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Optimizing your eCommerce site for the Holiday Season

1: Interpreting Search Analytics

We know your mind is still on camping trips and barbeques, but now is the time to act in order to maximize revenue this Holiday Season. Creating an optimized shopping experience for your customers will be a gift to your business accounts as well as your customers. This blog post is the first in a series of posts that will lay out best practices and tips as you prepare your eCommerce site for the biggest commercial period of the year.

Search Analytics

Understanding the behavior of your customers is the crucial first step to improving their online shopping experience, and therefore to boosting your eCommerce site’s conversion. You need visibility into how users are using search and search navigation, which then allows you to make changes that will improve your bottom line. The most effective Search Analytics reports are presented in order of frequency, with the top searches presented at the top of the page. With all Analytics reports, there is more to be gained in most cases from acting upon the most frequent searches.

There are two key aspects to interpreting Search Analytics:

 

1. Fixing Problem Areas

The first and most obvious way to use Search Analytics is to remedy searches that produce inaccurate, or no results. Fixing ‘No Results’ searches is fundamental. If customers are commonly searching for something that produces no results, either those customers are all coincidentally using the wrong site, or something needs to be done to show results for those searches. Our next blog post in the series will give you more tips for reducing ‘No Results’.

It may be that a simple spell correction rectifies a ‘No Results’ search, but it is also important to monitor what EasyAsk call ‘Relaxed’ Searches. A relaxed search is one where the search system has modified the search by intelligently dropping (or ‘relaxing’) a term or terms. For example, if a customer searched for a ‘Men’s black lace jacket’ and there are no products that match this description, we would want the results to show ‘Men’s black jackets’, rather than ‘Men’s lace jackets’ or ‘black lace jackets’, having relaxed the term ‘lace’. Being able to monitor relaxed searches is important to make sure that the search system is relaxing in the correct way. Some searches will inevitably need to be modified and in our example, we want our search system to recognize that the gender stated in the search query is more important than the fabric.

 

2. Improving the Most Popular Searches

Optimizing the most frequently searched queries on your site is like collecting the low-hanging fruit: it makes the most significant impact for the least effort.

The key is to identify the most popular customer searches and then show exactly the right products for those searches. For example, if the most commonly made search is ‘Women’s jackets’, don’t just show all women’s jackets in a haphazard way. You may show the most popular products first, or the products that you want to sell most of, for example, end of season products, those with higher stock levels, or even products with higher profit margins.

EasyAsk provides Analytics about how users have clicked within their session, as well as providing information about the search entries. Customers make searches then often click filters, such as price or color. EasyAsk can give an analysis of the most popular attribute clicks, making it possible to ‘clickstream’ products. For example, if the color black has been identified as the most popular click in the category, the site might be fine-tuned to show black products first in the search results.

If you use Google Analytics or another standard eCommerce analytics tool, you can baseline your current conversion rate, then monitor how any changes you make affect your bottom line.

 

It’s not just about great search

Although optimizing your site in response to good Analytics will make you more money, there is a lot more information to be gleaned from Search Analytics. Understanding how your customer’s shop can help you to provide enhancements to your user interface. It may lead you to create landing pages or dynamic attributes (once again, more to come on these topics in future Holiday Series blogs). Search Analytics offer a live insight into your industry and your customer’s behavior, allowing you to respond to increases in searches for particular products by putting them in stock.

The process is cyclical: Search Analytics provide insights that allow businesses to optimize their search results, and the better the search box functionality, the more use it gets and the better the quality of the data produced. But in order to obtain great quality data for analysis, the search system needs to be up to the job so your customers will actually use the search box. Returning customers quickly lose faith in a bad search system.

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