3 ways business users can manage eCommerce site search

October 28, 2014 Written by NetSphere Category: Websphere Commerce

When it comes to eCommerce site search, the logical place to start is to talk about its benefits. Studies point to the fact that when business users can improve the online customer experience, revenues will follow suit. And when eCommerce businesses optimize search on their sites, conversion rates increase, profits rise and consumer satisfaction goes through the roof. That’s because consumers can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

Site search is one of many aspects of an online store that marketers want to control. Time to market is crucial and they often need to move forward with online initiatives without having to rely on their IT counterparts, who are already swamped. Because of this, marketers are looking for new tools to help them become more empowered and self sufficient.

For businesses using IBM WebSphere Commerce, Solr – the leading advanced site search solution – is pre-built into that platform and can be managed by business users without any HTML experience. Because it’s pre-built into WebSphere Commerce, marketers and merchandizers can quickly take control of site search to better influence customer buying habits and increase average order values by:

  1. Changing the relevance of products returned in search results
  2. Contextualizing search results based on user behavior
  3. Defining synonyms for search terms

By making these modifications, business users in marketing and merchandizing can either expand or refine a search results list just as easily as they can bring a product to the top of the search results list. For businesses using WebSphere Commerce, the specific steps to execute these modifications are outlined in the video above.

Regardless of the platform, however, there are several fundamentals to keep in mind when managing search on an eCommerce site.  

1. Changing the relevance of products returned in search results

In regard to the relevance of products returned in search results, it’s incredibly important that business users know what comes to the top of the search list. Is it a product with high profit margins? Is it a product that you’re fully stocked with? Is it a product with great customer reviews? Before making any changes to the order in which products are returned, these are the questions that business users need to ask themselves.

2. Contextualizing search results based on user behavior

Search results can also be modified to anticipate what shoppers want to find with their search. If a shopper enters the search term “coffee,” business users can restrict the search results to the grocery category and filter out products from other categories, such as appliances. A business user might want to make this type of modification for website visitors that have a history of shopping for groceries, for example. Chances are, that person would be looking for coffee beans rather than coffee makers, coffee tables, coffee mugs and so on. As one can assume, this modification is incredibly beneficial for sites that offer several different categories to search within.

3. Defining synonyms for search terms

As we can imagine, there are often several different terms used for a specific product. For example, when shoppers are looking for a specific product, they don’t want to have to perform multiple search queries to see all of their options. Let’s say a shopper enters a general search term, like coffee maker. Chances are, that individual might want to see results beyond the basic idea of “coffee maker.” They might also want to see espresso makers in the search result list.

When business users can add as many synonyms as possible (and appropriate) for the search criteria submitted by site visitors, they are better equipped to help these shoppers find the products they need in a quick and efficient manner. Because, after all, online shopping is supposed to be a convenience. By managing site search, business users can ensure that it stays that way.  

To get business users up and running with the management of site search on your eCommerce storefront, reach out to the team at NetSphere Strategies. We’d be happy to help.   

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Abbe Miller is the marketing manager at NetSphere Strategies, located just outside Chicago. NetSphere Strategies is a boutique eCommerce company positioned to help businesses transform their online presence by providing a full complement of services that starts with our strategic consulting and creative design teams, then continues with building innovative solutions and providing ongoing post-project support.