Searching for the right product online can often feel counterproductive. Search for “black dress pants,” and it’s likely black dresses show up as much as black pants do, making it harder to find what you want. In fact, eight out of ten online shoppers rely on site search to find products, and they cite irrelevant product results as a top frustration. Getting bad search results isn’t just a problem for shoppers either. It spells business trouble for companies. Fortunately, search merchandising, or “searchandising,” is a type of ecommerce merchandising that can help alleviate product discovery woes while also serving your key business goals.
With it, brands can control search results to boost or bury specific products to maximize revenue, move inventory, and multiply sales during key holidays and promotions!
What Is Search Merchandising, Or Searchandising?
Merchandising is a well-known core competence of any retail brand. Starting with in-store displays and shopping experiences, and now encompassing home page and app design, merchandising presents products to consumers to help suggest what to buy. With search playing such a huge role in online shopping, it’s time that retailers start to apply merchandising strategies to this important channel.
Known as “searchandising,” this relatively new discipline takes into consideration what a shopper might be looking for, helps them find it faster and incorporates business goals and promotions into the experience. There are many elements to search that can be tweaked to improve relevance and push or hide specific products on demand. Faceted search and navigation, auto-complete, recommended products, and recent and related searches, can all offer different choices, results and recommendations with good searchandising.
Searchandising can have manual and algorithm-driven elements. At a high level, searchandising allows retailers to set rules to boost or bury products based on attributes like stock availability, or promotions. To also improve customer experience, searchandising can also incorporate behavioral data to create automated results that are likely to be more relevant, while still including business rules.
How Searchandising Helps Drive More Revenue
Now that you’ve seen the improvement to customer experience and to retailer merchandising strategy, let’s break down exactly how search merchandising delivers higher ROI.
Higher Search-to-Conversion Rates
When search results are more relevant, more searchers click on them and navigate to the product they were looking for, which ends in higher numbers of conversions from the search feature on the website.
Higher Search Margins
By having the control to boost and bury key products, there is a higher likelihood that people click to buy products that retailers boosted, either to move inventory or to drive higher profits.
Higher Inventory Efficiency
The option to boost and bury products also gives retailers control over moving inventory, either older items on sale, or promotional items.
When searchers get relevant products in their search results, they’ll be more likely to come back again. This positive experience over time yields more loyal customers and higher lifetime value.
Applying Searchandising to Your Shopping Experience
How you apply searchandising rules to your search depends on what goals you have. Here are three different use cases to consider when implementing a searchandising strategy:
Holiday Sale Promotion of Specific Products
With searchandising rules in place, retailers can boost the results of the products that are being promoted in a sale. And even better, if certain products start to sell out, other products can be boosted, and those with limited inventory can be buried.
Boost New Products
Often, “most popular” search results use past data, which can mean that new arrivals don’t get a fair shake in search results. Once a new line comes in, retailers can use searchandising to boost product positions in search results and bury older products that are discounted and aren’t as profitable to sell.
Personalize Search Results
Searchandising can also help with the “black dress pants” issue. With machine learning-driven search results using behavioral data, retailers will be able to use insights like past searches to make better guesses about what someone really wants when they search.
Search Campaigns, included out of the box with our Personalized Search, a Kibo Personalization feature, or with our B2C Ecommerce site search, allow you to execute against the above use cases, and are our own machine learning-powered take on searchandising.