In the lead-up to Black Friday, Searchspring built a fantastic webinar series focused on all the important topics to think through before the big day is upon us. This week, our webinar focused on ways to fine-tune your site search for increased checkouts.
We were joined by two expert panelists:
- Michael McBride, CEO of Atelier Commerce
- Max Ronai, CEO of Gobot
During the Fine Tune Your Site Search webinar, we covered many different topics including:
- Assessing zero-results pages
- Delivering hyper-relevant results
- Merchandising products based on shopper activity
- Personalization and Recommendations
As usual, we touched on many more subjects than these four, so the entire webinar is worth a listen. But, we’ll summarize the conversation, starting with the best visual of the entire session;
“Imagine if you walked into a retail store and every product was simply thrown on the floor in random, messy order. Would you continue to shop there? Or would you walk out immediately?”
– Max Ronai
This is akin to not optimizing search and merchandising on your site.
So, what should you do? First, and foremost, if you are like over 40% of the webinar attendees who haven’t started planning for Black Friday, don’t panic! As Michael said during the webinar, “You still have time. But, you do have to get started!”
Get Started On Your Site Search Optimization Journey
Put Yourself in The Customer’s Shoes
Shop your own store. Use your search. Have friends and relatives search and give feedback. The only way you will know what works (and what doesn’t) is to try it out. Test. Track. Test again!
Think About How Shoppers Use Site Search
How does your search handle these scenarios?
- Symptomatic searches (think, searches for “Drafty windows” when shopping for new windows.)
- Thematic Searches (think searches for “casual dress shoes” as opposed to “dress shoes”)
- Exact searches using synonyms (think “sofa” vs. “couch”)
Collaboration is Key
To truly understand how to optimize your site search, it is critical that you talk to your customer success team. They know the common questions and complaints. They hear the words shoppers use to describe products and understand search patterns.
Optimizing search starts with your customer success team.
Optimize the Search Bar
Shoppers that search are often the highest converting shoppers on an ecommerce site. So, how can you get shoppers to search more? The easiest thing is to make the search bar BIGGER!
(Why does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, the greatest video of all time…)
Another way to encourage search is to increase the number of facets included in your search. Make sure the site search is capturing all facets, such as color and size, so shoppers can get specific.
Research, Research, Research
It’s important to do extensive research. Competitors, products, pricing, search results, categories, listing pages, filters – everything.
Optimizing is an ongoing process and a balance between what you want and what the competition is doing.
Audit Your Site
Start Black Friday planning with a site audit.
Here are some questions to ask during an ecommerce site audit:
- Does the search bar work properly?
- Are synonyms in place?
- Are existing business rules in place and working properly?
- What are your out-of-stock products? What are you doing to make sure those product pages do not get traffic?
- Is the shopping cart working properly? What about the payment gateway?
- Do you have dead links?
- What do results from last year tell you? What went well? Where is there room for improvement? Where did shoppers find a dead end? What feedback did you receive?
Prepare We Must
The reality is that preparing for Black Friday is important. There is no one right way to prepare. But, prepare we must. Michael and Max truly subscribe to the “just do it” philosophy when it comes to preparation. Take time to prepare and think about your shoppers. With the end-user in mind, they will reward you with purchases and loyalty.