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Supercharging onsite search in time for Peak Season

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Supercharging onsite search in time for Peak Season

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In this article, our technology partner Findologic explains how you can improve your onsite marketing in time for the peak season.

Supercharging customer journeys and optimising the customer journey requires the pathway to conversion to be efficient and intuitive. It is instrumental to the success of your online store this peak season.

Many retailers don’t prioritise their search and navigation function, despite the fact that it sits at the core of a user’s path to product discovery. Even large, global retailers have a very basic offering and are unaware that there is significant scope for optimisation, and therefore conversion and satisfaction uplift. In fact, during search usability testing, 19 of the world's leading e-commerce sites search support was so weak that 31% of all product finding tasks ended in vain.

Since so few retailers are currently offering a gold-standard experience, by optimising a comprehensive set of touchpoints, there is significant scope to not only boost conversion this peak season, but also establish your ecommerce as a preferred choice for shoppers.

If users aren’t presented with products relevant to them, they won’t buy. If users become frustrated due to poor user experience, they won’t buy. If users aren’t guided and inspired like they would be in-store, they won’t buy. The Findologic platform allows retailers to address these pain points.

The complexities of ecommerce today require businesses to deep dive into their users' behaviours and look beyond basic search functionalities to provide a frictionless experience that encourages conversion and repeat custom.

Wow from the very first click

tamara-comolli

Findologic client, Tamara Comolli

For a majority of shoppers, as soon as they enter your online store they will look for your search bar. This first interaction is your opportunity to make an impression and is a preview of the impending experience. With a smart Assisted Suggest, there is assistance and inspiration such as product recommendations from the initial interaction with your search bar. It is also an opportunity to upsell, by inspiring shoppers with recommendations. Meanwhile, shoppers benefit from seamless transitions between touchpoints thanks to comprehensive assistance. Key areas to consider include:

  • Encourage shoppers with recommendations or keywords
  • Keep the amount of query suggestions manageable, too large a selection of can overwhelm the user
  • Ensure fast response times
  • The opened autocomplete should be differentiated from the rest of the online store
  • Clearly separate search suggestions and product recommendations for a visual differentiation

Search doesn’t end there...

During this initial interaction retailers must avoid dead ends. Dead ends are an abrupt ending to a journey as the user has no options left to continue their experience so it is essential that retailers have the correct technology in place to detect typos, or in the case where they do not stock a particular product, use it as an opportunity to inspire shoppers with other products that may be relevant for them. Meanwhile, synonyms allow 360 degree coverage. For example, if a user searches for ‘blow dryer’ rather than ‘hair dryer’. For B2B retailers we also suggest utilisting:

  • Tab Solution: Display a range of content, all accessible via your search function and displayed under various tabs, such as articles, or FAQ’s.
  • Regular Expression: Sometimes shoppers will search for an article number, particularly in B2B commerce. Findologic’s solution recognises article number schemes, making searching for products in this way easy.
  • User Groups: Dynamically change products, pricing or information based on the user logged into your website.

Mobile UX

Even though Google favors mobile-friendly websites and mobile shoppers spend 20x more shopping than website shoppers, m-commerce doesn’t seem to feature high on retailer's corporate agenda. Compared to a desktop, a small screen presents a whole host of complexities, mainly the tension between various elements and danger of becoming overwhelming and cumbersome. Many simply replicate the desktop interface on mobile, even though the flow states are so contrasting. With smartphones expected to generate $ 221.2 billion in mobile commerce sales by the end of 2021, it is time to start prioritising m-commerce and move shoppers through the buying funnel more seamlessly using a combination of user-friendly tricks (which you can learn more about here.) These include:

  • Mobile Assisted Suggest: A mobile-friendly Assisted Suggest overlay for simplified navigation. Accompanied by first click interactions and intelligent recommendations
  • Collapsible Overlays: Overlays can be collapsed and are readily accessible when required.  This maximises available screen space.
  • Ever Present Filters: Filters options remain present as the user scrolls to avoid unnecessarily scrolling to the top of the page
  • Voice Search: A more conversational interface that reduces friction and is present in our everyday lives via technologies such as Alexa

A.I. relieving navigational burden

pour-moi-lisa

Findologic client, Pour Moi

Since search and navigation can be fiddly on mobile, A.I. is able to play a huge role in automate touchpoints, relieving burden for shoppers when navigating. This way a number of touchpoints can be removed and shoppers can be taken to their products destination by software that understands their intent and does some of the hard work for them.  By deploying A.I., such as Findologic’s shopping assistant Li.S.A., retailers can:

  • Profile user to understand behaviours and preferences and dynamically adapt journeys based on this
  • Display more relevant results (even for vague search terms) by making refinement touchpoints instantly accessible.
  • Deploys relevant touchpoints to help guide, inspire or explore
  • Minimse touchpoints, by allowing A.I. to intelligently navigate based on each users requirements

The layout should be intuitive as a key component. If we take a look at large social networks and technology companies, such as Facebook and Instagram, touchpoints immediately stand out due to their centralised elements.

These experiences have become ingrained in our minds. Having this experience replicated in your online store will simplify your navigation as it minimises the differences between your website and the other channels your customers interact with daily.

Put merchandising to work for you

By controlling the hierarchy and visibility of specific products retailers are able to underpin business strategy and campaigns. The simplest method to do this is to use a campaign manager, which gives retailers a 360 degree view of their activities and allows for pain-free and successful planning, implementation, and monitoring throughout the campaign's lifecycle. Retailers can use the following methods to take control of merchandising:

  • Promotions: To assist promotions, implement campaigns across your website. Place advertisements in the autocomplete or on other pages throughout navigation to obtain complete visibility throughout the customer journey, both on desktop and mobile.
  • Product Placements: Guarantee prime position for specific products using the Findologic backend.
  • Product Pushing: Arrange product hierarchies in a way that presents shoppers with useful recommendations, or prioritise product groups that will help you achieve your business objectives.
  • Landing Pages: Predefine rules to direct users to appropriate content and offer your visitors the fastest route to the information they want.

The catalyst for success

With literally hundreds of optimisations that can be made, for most e-commerce sites the best way to reach a high level of UX performance is by auditing the user experience holistically, and at first, prioritising only the major UX obstacles.

Of course, the process can be overwhelming for even the most established retailers. Despite resources and deep pockets, the research reinforces that so many are still missing the mark, suggesting that it is time to rethink current strategies and the providers you are partnered with, to deliver a more thorough, refined and high-quality experience to your customers, just in time for peak season!

 

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