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SKU Processing: Optimizing search results to maximize conversion

As much as we like to promote natural language long-tail searches here at EasyAsk, the unfortunate reality of the e-commerce market is that Google (and others) have taught us to search wrong. Many visitors go to a web store and do what I call SSTN – simple search then navigation.

But what if your site has many thousands of SKUs or Items? What if your site carries many of the same product, but in different sizes, composition, color or brand? A simple search could return hundreds of undifferentiated products that leave the visitor with the daunting task of sifting through those many results just to find the item they are looking for. How quickly will they abandon the site? I’d bet on 3 seconds or less.

Luckily there are techniques that can help you reduce the “search result overload” on your visitors. We call it SKU processing. Let’s show you how it works by looking at the e-commerce site for Travers Tools.  A very common search in their business is – “titanium drill bits.” So if we do this search on we get:

 

 

Travers only returns 23 products, even though they have thousands of different titanium drill bits. EasyAsk allowed Travers to group all the SKUs (or items) for each product into blocks. The blocks are organized such that the visitor can choose a particular drill bit style, drill down, and then select the specific SKU based on size, length, etc. (see below) This organization makes it easier for the visitor to choose the right product, providing a better customer experience.

 

 

If you go to many other hardware and tool retail sites, you will get hundreds of results for “titanium drill bits”, making it incredibly hard for the visitor to then find the ones they really want. And if we look at the products, many of them are the same. They are just different sizes and lengths.

But wait, there’s more. What if the search is more of a long tail search? In this case there might be a length – ¼” titanium drill bits. EasyAsk will produce similar first level results as the above example – product blocks or groupings (see the first image below).

 

 

But when you drill down to a product (look at the second image below), EasyAsk carries forward the length from the search, showing specific SKUs for ¼” bits.

 

 

In this case, EasyAsk remembered the “context” of the visitors search and carried that forward to the product drill down. This again simplifies the buying process for the visitor, leading the customer directly to the product they were seeking.

Carrying forward the context is one of the hidden beauties of EasyAsk natural language search. SKU processing, search result simplification and context carry-forward is something you can and should take advantage of to improve customer conversion and customer experience.

Travers Tool Mobile Site
EasyAsk at SuiteWorld 2012
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