Tag Archive for: Endeca

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Six Scary Site Search Statistics

and how to make sure your customers don’t run away screaming

When eCommerce site search is working well, it is a dream for your customers:  they can find what they’re looking for, the first time.  No need to endlessly click through your site’s categories and attributes.  Unfortunately, eCommerce search is too often scaring customers away.  We’ll look at six scary statistics and the ways that you can ensure your site search is not one of the frightening ones…

Scary Statistic #1

70% of eCommerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results,

requiring users to search using the exact same jargon as the site[1]

Yes, that’s right, nearly three-quarters of eCommerce site searches will only return the right products if the customers happen to use the right language.  That’s a lot of lost revenue when those customers become frustrated and abandon the site.

To ensure that your customers can find what they’re looking for, you need a Natural Language search solution.  Natural Language search solutions find different versions of the same terms, so that pluralities and tenses can be managed.  For example, it wouldn’t make any difference if a customer used the term “mens”, “man”, “men” or “womens”, “women”, “ladies”.  An intelligent Natural Language search system will understand this automatically, without any input.

 

Scary Statistic #2

34% of eCommerce site searches don’t return useful results when users search for

a model number or misspell just a single character in the product title[2]

This scary statistic raises 2 important issues:

 

  1. Misspelling

A good spell correction system is not just about correcting, but about finding words that occur in the product data which most closely match what the user described.

With EasyAsk’s intuitive search system, your product data becomes the look-up dictionary, meaning that your customers don’t have to match the spelling of your products exactly.

 

  1. Complex Product Numbers

 

While most good search systems will find common misspellings, they lack the ability to deal effectively with part or model numbers.  Consumers who are taking the time to type in a part number are undoubtedly more ready to buy, so it is even more important that they are able to find what they are looking for.

EasyAsk has the ability to index part and model numbers comprehensively, indexing all variations to ensure that users can find the product, even if they forget or mistype part of the number.

 

EasyAsk’s ‘Part Number Expander’

A ‘Part Number Expander’ is especially useful for complex part numbers that include a combination of letters, numbers and other characters.  A user might forget whether characters were separated by a hyphen or a slash, or might omit letters on the end.

The Part Number Expander takes each part number and creates all the different versions of terms and inserts them into the searchable index so that if any of them are searched for, they will match to the product.  The code is broken up into parts and the separators are substituted in all combinations.

For example, if the part number is

123-HC/1345AB

the Part Number Expander would index:

 

123-HC-1345AB                                     123

123/HC/1345AB                                    123-HC

123/HC-1345AB                                    HC

123 HC 1345AB                         1345

 

…among many other combinations.

If a customer types a part/model number that is slightly different (for example, using spaces instead of hyphens) the correct product will still be found.

Ecklerscorvette.com demonstrates how the Part Number Expander can avoid no results for customers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The part number for this disc brake set is 25-261256-1.  If a customer replaces the hyphens with spaces, the exact product is still returned.

 

Scary Statistic #3

If people have a negative experience on mobile, they’re 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future[3]

A negative experience will stay with prospects longer than a positive one, so if you want your mobile customers to become regular, you’ll need to make sure you’re not putting them off with a poor user experience compared to your desktop site.

Does your site have a mobile responsive design, so that the text, images, and menus change according to the screen size?  Furthermore, as your site adapts to a mobile size, do you show relevant categories and attributes, as opposed to just the first ones from the desktop site.

Customers using a mobile eCommerce site are more likely to use voice input, and therefore different word choices and sentence structures when speaking.  Your search system needs to be able to cope with voice input and the long-tail queries that are more likely on mobile.

Scary Statistic #4

46% of eCommerce sites have a “No Results Page” implementation that is essentially a dead-end for users, offering no more than a generic set of search tips[4]

Generating a generic ‘Sorry, no results matched your search’ message could be disastrous.  How many shoppers would stay on your site and how many would go straight to your competitor?

There are better ways to use a ‘No Results’ page, but what if it was possible to avoid searches returning no results in the first place?

It may be that a simple spell correction rectifies a ‘No Results’ search, but it is also important to monitor what EasyAsk calls ‘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’.  Some searches will inevitably need to be modified and in this example, we want our search system to recognize that the gender stated in the search query is more important than the fabric.

If a user’s search has been modified (such as by spell correcting or relaxation) it is important to display a message explaining the changes to the original search.  For example, a user may search for “purple leather couches” and see the following message:

This user could have searched for leather couches in the first instance and spent a long time scrolling through the pages of results looking for any in purple.  But by using messaging in this way, the user is informed immediately and is more likely to use the search system again.

So-called intelligent ‘No Results’ pages will suggest searches based on what a user asked for, but truly intelligent search systems will change the search to find relevant products based on what the user asked for, even though there may not be an exact match.

 

Scary Statistic #5

It’s 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one[5]

A worrying number of businesses still don’t use merchandising tools such as cross-sells and up-sells effectively on their eCommerce sites.  These businesses are leaving money on the table.

EasyAsk’s search solution includes a comprehensive set of merchandising controls.  With 9 predefined promotion types, banners and business rules, amongst other functions, the business user is in control of the products that are presented to the customer.

 

Scary Statistic #6

36% of autocomplete implementations on eCommerce websites do more harm than good[6]

Although basic autocomplete suggestions can be found on 82% of eCommerce sites, most sites do not take the opportunity to capitalize on merchandising while users are searching.

As a user types into a search box supported by EasyAsk, however, search suggestions and category suggestions will be displayed as well as the products themselves.

EasyAsk offers ‘Search as you Type’, or SAYT, 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.

Search suggestions as well as relevant and popular products, attributes, and categories can all be displayed in an easy to use interface.

Here is an example from EasyAsk customer personalizationmall.com:

The user is looking for a wedding gift and the letters ‘wedd’ have been typed into the search box on the desktop site so far.  The above drop-down panel is displayed without needing to execute the search.  Alongside the search suggestions in the right-hand column, a popular category to browse and 7 products are displayed, based on the first search prediction, ‘wedding’.  Scrolling through the search suggestions using the down and up arrows updates the real-time search and therefore the categories and products displayed.  Personalization Mall could have also configured their search so that it updates just by a mouse hover for a certain amount of time.

Typed characters are shown in bold in the list of suggestions, with the rest of the suggestion in normal type.  Often, autocomplete systems only show suggestions that begin with the typed characters, but we can see here that the suggestions can contain ‘wedd’ anywhere.

Presenting customers with the most relevant search, product and category suggestions is essential.

 

Conclusion

When your site search is performing well, customers won’t be scared off, and your business won’t become one of the statistics above.

Getting the right products in front of the customer as quickly as possible shortens the path to conversion, keeping your customers and your bank balance happy.

Follow the tips and best practices in EasyAsk’s recently released eGuide: “Preparing for the Holiday Season: A Guide for your eCommerce Site” to ensure your customers find the right products the first time.

[1] https://baymard.com/blog/ecommerce-search-report-and-benchmark

[2] https://baymard.com/blog/ecommerce-search-report-and-benchmark

[3] https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/advertising-channels/mobile/few-tips-speed-your-mobile-site-and-tools-test-it/

[4] https://baymard.com/ecommerce-search/benchmark/page-types/no-search-results-page

[5] https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers

[6] https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/08/the-current-state-of-e-commerce-search/

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Optimizing your eCommerce site for the Holiday Season 2: Reducing “No Results”

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.

Read More

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Google joining IBM, Apple and EasyAsk? Pigs fly! News at 11…

 

(Message from the CEO of EasyAsk, Craig Bassin)

Looks like this is the beginning of the end for keyword search.  You’ve probably seen a number of articles discussing Google’s shift to ‘semantic search’.  Anyone understand what that REALLY means?  First, the definition of ‘semantic search’ is an understanding of the ‘intent’, or meaning, of the search, rather than just matching the keywords.

Now why would the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of keyword search, change course at this late date?  Conventional wisdom says they were forced to take a hard look after Apple launched Siri.  The timing sure seems to reinforce the fact that they’ve been playing with semantic search for some time, but needed to make a marketing splash now.

So, why change?  Well, obviously it’s a BETTER way to search and they had to, or they wouldn’t have!  I mean, really, Google acknowledging the limitations of keyword search?

Quoting from Paul Demery’s recent article (to read it, click here) about Google’s adoption of semantic search in Internet Retailer, ‘“Semantic search should allow Google as well as other search engines to better understand the true user intent of a search query,” says Kevin Lee, CEO of search marketing firm Didit.

Also, quoting from the same article: “Every day, we’re improving our ability to give you the best answers to your questions as quickly as possible,” Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search technology, said in a blog post. “In doing so, we convert raw data into knowledge for millions of users around the world. But our ability to deliver this experience is a function of our understanding your question and also truly understanding all the data that’s out there. And right now, our understanding is pretty darn limited. Ask us for ‘the 10 deepest lakes in the U.S,’ and we’ll give you decent results based on those keywords, but not necessarily because we understand what depth is or what a lake is.”

Now, understanding ‘intent’ AND ‘content’ is something that is at the very core of who EasyAsk is and how EasyAsk searches.  It’s the idea that, in an e-commerce setting, you can search for ‘men’s dress shirts under $30’ or ‘ladies red pumps size 6’ and get EXACTLY what you’re looking for.  Natural language understands the semantics involved in the search.  We understand the ‘intent’ of the question, we understand the ‘content’ of the data.  In adopting a new ‘semantic’ architecture Google will start to understand the ‘intent’ piece as well.

Now, who else searches this way?  How about Microsoft’s Bing, IBM’s Watson, obviously Apple’s Siri.

Now which of these companies can help you improve your e-commerce site?

None of them.

OK, but what about the other e-commerce search providers.  You probably know a few of them.  Endeca, SLI, Adobe, SOLR.

No, no, no and no.  Strictly keyword search.  Old news. Yesterday’s tech.

So we want to be the first to welcome Google.  We like them, use them all the time for internet search, along with Bing.  But when it comes to e-commerce search, folks, EasyAsk is leading the way.  Let us show you how.

It’s what we do.

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Oracle Welcomes ATG and Endeca, Is Your Site Welcome Too?

You’re currently a customer of Endeca. Your site has been expensive to maintain, but it has worked well enough and you see no need to make a change. Recently however, changes have been made to the company who runs your search. Changes that could affect your relationship and your ability to do business.

In October of 2011, Oracle acquired Endeca, a leading provider of unstructured data management, Web commerce and business intelligence solutions. A year before that, they acquired the Art Technology Group, Inc. (ATG), an e-commerce software platform that is one of the industry’s top-ranked, commerce solutions. Essentially packaging a search and platform duo. But… What if you don’t own both pieces of the puzzle? What if you’re an Endeca customer, but not an ATG customer? Is your site in danger? Is your business in danger?

Before Oracle acquired these pieces of technology, Endeca and ATG were open – meaning they worked cooperatively with other solutions in the market. Didn’t matter who you had for an e-commerce platform, be it Magento, IBM’s WebSphere, in-house, etc., you could still work with Endeca.

Is that still the case?

If recent history proves prophetic, then probably not. Oracle has a history of closing the proprietary loop when they acquire a company, making them a part of the Oracle stack. If you are inside that stack, then your feeling of security should be warm-and-fuzzy. But what if you’re not inside the loop? What if you’re currently using Endeca for your search and have a platform not named ATG? Will Endeca continue to fit? Should you be concerned?

If you are concerned and don’t feel like being at the mercy of Oracle, what can you do about it?

Here’s the good news:

You do have options and one of them can kill two birds with one stone: Get out from under Oracle’s thumb and upgrade your search by switching to EasyAsk. EasyAsk provides a user-friendly and cost-effective way to make complex business data accessible to anyone. With EasyAsk’s natural language engine, it’s Apple’s Siri and IBM’s Watson rolled into one best-of-breed, site-search, navigation and merchandising tool.

In other words, it’s common sense brought to search. It also happens to be platform-agnostic, easy to maintain, plus it puts the power in the hands of the merchandisers, costing far less than Endeca, and touting the lowest total cost of ownership in the business. To learn more about e-commerce search and how it can impact your site, please read our paper, The ABC’s of E-Commerce Search.

So… You’re an Endeca customer, but you are also now a customer of Oracle, the 4th largest software company in the world. Will your company get lost in the shuffle? Maybe yes, maybe no, and you’re welcome to stick around and find out, but… Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to “Find, Analyze, and Understand” that it’s time to switch to a Search That Means Business.

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Oracle Buys Endeca – Another E-Commerce Software Company to Vanish?

Endeca goes to Oracle. Now that is big news. I’ve read nine articles analyzing the acquisition and they all paint the same picture: good news for Oracle’s BI solutions; an enhanced Oracle BI architecture with Endeca’s ability to integrate unstructured data; new functionality for Oracle BI in analyzing data from Hadoop.

The consensus is clear: the Endeca acquisition was driven by the need for Oracle to expand its BI solutions and have more offerings to sell to existing Oracle customers.

But does anyone remember when Endeca was an e-commerce search company? What about that segment of their customer base? What should Endeca e-commerce customers expect?

The acquisition news is fresh, so there is little solid information beyond a few comments expecting an integration of Endeca’s search and merchandizing with Oracle’s ATG platform. Does this imply that ATG will become the primary, or even only e-commerce platform which Endeca supports? Where does this leave customers using Endeca with other e-commerce platforms (WebSphere, Magento, others)? With all the focus on the BI aspect of this announcement, I’m not sure anyone knows the answer. . . yet!

What I can tell you is this – Endeca e-commerce customers should not be surprised if they’re treated as second-class citizens. A recent study by Computer Economics found that “42% of Oracle (ORCL) customers are dissatisfied with the quality of Oracle’s support while 58% are dissatisfied with the cost of the support.” And that was for traditional Oracle customers! What about Endeca customers coming into the fold? What about Endeca SaaS customers? Who knows?

What I can tell you for certain is that EasyAsk believes in customer satisfaction. Or as Ford Motors used to say it is ‘JOB 1’. Since we spun EasyAsk from Progress Software back in ’09, we’ve made sure our ALL our customers know how important they are to us and how committed we are to making them successful.

Providing the very best search and merchandizing technology is what EasyAsk is all about. We can deploy in a fraction of the time it takes for a traditional Endeca site and typically ¼ the costs.

Our natural language based search provides dramatically better results, while our merchandizing tools are so intuitive and easy to use you can return control of your e-commerce merchandizing to the experts – your merchandizers.

This is why NetSuite, Magento and Infor were excited to partner with EasyAsk. We provide IBM Watson-like natural language functionality that is intuitive and optimized for customers and end users. With EasyAsk powering you search, when a visitor searches for a product they get the right result the first time, every time.

Congratulations to Endeca on their sale to Oracle. I’m sure they knocked it out of the park. Congratulations to Endeca’s investors and to their employees.

For Endeca’s e-commerce customers however, this might be a different story. If you are looking for best of breed search technology, remember that EasyAsk is here for you too.

Thanks for listening,
Craig

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