Our last blog provided useful tips for using your site’s Search Analytics to improve your bottom line during the 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 second in the 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.
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.
Chatbots are big business right now. They are appearing on sites and apps across the world, from ordering take out to organizing your life. There’s even a Chatbot Annual Conference.
What is a Chatbot?
Users interact with a Chatbot via a chat or messaging interface, imitating a conversation. After a series of questions and responses, users should arrive at an answer or product. Chatbots have moved on from their beginnings as a text-based response tree to now include elements of Artificial Intelligence such as Natural Language Processing. The most common use for Chatbots is for customer service. The Chatbot can answer the simpler customer queries, leaving the complex answers to the ‘living’ employees. Read More
There is no denying Amazon’s domination in the eCommerce industry. Selling nearly anything you could imagine, Amazon’s sales account for 43% of all online sales. Amazon’s Prime Day official sale results marked the biggest-selling event in its history.
Being the force of nature that is Amazon has its advantages, but there are ways in which eRetail businesses smaller than Amazon can have the upper hand in the mobile arena.
Sixty-five percent of consumers say Amazon makes it easier to find what they are looking for. Good UX for mobile shopping is being able to say what you’re looking for and see exactly that. But does Amazon really do that? Is it really that difficult to compete with Amazon? Can smaller eRetailers make it even easier for customers to find what they’re looking for?
What’s that you say?
In a mobile shopping environment, particularly with the proliferation of voice search, we have no idea how a shopper is going to search. There is the unknown factor of how a shopper may choose to speak their request. When using voice search, people are more verbose; they don’t think as carefully about the words they will use, and they throw in unexpected words. Many eRetailers are trying to dictate how a shopper may search, but there is truly no way to know. Therefore, it is imperative that the engine processing the request is incredibly intuitive and flexible. This way, no matter how a shopper asks, they can find what they asked for.
Let’s play off the results from different voice searches on Amazon against search results from The North Face, a store that uses EasyAsk search.
Using voice input, we made the following search: “Show me red jackets for my wife under 200 dollars”
Here are the results pages for Amazon:
And here they are from The North Face:
The Amazon site displays a no results message then searches for different combinations of the words from the original query. Unfortunately, instead of throwing out the conversational words, Amazon uses these words to search, and consequently shows many irrelevant results.
EasyAsk has intuitively ignored the extra words used in voice search on the North Face site and has found 34 relevant results that match what was being asked for. EasyAsk recognized the term, ‘wife’ to be synonymous with ‘women’s’ and therefore the results show only women’s jackets.
We thought we needed to give Amazon another chance with different language and by being more specific. We next made the following search using voice input: “I’m looking for a ladies waterproof red jacket for less than 200 dollars”
Here are the Amazon results:
And again from The North Face:
Once again, Amazon displays a “No Results” message and a selection of results using various combinations of the query words. The results shown include a fitness tracker, cleansing wipes, and hiking boots, but absolutely no jackets.
Conversely, the North Face site displays 11 red ladies’ waterproof jackets that are all less than $200. Exactly as requested.
So, Amazon hadn’t made it easier to find what we’re looking for when we used long-tail conversational queries. But surely, they would have the victory when it came to a more keyword-based search?
We tried the following search: “men’s blue ski jackets”
Here are the Amazon results:
Amazon was able to process this request and has returned over 1000 results. Although the first result is a men’s blue ski jacket, the second result is blue pants and the third, a water-ski vest. The sheer number of results returned means that the relevant results are buried.
In the North Face results, we have the perfect outcome; 6 or 7 results that match the query exactly.
Three strikes and you’re out Amazon!
One minute, Amazon has no results, and the next it has thousands. Neither option equates to a good mobile shopping experience. If a customer has to scroll through 600 products, they are not likely to buy anything.
So how do you compete against Amazon and win? By showing customers fewer products, not more. But those products need to match the requests made by the customers. An excellent shopping experience is when a search brings back 6 results that fit.
Once eRetailers recognize the forecasts that mobile is the right user experience, they must take advantage of smarter search and start competing. Amazon has thousands of products. So even if they get the search right, there are too many results. EasyAsk is the world’s smartest eCommerce search engine. If you’ve got EasyAsk, you’ve got the advantage – you can compete with Amazon. You’re competing because you’re making the UX better than Amazon. You can provide concise, meaningful search results and experiences that result in transactions.
That’s how you win!
|Search||# of Amazon Results||# of The North Face Results|
|Show me Red Jackets for my wife under $200||0||34|
|I’m looking for ladies red jackets under $200||over 10,000||34|
|Show me ladies waterproof jackets in red||0||18|
|I’m looking for waterproof red jackets for my wife for under $200||0||11|
|I’m looking for a ladies waterproof red jacket for less than $200||0||11|
|I’m looking for a warm red coat for my wife||0||33|
|I’m looking for warm red ladies coats||over 2,000||33|
The Dreaded Message?
“We’re sorry, your search returned no results”
It’s the page many Search and Merchandizing teams hope will never appear to their customers. And of course, good search should avoid the “No Results” page showing unnecessarily – for example, if a spelling mistake has been made. However, customers may be searching for products that are simply not available in the product catalog and therefore “No Results” pages are sometimes inevitable. But they don’t have to be a dead-end for potential customers; they can be an opportunity to engage with your users. Read More
Do your search marketers have a plan for voice search optimization? According to research from BrightEdge, 31 percent of marketers see voice search as the next big thing. However, approximately 62 percent have no plans to prepare for voice search.
Outstanding pizza and fireworks at Navy Pier are reason enough to visit Chicago, but the industry’s largest eCommerce event, the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE), didn’t fail to equip and inspire as it held its 14th annual event in the city last month.
The EasyAsk team had a great time attending discussions, presentations, and networking sessions, as well as running a booth in the exhibit hall. We were able to impress visitors with solutions to the challenge that emerged over the 4 days: how to maximize mobile shoppers. Read More
Typeahead… autocomplete… incremental search: many attempts have been made in recent years to speed up shopper’s searches. At EasyAsk, we offer ‘Search As You Type’, or SAYT (pronounced Say-it), because it means a whole lot more than just a list of suggested searches. It means many possibilities for getting the right products in front of your customers.
SAYT progressively searches for and filters through text. As a user types a query, suggestions, products, categories, and attributes are found and presented with each keystroke. This allows a user to stop short of typing the entire word or phrase and find what they were looking for quicker. Read More
Q: A Search box is a search box . . . right? How much difference can it make?
A: All the difference.
This might just be the single most important component in a successful eCommerce strategy and the key to driving significantly more revenue.
It is essential to get the usability of the search box within eCommerce sites right. Up to 30% of visitors will use the site search tool and these will be highly motivated shoppers who know exactly what they’re looking for. Shoppers who use the search box will buy more:
Personalization is a valuable and effective part of the shopping experience. But personalization must always be just that – a part of the shopping experience, not the shopping experience. There are occasions when a shopper asks for certain products and the search results are affected by personalization. Being able to find relevant products through good search is imperative to higher conversion rates.
Don’t get me wrong, personalization is great
The scope and advantages of personalization for eCommerce are ever-growing. Personalization systems tailor the information a customer sees on the screen based on something known about them. For example, if a shopper in Atlanta searches for jackets in the spring, a personalization system might use the knowledge of location and time of year to display lighter-weight jackets than it would to another shopper living in Boston during the winter. Or maybe a shopper has been browsing the women’s department of a site, then searches for a shirt. The personalization system might choose to show women’s shirts to the shopper first.
Shoppers can even be labeled with a persona, based on their search and purchase history, such as ‘budget- buyer’ or ‘fashion-conscious’. A personalization system can change the way the same product is presented to different people, for example by using a particular template, or highlighting the reviews of a product. The visual results and recommendations will vary depending on the type of shopper that has been identified. Personalization can mean many things to many people. But if personalization sacrifices accuracy for a shopper, it can result in a serious reduction in customer conversion.
Picture the Scene…
Kerry has come to know Sarah like a friend. Sarah is an assistant in the women’s department of Kerry’s favorite store. Over the years, Sarah has learned Kerry’s taste in color and style and seems to always help Kerry find exactly what she is looking for.
On this day, Kerry decides to do some shopping on her lunch break and heads over to the store. She explains that she needs a dress for a wedding this summer at the beach. Surprisingly, Sarah doesn’t think they have anything for such an occasion. Kerry persists and repeats her request in simpler terms. This seems to work as Sarah springs into action and asks Kerry to follow her. She then leads Kerry downstairs into the men’s department where she stops in front of men’s slim-fit suits. Confused, Kerry asks Sarah if she had heard her correctly. Sarah explains that she had noticed Kerry was shopping for men’s slim-fit shirts last week, and since she is shopping for a wedding outfit, these suits would work perfectly.
After explaining to Sarah that she had been shopping for her husband last week, Kerry heads back to the women’s department on her own. After finding something, she remembers she also needs a jacket for the outfit and asks Sarah to find something appropriate. Unfortunately, Sarah returns with a winter coat. Exasperated, Kerry exclaims, “I asked for a light jacket, I can’t wear a winter coat to a summer wedding!” Sarah is once again confused and explains that it is currently only 40 degrees outside and that she assumed Kerry would need a winter coat.
Personalized bad results are worse than no personalization at all
Wouldn’t it be crazy to actually experience the above situation in a brick and mortar store? Yet if we allow personalization to rule over relevancy, this will be the experience in our online stores. And an online shopper is likely to give up on their shopping experience if they receive poor search results. Don’t expect them to have Kerry’s patience.
Relevance is key
Typically, shoppers that use the search box have an idea of what they’re looking for, so they probably aren’t ‘window shopping’. Users who search during a session are far more likely to convert than those who navigate using categories and attributes. Being able to find the right products is fundamental. Therefore, if a shopper asks to see blue mountain bikes, you need to show them blue mountain bikes. And if you don’t carry blue mountain bikes, show them the red, white, black mountain bikes you do sell.
Clearly, the ability to bring back relevant results should remain the focus when it comes to search. But by all means, show your customers the most relevant products in a personalized way. Show them what they are asking for, in a way that makes them want to buy. Highlight different aspects of a product or show products in a different order, but ensure that those products are actually what your customer searched for.
Personalization is at its best when it is used in the context of the right set of products to choose from – the most relevant products. That’s when personalization becomes powerful.