For millions of people, everything on the Internet starts with a small search on Google. Daily over 5 billion searches are made on Google, alone. While links to websites like Facebook, YouTube, and Gmail are the most searched queries, millions of people use Google for Product Discovery as well.
Google has ruled the Product Discovery landscape for decades because it offered people relevant information almost instantly. In the recent past, Amazon replaced Google to emerge as the most preferred platform for Product Discovery. Over 72% of users now use Amazon for Product Discovery. With E-commerce taking the center stage, Google will experience a hit but searches are here to grow.
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A study highlighted “almost 40% of users visit search bar as soon as they land on e-commerce platforms”, while another study revealed, “40-60% of revenue comes from users who use search”. These figures establish the fact that search is perhaps the most important metric for the growth of e-commerce.
How can Marketplaces Optimize Search to improve Customer Experience?
Make the Search bar Big & Visible: 40% of users visiting search bar as soon as they land on e-commerce is a huge number. Since the search bar is so important to customers, it makes sense to make it visible and bigger. By placing the search bar in line of sight and making it big, e-commerce platforms can help customers discover relevant products faster.
Offer Autocomplete Feature: Autocorrect and autocomplete have got people to type faster and correctly without getting all worked up. Now that people are used to autocompleting and autocorrecting, you will be committing a disaster by not offering these on your e-commerce platform. With autocomplete and autocorrect, it will get easier for customers to type faster and correct keywords. In the end, everything will add up to faster product discovery leading to better customer experience.
Allow in-depth Search: Studies have proved that a person searching for a “brown belt for men” is more likely to purchase than a person searching for “belts”. With so much riding on search, it gets necessary for e-commerce platforms to show correct results for such an in-depth query. Work on your algorithm, train it if required but make sure that it is ranking relevant products in search results.
Allow Search by Category: A few years ago, search engines like Google were the leading product discovery platform but now e-commerce marketplaces are leading. Amazon is the most preferred product discovery platform because it allows people to search by categories, which makes searches simpler and product discovery faster. A customer that finds a required product faster is likely to make a purchase instantly.
Example: “A sharp Knife” is a book as well as kitchenware. A simple search “A sharp Knife” will lead to search results that include most of the kitchenware but since the customer is looking for the book, it will affect customer experience. By letting people select categories during the search can help businesses offer quality customer experience and drive more sales.
Remove Brand Interference: Just to acquire better rankings, sellers play with attribute values. They end up putting wrong attribute values deliberately to rank higher than the original product.
For example: A local shoe brand includes “Nike” in the keyword and adds attribute value “yes” for “Nike Original”, which is an attribute, this way the local shoe will start ranking for queries related to Nike shoes. Such brand interference affects the overall customer experience and also adds to increasing return rates.
When marketplaces work to remove such brand interferences, they optimize search results for various queries, which ensures only relevant and original products show up in search results. Here’s how popular marketplaces do it:
Step 1: Discover popular keywords/search queries.
Step 2: Traverse the first four pages of the search results for brand interferences.
Step 3: Find out which attribute value is misplaced or added deliberately.
Step 4: Update the attribute with correct values.
Step 5: Remove the wrong information from the product description.
Step 6: Repeat the process until the first four pages of search results are free of brand interference.
Allow Users to Sort Search Results: Not everyone searching for Nike is looking for their top model, some of these users are looking for affordable and stylish Nike shoes. By letting people sort search results based on “Popularity”, “Price Low to High”, and “Top-Rated”, marketplaces can make it easier for users to find the right product. The faster they find it, the sooner they order it bringing in more revenue.
Optimizing search can turn the fate of marketplaces from left to right. It can help them add millions of USD to their revenue within months. If you have ad campaigns and other traffic channels set in action, make sure your search is optimized too. It is only when your search is optimized that you can convert traffic into sales.
For e-commerce marketplaces to offer top-notch customer experience, all they need to do is improve product discovery. To improve product discovery, they can optimize their search bar by following the aforementioned practices. These are standard industry practices followed by top players.
Reduce the product discovery time, make search results efficient and you are on your way to building the next Amazon.