobile sites that are well designed for the display aspects of the device, they lack additional usability features for a truly engaging mobile shopping experience.

To gain competitive advantage and improve customer conversion, mobile commerce sites can take advantage of mobile search powered by voice and natural language to deliver a more engaging mobile shopping experience. Watch our video to see how EasyAsk gives your customers the freedom of speech to purchase faster and more often.

 

 

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Natural Language Search Explained

Natural language is a term that is used in many different ways depending on the software sector or industry. In the e-commerce search world, there is only one true meaning to natural language:

Allowing a visitor to perform a search like they are communicating with another human being and getting precise and accurate results.

By way of example, it allows a visitor to ask in detail for what they want and they get back exactly those products.  If someone asks for “men’s polo shirts in size medium under $100”, then a true natural language will return EXACTLY that set of products.

It takes an extremely intelligence site search engine to have this type of “conversation” with a visitor. While some e-commerce search vendors say the have “smarter search”, if they cannot support natural language, then how smart are they really?

Most e-commerce search engines are still keyword based.  Those engines would not understand the price constraint or the size specification and would return a very large set of products that are not related to what the visitor was looking for (in fact, if the site carried Polo cologne, they might also see that!).

Supporting natural language search requires a sophisticated engine.  It has to do two things: (a) properly interpret the search phrase (visitor intent), and (b) have a deep understanding of the product catalog (site content).

To explain this, we created a new video, natural language search explained, which shows you how a natural language e-commerce search engine works and what makes it different.

With search accounting for anywhere from 40 to 80% of your sales, a natural language search engine can have a huge impact on your online revenue.  Knowing how natural language works and how it makes a difference can make you the e-commerce hero at your company.

 

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Natural Language Search Explained Video

Natural language is a term that can mean different things to different people. In the context of e-commerce search, it means allowing a customer to search like they are having a conversation with the e-commerce site – the visitor asks in detail for what they want and they get back exactly those products.

It takes an extremely intelligence site search engine to have a “conversation” with a visitor. While some e-commerce search vendors say the have “smarter search”, if they cannot support natural language, then how smart are they really?

In this video, we explain how a natural language e-commerce search engine works and what makes it different. With search accounting for anywhere from 40 to 80% of your sales, a natural language search engine can have a huge impact on your online revenue.

 

Ready to see how EasyAsk's eCommerce solution can help you? Request a demo!