Okkular's Vidushi Kala details why search optimisation is important. 

There is probably nothing more frustrating to a user than getting a million search results and having to sift through the clutter.

The longer the user takes to reach the desired product, the higher the user’s chances of dropping off, i.e., directly impacting your conversion rates.

In today’s competitive eCommerce climate, it’s not enough to provide an ‘adequate’ shopping experience.

Online retailers are continually looking to set themselves apart and know that they need to optimise each customer journey element.

However, the simplest of things often get neglected while retailers today focus on other aspects of the experience.

A good example is on-site navigation and user search optimisation, simple yet some of the best eCommerce platforms get it wrong.

Why is search optimisation important?

Effective site search means better usability that enables customers to find things more effectively and quickly, which results in higher sales.

Customers who can discover a product they want with ease are more likely to make a purchase. A more intuitive search and navigation mean higher conversion rates.

What does an intuitive search mean? When searching in an eCommerce context, users exhibit very different behaviour than when they perform a generic web search.

Users often include one or more criteria in their search that the product must meet.

These criteria can be a product attribute, product feature related searches such as ‘red dress’, ‘sequin top’ or thematic such as ‘boho style’, ‘retro shorts’ etc.

It is crucial to return relevant results regardless of whether the searched-for product type exists as a category on the site or not.

This requires the detailed categorisation and labelling of products and proper handling of synonyms and alternate spellings of those groupings.

To understand this further, we analysed the top 100 Australian eCommerce websites' on-site navigation and search functionality.

We found surprisingly weak support for essential eCommerce search query types, with 67% of all sites performing below an acceptable search performance.

These websites directly misalign with the user’s actual search behaviour and expectations. In fact, 8% of the sites were found to have a downright “broken” search performance.

Upping your game in the online market is as simple as optimising on-site search to enhance product discover.

Letting your user find what they want and when they want it by—customers who interact with your search bars, filters, etc., features of your online store indicate a high level of purchase intent.

Studies have shown that site searchers are over 200% more likely to convert than other customers.

Know your Product DNA

Your product DNA is length and breadth of your products makings, i.e., its attributes. To efficiently map your product to the relevant categories and optimise it for your search, an eCommerce retailer must know each product’s attributes/features and know it well.

As mentioned above, each user performs a search in a different context when it comes to eCommerce.

Therefore, it becomes crucial to let them access to your products quickly before they change their mind and jump ship.

Tagging your products correctly and laying down their features and attributes becomes crucial to your search functionality. As tedious or repetitive the activity it maybe – it does yield significant results when implemented correctly.

It helps boost the website’s search capabilities, helps create filters, and categorises products faster and better.

Today, every customer experience counts, search-led journeys are on the rise, and it has become crucial for online retail websites to make sure users can discover the products they want with ease.

Today only a handful of companies are dedicating resources to improving their on-site search experience.

By improving their experience and chance of finding the perfect product — beyond the basic functionality offered by your eCommerce platform — you’re fully capitalising on this motivation.

Okkular is a Melbourne based Australian tech start-up. We leverage AI and deep learning to create solutions for retailers to improve customer experience, reduce costs by automating labour intensive task and drive sales with insightful automation and personalisation.


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