Zero results. Irrelevant products. Embarrassing sites. We have all experienced this. The search engine nightmare. Why does this happen and how can we make it better? Search engines started life as a nifty way to Crawl, Index, and Search websites. Back in the day, websites were primarily textual lists and there were not many sites! When Google launched in 1998, there were only 2.5 million websites and 188 million users. It was sufficient to look up a “word” (later to be called a “keyword”) and match that word to a document. The technology then developed. to find words that were more important in a document (TF-IDF, Google it). But as happens to any good thing, keywords exploded and were put to uses that stretched its ability to deliver across domains.
Yes, ranking the words in a unique hierarchy was a nice way to extend the life of keyword searches. It was also a nifty way to build an advertising business from selling access to keyword searches, but this method ceased to be the best thing many years ago. These search engines were not designed for modern eCommerce. They were never optimized for the functionality that eCommerce needs: to search specific items, to push and pull products and to provide a more seamless experience. Algolia and others have done an admirable job at stretching the indexing as far as it can go, but the search experience is moving on. In this and a following blog we will look at the newest search tools – Semantic Search and Visual Search while suggesting some ideas to better optimize your Internet store front.
From large brands to small retailers, everyone is a bit obsessed with getting traffic to their sites. You want visits, more visits, and even more visits. But what happens when they arrive? This is where the internal search tools come into their own. Having a robust search tool designed for eCommerce on your platform is important for more than just conversions. It is a key component driving an increased sense of loyalty from your customers. We know that only 15% of shoppers use the search bar from the get-go, but they make up 45% of the eCommerce revenue. If your search engine is not up to task, say goodbye to half your revenue!
Some of the more innovative stores have thought about this problem and moved to integrate multiple types of search functionality. What do we mean by multiple search functions? Anyone who has taken a stroll in Amazon will notice that audio and Visual Searches are featured prominently. Computer Vision and NLP have revolutionized thinking about search and each new search function becomes another entry point for customers into your store. Think of it as another store window to entice customers to go in the store.
The biggest of these new search engines is Visual Search. Visual Search for the best companies is a way to engage customers allowing them to point, shoot, and shop. This is a super effective way to bring customers deep into your store. It has been reported that users that utilize Visual Search put 85% more in their basket and spend 6% more per order. This core component can exist as a standalone search tool or be used to integrate with third party sites such as Pinterest. And best of all? Visual Search is an AI tool and one of its superpowers is that it will always return a result for your customers. Never again will you have a dreaded zero results page.
What happens when the customers are in the store? They expect the search results to be relevant and personalized. This is where Delvify has taken a lead in creating a personalized and iterative approach to search. With our creative recommendation widget, we are able to go beyond internal search engines, and beyond a simple search bar. With an integrated recommendation tool, your search engine becomes a cross-sell and product promotion tool to supplement the experience and create a pathway for your consumer to spend more on. Want to push the latest deals? Delvify has you covered. Want to create unique visual experiences each and every time for your customers? Recommendations can take the search entry and transform it into a digital assistant. Delvify has taken this further and used AI to embed Visual Search functionality inside the search. Without ever leaving the search widget, your customers can click and swipe for as long as their interest is piqued.
As we mentioned at the outset, there are several new types of search functions for your customers. There is no one-size that fits all but it is important to find out what your customers require to find the products they want from your platform. Visual Search is the biggest newcomer to this space. Delvify’s Visual Search tool can aid the improvement of the search experience creating new and exciting ways to interact with customers. Being able to find the relevant products through a simple upload of an image increases the satisfaction from consumers and also the level of accuracy of finding their desired product.
With the push for Visual Search demand, it is imperative that brands be prepared to have a new option for customers to find their products, swiftly and accurately. Not only will this be able to put you ahead of the game but put your names amongst big players that currently utilize Visual Search like Pinterest, Google, and Amazon. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to upgrade your eCommerce search toolbar!