By Jessica Farrelly
Trying to find the right ecommerce search engine for your store? If you’ve been sifting through sales messaging and industry jargon in your search for the right solution, there’s a good chance you’re feeling more confused now than when you started.
To cut through the noise, focus on these key questions to evaluate how (and if) a particular shopping search engine can grow with your business and help your customers find what they’re looking for.
1. Does this ecommerce search engine understand shopper intent?
The most important capability a search engine should have is an understanding of shopper intent. This translates to features like:
- Semantic search: Your search bar should take into account the nuances in a search query to deliver relevant products for the user. Each word in a long-tail query should be understood to determine which is a product category and which are attributes.
- Measurement detection: Deciphering variations in measurements and other special characters is another important feature. Eg: will the search engine deliver the same results for 38”, 38in, 38 inch?
- Intelligent results: Your site search should immediately return the most relevant results for any given search term, and give you the ability to manually control and rearrange these results when needed.
Bottom line, can this search engine understand the difference between a “dress shirt” and a “shirt dress,” and does it yield the correct results for the customer?
2. Does this shopping search engine give you merchandising controls?
Once you’ve ensured this search engine can provide your customers with the correct results, the next step is to determine whether you can control those results. That is, can you boost certain products while hiding others?
- Display controls: Do you have the option to display the results in a way that is logical and aesthetically pleasing? Or perhaps by style, category, or price? Also ask yourself if you require a web developer to adjust product arrangement, or can you easily arrange them yourself, perhaps with a drag-and-drop capability?
- Boost rules: Are you able to boost or bury certain results based on your goals, reviews, conversion rates, or stock availability?
- Campaign scheduling: Can you coordinate your marketing campaigns with your search results? Can you promote certain products for a specified time period so that the user’s search results align with your current strategy?
The secret to high-converting product displays
3. Does this ecommerce search engine’s autocomplete deliver relevant suggestions?
Does the search engine offer an autocomplete feature, and if so, does it suggest relevant results, popular searches, product images, and navigation facets and filters?
Here’s what to look out for:
- Typeahead suggestions: As soon as the shopper begins to type a search query, product suggestions should populate directly below your search box, allowing customers to preview or click through to the full set of results.
- Facets and filters in autocomplete: Enable further filtering within the search box. This feature should bring up relevant facets and filters to help shoppers to quickly refine their results.
- Popular searches: Share popular searches so your customers can see what’s trending on your site, before they even finish inputting their search query.
4. Does this shopping search engine allow you to set up synonyms and redirects?
Based on search reports (see Question 5 below), you might need to set up search synonyms and redirects to different results for certain search queries.
For example, if you notice that a common search term is yielding no results, even when you carry a relevant product, you can update the search engine with synonyms so shoppers can find the right results. Think “tshirt” failing to generate any results because you happen to spell it “t-shirt” on your site.
Redirects, on the other hand, are useful to show customers alternatives to their searches that may (hopefully) also be of interest. For example, if shoppers search for items or brands you don’t carry, redirecting them to a landing page with similar brands or items you have in stock could satisfy their needs and lead to a conversion.
5. Does this ecommerce search engine come with reporting features?
Amongst other things, analyzing search results can help you improve your ecommerce strategy and give your customers a better shopping experience.
But reporting features can do much more than that, they can also inspire new product lines. For instance, a “Zero Results Report” can tell you what products your customers are searching for that lead to “no results found”. In this scenario, it may be a case that you need to update product data or set up search synonyms – or, it could be a prime opportunity to add a new product to your store.
Further, search reports should provide you with insights into the search queries that are generating the most revenue and bringing in the highest conversions.
Finding the best ecommerce search engine for you
If you’re an online retailer, the name of the game is to help your customers find the products they’re looking for quickly and easily. The best ecommerce search engines will help you do just that, while giving you the insights and control you need to continually optimize results. Ready to dive deeper into your search strategy? Check out our ultimate ecommerce site search guide.
Jessica FarrellyContent Marketing Manager, Searchspring
Jessica has worked as a content writer for B2B and B2C businesses in a variety of industries. An avid online shopper, she has become immersed in everything that goes on behind the scenes of ecommerce since joining the Searchspring team, and loves writing about the latest trends and happenings in the industry.