Searchandising: What is it and why is it important?

Searchandising: What is it and why is it important?

Marcel Krabath

Searchandising: What is it and why is it important?

Searchandising: What is it and why is it important?

Searchandising is more than just a buzz-word. This sophisticated strategy is being adopted by retailers across industries and it’s easy to see why. Read now to learn more.

In e-commerce we place a lot of effort in generating traffic. We spend loads of time on SEO and a lot of money on PPC campaigns. But it’s all for nought if a poor user experience just leads to bouncing and poor conversion rates. 

Being able to provide tailored search results for your shoppers is key to their engagement. Consumers expect personalisation and a smooth omnichannel experience. If they don’t get it, they won’t buy. 

‘Searchandising’ (also known as search merchandising) is a recent term that was coined largely as a result of the evolution of ecommerce search solutions. In this post we talk about what searchandising is, why it’s important, and how it can help you smash your sales targets this quarter. 

What is searchandising?

Picture this: you’re running a brick-and-mortar store and you’re trying to sell some leftover stock. You need to move it quickly and you’ve decided to discount them and move your items to the front of the shop to make them more attractive to your shoppers. This is classic merchandising. 

In the ecommerce world, online retailers take many of these same concepts and work them into their online stores. Popular examples can include sales announcements with loud banners and calls-to-action. 

It doesn’t stop there though. Search merchandising allows you to take a step further by merchandising to shoppers that are looking for a specific product or solution to their problem.  

As you can imagine, there’s quite a lot to searchandising, so let’s take a dive and try to understand it better.

Searchandising (Search merchandising) combines search and merchandising to customize your ecommerce site search results to fit a certain criteria that you set. Searchandising enables you to ensure that the results your shoppers see are highly relevant and match their intent, but that these results also align with your business goals. These might include trending products, seasonal items, related products with higher profit margins and the like.

In the world of ecommerce today, the power of search solutions is well known. Shoppers want to have natural shopping experiences, and search is key to providing them with relevant results. 

However, it’s one thing to give users search results that are relevant. It’s another to give them relevant results that you want them to buy. That’s what searchandising is all about, and it benefits both the shopper and the seller.

How does searchandising work?

At its core, searchandising is all about enhancing search capabilities, including navigation, autocomplete, recommended products, recent searches related queries, and more. With searchandising, you can layer merchandising into site search features, such as autocomplete, recent searches, search suggestions, and more.

It achieves this with behavioural data and automation to create a seamless, personalised search experience.

At the most basic level, searchandising involves setting ‘boost-and-bury’ rules on variables such as profit margins, stock availability, and more. 

On a more advanced level, it can take into account behavioural data, and use sophisticated machine learning algorithms to sort products based on relevancy, popularity, personalisation, and more. 

Searchandising allows you to quickly amend your search engine relevance to your business KPIs. It works by enforcing business rules in addition to relevance rules for the site’s search engine. This allows you to adapt to your business goals, by promoting, boosting, and burying products for key search queries.

As with all solutions, you can take it further. Advanced searchandising solutions give you access to analytics, that allow you to refine search results, understand user intent and key word data, such as underperforming and trending products. This all helps you ultimately build an experience that your users truly care about.

Not all businesses are the same and searchandising will look different in each scenario. As a search provider, we work with our clients to customise and optimise their results according to their specific criteria, and that they are easily monitored and adjusted as the system learns from shoppers. 

Search results are sorted to reflect user intent and the retailer’s business rules, be it product popularity, personal taste, time of year, campaigns, new and changing inventory, and so on. 

As well as this, related search results are generated in real-time and displayed next to search results. 

Manual merchandising tasks are automated, such as sorting, ranking, and tagging. Retailers are able to better anticipate shopper intent and minimise costs as a result. We’ve seen our customers increase their sales by as high as 20% in some cases as a result of advanced searchandising, and save incalculable time. 

Searchandising allows ecommerce teams, including product owners, marketers, merchandisers, and managers to organise search results in ways that align with business goals, such as pushing key products, tracking how people interact with your offerings, and more. Searchandising is a continually improving process that can be optimised to drive sales and meet business objectives.

What can you do with searchandising?

There are some key things you can do with searchandising, such as:

  • Personalisation: Providing personally relevant content to your users increases conversion rate
  • Search rules: Use a boost-and-bury strategy to promote certain types of products to users based on KPIs such as time of year, customer relationship, or other factors.
  • Recommend products: Take advantage of merchandising to users directly in their search experience. This provides an intuitive user experience and opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. 
  • Campaigns: You can also leverage display ads and promotional banners on your search results pages to help promote key products.
  • Monitor performance: Searchandising is a process that requires continual fine-tuning. There is no ‘set-and-forget’ option. Monitor your user interactions and decide how to adjust search relevance and product rankings accordingly. 

What are the benefits of searchandising?

There are several advantages to searchandising that you should be aware of. These include:

  • Increased revenue: showing shoppers products based on the customisable rules you set when done optimally will increase conversion and sales
  • Enhanced navigation and filters: providing a smoother experience for your shoppers
  • Display campaigns: you can promote products and content as display ads and banners on the same page or throughout your site, keeping your users engaged
  • Better product listings: searchandising allows you to optimise your product listings and maximise efficiency
  • Monitor data and improve iterations: Searchandising gives you a greater understanding of your shoppers. This data will empower you to make adjustments to search relevance and product offerings you have on your site, as well as managing your inventory and supply chain processes.
    • Understand your priorities and strategies: This means knowing your goals which will allow you to align your search results with the kpis that matter most to your business
    • Defining merchandising criteria: Where you decide which results will be highlighted when a search is completed. Data points such as number of sales, product cost, events, profit-margin, CTRs, discounts, stock, and more will be considered and incorporated in the algorithm.
  • Monitoring performance: When the algorithms are defined and integrated into your store, you can monitor performance, looking at areas for improvement. 

Of course it’s not all clear skies and there is no ‘set it and forget it’ approach to searchandising. The best on site solutions learn and apply what they’ve discerned about your shoppers and make continual improvements. 

What do good searchandising tools look like?

To understand what makes a searchandising platform worth your time and money, let’s look at four key areas:

  • Search relevance
  • Personalisation
  • KPIs for search results 
  • Automation and machine learning

Search Relevance

The ability to match results that are relevant to the user’s intent is pivotal to success. Merchandising means nothing without it. There’s no point trying to push products that aren’t relevant to the shopper’s search, and will just frustrate them.

The best search solutions are built with user intent at their core, and use it to their advantage in search merchandising. For example, if I search for a red dress, I don’t want to see red shirts or dresses of a different colour. Or if I’m looking for an oak coffee table, I don’t want to be shown marble or dining tables.

Today’s site search engines use natural language processing (or NLP) to analyse the search, discern intent, and retrieve the results it thinks the shopper wants. They are much more sophisticated than they used to be and are more focused on honing in on results with greater focus and more precise targeting. NLP is key to that.

Personalisation

Relevant results are the most important part of site search, but by combining it with personalisation, you can expect even better results from your searchandising. 

Personalisation leverages historical user behaviour and brings your searchandising strategy to the next level. To give an example, a customer enters your store looking for an LED TV. Why then would you show them LCD TVs? Smart searchandising solutions will automatically retrieve all this data and display properly merchandised search results. 

Another example would be location-based merchandising. Geography-based merchandising can also support your omnichannel commerce strategy by boosting goods nearest to the physical store location. For instance, say you’ve got a particular product that perfectly matches the shopper’s search intent, and it’s available in a store near them for collection. Searchandising can achieve this.

KPIs for search results

To get the most out of searchandising, you should fine-tune your site search in a way that it understands your merchandising strategy. Of course, this requires input from you. 

These KPIS vary from business to business and you’ll have to work with your vendor to determine the right formula and application of  business rules for the right searchandising. 

Let’s look at several examples.

If you were to launch your ecommerce search solution and have it focus on product profit margins at the exclusion

In short, these rules encompass all of the variables that could affect the ranking of your search results, including things such as profit margin, product availability, discounts, free delivery and shipping options, product release date, and so on.

Automation and machine learning

Searchandising leverages automation to move beyond manual and labour-intense on-site search merchandising towards a solution that continually self-optimises. Search results rank themselves in real-time to reflect new information, including:

  • Relationship and similarities between products 
  • Business rules and logics, like new products, stock levels, seasonal events, etc.
  • CRM (past purchases, user profile info, etc)
  • Behaviour data, such as clicks, adds-to-cart, purchases, etc.
  • Particular words and synonyms

Could search merchandising work for you?

Ask yourself some key questions:

  • Do you know why your products are ranked in a particular way for a certain search?
  • Are you able to change your rankings flexibly?
  • Do you struggle to understand data on search-specific results to make decisions and changes?

If your answer is no for one or more of these questions, it might be time to consider investing in searchandising. 

With a search merchandising solution, business owners and marketers can take ownership over search, finetune their relevance, test changes, run A/B tests, and more to boost conversion rate and sales. 

If you think about it, online merchandising has greater potential than merchandising in a brick-and-mortar store. With a searchandising tool, you have the ability to merchandise products in the tens of thousands rather than just the ten you might manage in a physical aisle, leading to greater potential profits and a better user experience.

Searchandising sounds tough but it doesn’t have to be. In fact search solutions such as Findologic are robust but built with simplicity in mind. Non-technical users are able to quickly make adjustments and test them to find out what works and stay flexible. 

Adopting searchandising into your ecommerce strategy will increase your chances of conversion, grow your profit margins, move inventory, and create an excellent shopping experience. 

Of course, searchandising is but one of many ecommerce site search best practices you can implement. If you want to learn improvements you can make to your search offering and get the most out of merchandising online, why not get in touch with Findologic today?

 

What is Composable Commerce and Why is it important?

What is Composable Commerce and Why is it important?

Marcel Krabath

What is Composable Commerce and Why is it important?

What is Composable Commerce and why is it important? 

This is your guide to a harmonious commerce experience.

No single vendor can offer a comprehensive one-size-fits all solution for your ecommerce site.

Building an ecosystem of best-of-breed ecommerce platforms is key for any online retailer that wants to smash their targets. 

Leveraging APIs to improve the transfer of data between the front and back end gives retailers more flexibility to create unique experiences for their customers. 

It’s not easy however. Creating a complex ecosystem with third-party providers that work in harmony with one another is a challenge. You have to think about supply chains, checkout, and the on site experience just to name a few. All within budget, in line with goals, and optimisation. 

However, it is the aim of this blog to talk a little bit more about composable commerce, what it is, and how you can strive to build a smart ecosystem 

In this article, we’ll look at the top four technologies that make the blueprint for composable commerce, that you absolutely should consider deploying high performance APIs to supercharge success, including:

  • How to leverage APIs end-to-end and offer an unbeatable customer experience
  • The top four API technologies you should consider to optimise end-to-end operations
  • How to utilise these technologies as part of a connected tech stack

But before that, let’s talk about composable commerce and what it is.

What is Composable Commerce?

Composable Commerce simply refers to integrating multiple ‘best-of-breed’ commerce solutions, as opposed to opting for a one-size-fits-all solution.

To give some examples, a retailer might opt for bespoke solutions for shipping, payments, product discovery, marketing, and more, that are ‘composed’ and integrated with one another to create an excellent shopping experience for the consumer.

How does it work? Rather than one-size-fits-all solutions, composable commerce leverages modern technologies and approaches such as MACH (Micorservices, API, Cloud, Headless), and JAMstack (Javascript, APIs, and Markup) to meet the needs of the market.

The fundamentals of Composable Commerce involve:

Centralisation of business gives retailers flexibility and allows them to make changes business models and create unique experiences without heavily relying on IT. 

Modular architecture supports organisational agility and allows for faster delivery, time to market, and improved experiences.

Open ecosystem allows retailers to benefit from third party applications, pre-composed solutions and best practices.  

Composble commerce involves a packaged approach to business solutions that aim towards future-proofing digital commerce. It achieves this by ‘composing’ packaged business capabilities (PBCs)

How is Composable Commerce Changing Commerce Experiences? 

In composable commerce, best-in-class technologies from a variety of vendors provide an excellent experience for the consumer.

A typical composable commerce stack might include services covering various capabilities such as Shopware for commerce, Huboo for shipping, Findologic for product discovery and search services, or checkout for – you guessed it – checkout!

 

What are the benefits of composable commerce?

Composable commerce has several benefits, including:

  • The ability to enable commerce experiences on any touchpoint
  • The ability to deliver highly differentiated commerce experiences to engage customers with your brand and products
  • Enabling highly personalised marketing automated campaigns, or commerce experiences with complex business requirements. 
  • Staying ahead of the competition with flexibility and speed needed to rapidly adjust to consumer or market demands.

From an IT perspective, composable commerce benefits include:

  • API-first headless structure without complexity and risk of being tied with a specific vendor, allowing for components to be adjusted as and when required
  • Responding quickly to changing business requirements
  • Increased efficiency and reduced maintenance costs

Now that we know more about composable commerce and its benefits, let’s break down how you might implement composable commerce by prioritising four different areas in your ecommerce experience:

  • Headless
  • Product Discovery and Search
  • Checkout
  • Shipping

Composable commerce visual

Leveraging headless systems

To start, let’s look at headless and what it means.

What is headless? Headless software can function with no graphical interface. Now, this might sound contradictory since computers are built by and for humans, and every computer has an interface, right? 

Of course, there is an admin interface at some point. But the core purpose of headless software is not the lack of a human-usable interface but the presence of a program-usable interface that taps into the functionalities of other software systems. 

Headless is developed API-first, meaning each system feature is first made available via an API. This means that it is capable of transferring data back and forth between a range of softwares without roadblocks.

 

Let’s look at an example to show the power of combining headless services: 

 

Traditionally, a web shop would be integrated with an ERP system, a payment provider, and a shipping provider. If you decouple this scenario into a composition of headless systems, each integration becomes independent from one another and ultimately more flexible as the web shop would be part of a wider network and can be adapted in isolation, rather than being part of the monolithic centre piece. 

Or perhaps a shop provides the basic logic for the basket, catalogue, and similar functionalities. The front-end is a PWA, but there’s also an integration with social media, marketplaces, and a POS system. Since the shop is headless, the interface is no longer tied to its codebase and is interchangeable

With the world becoming more integrated and interconnected every day, providing a headless solution is an important survival strategy for service providers.

At the same time, others providing their services as a headless solution is a prerequisite for success as a global community. Running a siloed, monolithic product is a surefire way to fall behind the competition.

Traditional vs Headless CMS

 

Prioritising Deployment

So, which areas should be optimised through an API integration first? Before answering this question, you need to have a future-proof API. That means you have to think about versioning and access control first. You don’t want systems using your API to break when deploying new versions or changing functionalities. 

Once this has been taken care of, you can focus on prioritising deployments. This depends heavily on the kind of retailer you are, but generally speaking, identify the most easily transferable areas to API access as well as which will have the biggest impact on your customers and prioritise these. 

Vendors are full of promises, including seamless integration and connectivity within existing tech stacks, but the reality is that usually, some unforeseen obstacles arise when integrating with a new technology, for example, swapping out the built-in product recommendations with a cloud service. 

So take a look at your business case, look for low-risk-high-reward areas, and start there. Once you have gained some experience, you can fully transition into the sector of modular, high-performance headless networks. 

 

Robust Headless Ecosystems for End-to End Optimisations 

 

Customers want consistency. 

They want to discover products, have a pain free checkout and reliable delivery. A great experience isn’t confined to the onsite intricacies but the end-to-end journey. 

The web shop is just the interface where all of this happens when your architecture is composed of headless services, you can get closer to your customer by leveraging gold-standard technologies. 

When decomposing your business logic into small, orchestrated parts, you can also re-think the customer journey, creating new touchpoints and optimising them depending on the scenario. 

Most businesses today have a fixed set of possibilities as they’re limited by their monolithic setup. After transitioning to being a modular, orchestrated system, you’ll be able to configure optimisations far more dynamically.

Each headless service you use is a company that specialises in one specific part of the customer journey and has more data, more resources, and more niche experience than retailers have internally. 

Let’s go back to the example of product recommendations in a web shop. A traditional shop knows its customers, what they bought, and the product catalogue. Using a recommendation service means the customer’s behaviour is matched to thousands of similar customers, with data from years before. 

This information is used to display recommendations that increase the chance of conversion. Because the service has such an expansive data set, it knows the customer better than an on-premise system ever could.

The same situation happens when thinking of a divided customer base. Let’s assume you are selling to customers in the B2B. space It’s the same product catalogue in the background but of course, with different demands to B2C. 

With an orchestrated, service-based system, you can swap out and tie different services together for each scenario. There are no design constraints and no need to build a new front-end presentation for each scenario from scratch.

Even though many retailers are transitioning to headless services, this advantage doesn’t fade away. With the opportunity to fine-tune and optimise the customer journey quickly, retailers have the tools to create supercharged experiences, rather than trying to move inside the constraints of a static system. 

Something online retailers need to keep in mind is that they will need a platform that ties all of their technologies together and leverages core functionalities such as a composer, that keeps all services in sync. 

When looking further into the customer journey, there will be a number of areas that can be optimised through technology partnerships so it is essential to work with a platform which can successfully support multiple integrations as a connected and harmonic ecosystem. 

Previously we touched upon prioritising the areas that will have the greatest impact, but are the simplest to integrate with. Three tried and tested solutions that fit this description and form a robust basis for any retailer looking to drive end-to-end optimisations include:

  • Product Discovery
  • Checkout
  • Fulfilment

To better. ourunderstanding of composable commerce, let’s look at the next piece of the puzzle – ecommerce site search.

Ecommerce Site Search and Product Discovery

Non-existent, outdated or underperforming tech stacks or solutions directly affect sales and loyalty. 

Yet 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. 

All too often we see established brands relying on their strong acquisition strategies and brand name, but this complacency is costing them. 

Products often overwhelm online shoppers. If they struggle to find their desired products, shoppers will abandon their search and your chances of conversion are ruined. 

Product discovery is at the epicentre of a shoppers path to purchase. Connecting your shoppers with the products they want and ensuring a seamless journey has its benefits including: 

  • Increased conversion
  • Increased order value
  • Reduced touchpoints
  • Decrease bounce rates
  • Improve retention and loyalty
  • Enhance brand perception

If a shopper can’t find it, they can’t buy it By deploying a range of features that are engaged from the very first interaction with the search bar, through navigation and refinement, and on to the product pages, retailers are able to benefit from: 

Search Logic – Employ various search logics such as synonym and typo management to avoid dead-ends and ensure accurate results 

First Click Interaction Display products, recommendations and adverts from the very first interaction with the search bar 

A.I. Driven Capabilities – Deploy A.I. to understand user intent and relieve navigational burden to deliver relevant products 

Personalisation – Personalise recommendations and results 

Merchandising – Utilise merchandising and adverts to increase product visibility and modify hierarchs in line with business goals 

Filters and Guides – Configure relevant filters or guided shopping for intentional refinement 

Mobile UX – Ensure a mobile-friendly interface that supports the contrasting flow states

 

Ecommerce site search mapping 

Use Cases 

If you leverage your analytics, you’ll be able to identify high severity pain points and trends within product discovery that are impacting conversion. The most common issues product discovery can resolve include: 

1. Short Tail Searches 

Almost 60% of search queries are vague and consist of 1 or 2 words. So, if a shopper searches for ‘green dress’ for example, there is likely to be a high volume of very generic results in line with the generic search term.

By effectively integrating specific features into search and navigation retailers are able to alleviate shoppers of burden. 

Rather than search for what may feel like a needle in a haystack, by using a combination of features (which we will detail later on in this report), retailers are able to drill down into the products that visitors actually want to purchase. 

There are several ways that by integrating with product discovery, retailers are able to derive value from short tail searches and make the lives of their customers easier. 

By employing A.I. that drills down into user data, retailers are able to relieve shoppers of navigational burden. This is because the A.I. is able to understand user intent by gathering session data and presenting shoppers with products that correlate to this. 

Another way e-com teams can ensure more intentional results when search terms are vague is by offering relevant and intuitive refinement options by configuring results specific to the search.

If we take a look at lingerie retailer, Pour Moi, we can see that they have implemented both A.I. and relevant navigational capabilities which make sense of vague search terms. By connecting users with relevant products that they are more likely to buy, they saw an 11% increase in conversion and a 10% increase in average order value.

 

2. A high volume of clicks and/or eventual abandonment 

The logic that underpins search is often weak, meaning that shoppers have a hard time sourcing what they’re looking for and are forced to either jump around from page to page, or in the worst cases, abandon their search altogether. The frustration involved in the overall product search experience can lead to a 68% abandonment rate according to Forrester.

Your online store should be consistently working behind the scenes in order to avoid pain points. Common issues include not correcting typos made by the shopper or not recognising a synonym. 

Regardless of the search query, as a retailer, it is your responsibility to always provide a next step within the customer journey.

So, for example, if a user searches for a ‘blow dryer’ instead of a ‘hair dryer’, you’re still able to return results or recommendations that ultimately lead to a purchase. This is a simple fix that can be achieved using a product discovery platform.

Continuously collecting search data and harnessing this to update your typo or synonym library avoids on-site error. 

With intelligent logic working in the background, Kitlocker.com saw a 12% decrease in exit rate as a result of reduced navigation frustration.

 

3. Mobile UX 

If you delve into your conversion rates, you’ll likely notice that desktop trumps mobile. On average, desktop conversion is 3.9% – more than double the 1.8% average rate for smartphones, despite m-commerce contributing to one-third of all e-commerce shopping in the UK. 

The primary reason for this is that retailers replicate the desktop experience on mobile. And with a screen a fraction of the size, product discovery becomes cumbersome, with the inherent tension between elements. 

The first step is to simplify the entire interface to ensure that navigation is straightforward. Hiding out of use elements and focussing on integral touchpoints such as a minimalist assisted suggest with intelligent recommendations. 

Further features such as ever-present filters remain visible when you scroll or filter overlays that are collapsible ensure no distractions from the core purpose when not in use all contribute towards a pain-free mobile experience. 

In essence, deploying instinctive touchpoints is the key to success. In fact, replicating the familiar interface used by Google, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter creates a more subconscious experience. 

By deploying this, retailers are able to minimise discrepancies between the channels users interact with every day and create a more unconscious path to purchase.

In A/B testing Equip4work saw a 17% increase in conversion on mobile as well as a 5.7% increase in average order value and a 9% increase in returning customers through touchpoint optimisation when the aforementioned features were implemented.

 

Getting the Ball Rolling with APIs

As a retailer looking to upgrade their tech stack it is important that various technologies support one another and any new additions to not interfere with your existing ecosystem. 

APIs allow retailers to plugin to white-glove experiences like product discovery, while maintaining full control. Integrating a new API inline with your existing stack means that you can customise and control the integration to ensure it fits seamlessly. In addition, rather than processing data in one continuous flow between, with multiple roadblocks along the way, 

Findologic’s various APIs including Autocomplete, Search & Navigation JSON Response and A.I. Assistant will feed directly into other technologies.

 

Checkout 

How to leverage payments as part of your best-of-breed technology stack

The e-commerce sector is economically healthy and increasingly fit for the future. While consumers turned their spending power to digital in droves, e-commerce retailers were spurred to act.

Checkout

As more commerce shifts online, customers are expecting a seamless online experience throughout the entire interaction with your store – from finding the right products, engaging with customer support or being able to pay with their favourite payment method online.

But demand is a double-edged sword. New entrants are attracted to the market, which means increased competition. Even an established presence cannot be guaranteed forever, leaving no room for complacency. Around 80% of ecommerce merchants close their virtual doors for good each year. So, how do you make sure you are not one of them? 

Success or failure is dependent on many factors. Some, like price, quality, brand kudos, and the shopping experience are well known, and well resourced. Less understood is the importance of payments.

But businesses are increasingly turning their attention to the fact that a superior payment operation will be the way to secure ongoing growth. 

Here we look at how optimal checkout is fundamental to composable commerce, and how ecommerce merchants can optimise it to unlock growth.

Prioritising Payment Methods

Today’s digital shoppers expect to pay in the way they want; and might go somewhere else if they can’t; 56% of consumers say they have been permanently put off returning to a site because their preferred payment method was not available. 

But how do you know what the right payment method is? It largely depends where you are. Cards dominate e-commerce in the U.S, accounting for 75% of transactions; but in Germany, this is less than a quarter. Head to Asia and digital wallets are popular, leading the way in China, Indonesia and Thailand. It also depends who you’re selling to, with preferences varying by age and gender.

Make Payments easy

Today’s online shoppers are looking for a seamless experience. 52% of consumers say they have been permanently put off an e-commerce site by a complex checkout. One option to make it easier for them are prepopulated forms. These save a customer from inputting all their details again, while saved payment details further reduce the effort. 

Even better is to make sure that the checkout page resonates with your customers. Serving up a payment page in the wrong language or with the wrong currency is a pretty safe way of disappointing them. For example, 76% of Japanese consumers say they would not buy from a website that was not fully in Japanese throughout the payment experience. 

But local sensitivities are not the only concern. A payment page that looks completely different from the site you are buying from is jarring. So too one that is not optimised for the customer’s device. Any of these factors can be enough to turn them away

Improve authorization rates

Few things frustrate an online shopper more than having their payment declined when there is no good reason. In APAC, 21% of people say they would not try to buy a product again after a false decline. Worse still, 37% would go to a competitor instead. 

Meanwhile, in the U.S, U.K, Germany and France, e-commerce merchants lost $20 billion in sales in 2019 because of payments that should never have been rejected. Of this, $13 billion went to competitors. Higher security standards mean not 100% of this loss can be mitigated. But a significant amount of revenue could be salvaged by optimising authorisation rates. Merchants, however, need to have access to data in order to understand why payments are failing and make these insights.

Enter markets the right way: with data

With some things, merchants can ‘copy and paste’ their way into new markets. Other aspects, like payments, need a more nuanced approach. If you’re unable to navigate the local ecosystem and forge powerful partnerships, having the best product at the best price won’t matter. 

You will also need to analyse your customer’s payment behaviour in a granular way so that you can have intimate localised knowledge of their payments behavior. This can help inform everything from your pricing strategy, the payment methods you promote in specific markets and managing fraud and chargebacks.

From financial afterthought to driver of growth

Although payments may have been seen as an operational cost centre, a good payments strategy is increasingly being used as a lever of growth. And competitive advantages can be won or lost with payments. 

But therein lies the challenge for merchants. Where to start? Even if the appetite is there, few businesses have the internal resources to get to grips with these opportunities. The answer is to leave it to someone who knows how. If you have a clear idea of what you need going forward with your business, you will know what to look for in a partner that can transform payments from financial afterthought to driver of growth.

Checkout.com is a global payment solutions provider that helps leading brands drive more value from their digital payments. Purpose-built with performance, scalability and speed in mind, our modular payments platform is ideal for retail merchants looking to seamlessly integrate better payment solutions.

Supply Chain Management

It’s been almost impossible to miss the coverage of global supply chain pressures over the past few months. Displaced shipping containers, rising shipping costs, a shortage of drivers and packed warehouses have all contributed to what has been described as the ‘perfect storm’, especially prevalent during the sustained peak demand season. 

Supply chain management

Combine this with consumer expectations for expedited shipping options and optimising your supply chain to both mitigate pressures and deliver on your promises to customers firmly comes into focus and you’re presented with a challenge. 

Optimising your supply chain can take various forms. Taking a holistic approach to your complete supply chain will help you make marginal and impactful gains. 

Firstly, API-enabled integrations between online sales platforms and inventory management systems (IMS) creates fast flow early-stage order management. Real-time inventory management means that you’ll have instant visibility of stock levels across your full product range and marketplace suite so that you know exactly which products to replenish and the volume to which to do so.

This data also enables forward planning of inventory management so that you can be ahead of the curve for higher demand periods especially against the backdrop of logistical pressures.

Technology can also power clever geolocating of stock for efficient on-time delivery. By storing products across multiple fulfilment centres in various regions you can circumnavigate potential delays at borders and customs, and also lower the delivery cost to your customer resulting in more transactions.

Limiting friction between purchase and delivery where possible can help win new customers and ensure repeated custom. A well-oiled warehouse management system (WMS) can prove pivotal to success.

Then there’s physically getting your products in the hands of your customers. A full-stack supply chain solution increases your access to a global carrier network and broadens your last mile delivery choices.

Your choices will be dictated by what’s important to you and your customers. Whether that is speed, reliability, or eco-friendly options like EV fleets, access to a global carrier network via an integrated software platform gives you the best chance of meeting requirements with solutions.

 

Talking Technologies 

Full-stack fulfilment solutions help connect all the supply chain dots. A fully optimised supply chain is reliant on technologies talking to each other throughout the end-to-end journey. 

Full flow comes primarily from API enablement. Integrations between online stores & marketplaces and software driven fulfilment can happen fast and seamlessly to connect product listings, stock levels and locations straight into the order fulfilment process. 

This saves valuable time, creating efficiencies and happens behind the scenes without much in the way of human intervention. 

A full-stack fulfilment solution also talks to technologies powering last mile, making decisions based on logic to automatically select the best courier based on preferred delivery options and price points. 

Tech-driven supply chain optimisation sits right at the core of the wider ecommerce tech stack. Getting it right can affect real positive change in your e-commerce proposition, so look for a solution that connects the right channels with the right systems and carriers to increase your customer reach without the growing pains.

 

Who can benefit from supply chain optimisation? 

In short, all retailers can benefit from supply chain optimisation. The question for retailers is: what areas are your priorities for optimisation? Knowing this will help calibrate your focus on where technology can supercharge your performance and make the biggest impact. 

As an example, our friends at Huboo have been working with a client that supplies Covid test kits. They were experiencing a number of challenges in the supply chain, starting with the rapid scaling and spikey nature of demand, and the complex nature of their picking, packing, posting and returns process. 

Powered by Huboo’s full-stack fulfilment technology, they were able to connect their online store in minutes, ship in large volumes of kits at pace, work with a provider adept at complex fulfilment solutions and effectively handover the whole order process end-to-end through one platform.

This enabled rapid and sustained growth in fulfilled test kit orders, overcoming their challenges and ensuring a quick turnaround in test results.

 

What are the benefits? 

Retailers can reap many benefits from an optimised supply chain solution, but predominantly and frequently the main success metric is streamlining. Slickening the end-to-end through technology reduces manual task management, enhances forward-planning through better visibility, and increases customer delight and drives repeat business through a delivery framework that meets increasing customer expectations. 

These benefits have a two-fold impact on commercial performance. Growing the top line through repeat business and a better chance of referrals from your customer base, and protecting margins to help the bottom line with greater efficiencies driven through automation and effective planning. 

Reducing overheads and ongoing costs through a technology-driven approach means you can also allocate, should you choose to, more resources to growth and performance marketing channels to acquire new business. 

This streamlining can also result in an uplift in another significant component, time. Retailers from the small & mighty right the way through to your established enterprises can benefit from the time given back so that they can focus on the areas of the business that are growth enablers.

And to further propel growth, a winning global supply chain solution can position your brand into new territories quickly and impactfully without high associated activation and ongoing costs.

 

Final thoughts

So there you have it. A not-so-short guide on composable commerce and what we believe are the top three kinds of technologies that merchants should consider if they want to supercharge success. 

This might look deeply intricate and complicated, but when you break it down, you’re just looking at plugging API solutions that work harmoniously together to give you and your customers the very best result. 

To reiterate: composable commerce is increasingly popular and whether retailers know about the buzzword or not, they’re doing it. One-size-fits-all solutions are simply not adequate in keeping up with the demands of consumers and the challenges in. theglobal economy. That’s our position, anyway.

If you want to learn more about building a composable commerce ecosystem, and how you can convert your traffic into sales then be sure to speak with us today!

Ecommerce Site Search Best Practices with Examples

Ecommerce Site Search Best Practices with Examples

Marcel Krabath

Ecommerce Site Search Best Practices with Examples

Ecommerce Site Search Best Practices with Examples

A lot of people don’t know the value of ecommerce site search when it comes to converting browsers into buyers.

Many retailers treat onsite search as a necessity, and don’t recognise its potential as a powerful money maker. 

I’m writing here to change that.

You see, your shoppers use your site’s search function to find something they want. The smarter your search engine, the more likely your browsers will become buyers. 

But there’s more to search than the ability to provide accurate search results. That’s just the start. 

Search plays an essential role in the shopper’s relationship with your brand and their experience. They expect to be able to find what they’re looking for and navigate your site seamlessly.

Does your site meet the standards they expect? In this article we look at 14 ecommerce site search designs that have been proven to reduce bounce rates, boost conversion, and maximise sales.

What is Ecommerce Site Search?

Firstly, let’s look at what ecommerce site search is and why it’s so valuable.

Ecommerce site search allows web visitors to query your database and get answers to questions they might have about your products or services. 

The more optimised the search engine, browsers can find the information they’re searching for easier and faster.

Think of an ecommerce search engine as a shopping assistant. It is able to answer any question your shoppers might have, provide recommendations, and help guide them through the path to purchase.

In a very comprehensive study by Baymard Institute, shoppers fall into one of eight search categories:

  • Exact search: where the shopper knows the product they want (i.e. PlayStation 4)
  • Product type search: where the shopper looks for a product type rather than a specific brand or model (i.e. smart phone)
  • Symptom search: where the shopper looks for a solution to a problem rather than a specific product (weight loss pill)
  • Non-product search: where the shopper looks for information rather than a product (i.e. next day delivery)
  • Feature search: where the shopper looks for a specific product feature (i.e. leather jacket)
  • Thematic search: where the shopper includes thematic qualifiers liberally in their searches, (i.e. christmas gifts)
  • Compatibility search: where the users look for products compatible with another (i.e. iphone 13 case)
  • Slang, abbreviation, and symbol search (i.e. shades instead of sunglasses)

The best ecommerce site search engines can deliver on these types of searches, and help shoppers find exactly what they want to buy, or the information they’re looking for.

But the reality is that an estimated 42% of ecommerce sites are currently seriously lacking in their search capabilities. 

Why is site search so important in ecommerce?

Earlier on, I wrote that an ecommerce site search function is pretty much a digital shopping assistant, guiding the shopper to the product they’re looking for. 

 

When a shopper arrives on your site, they’ve effectively entered your store. When they engage with your search bar and enter their query, they’ve asked your shopping assistant a question. It’s up to the results they get, the quality of the results, and the overall experience that will make or break your relationship with them. 

What are the benefits of ecommerce site search

Your ecommerce site search tool is then one of the most important converting assets of your online store. We’ve found that conversion rates rise 20% with our clients.

Why? For a range of reasons, but ecommerce site search helps people what they’re looking for faster, personalises the shopping experience, empowers retailers with customer interest data, and more.

So why are so many ecommerce sites neglecting it?

At this point, you might be asking ‘does my site have the most comprehensive search user experience possible?’

In a nutshell, you want your search function to make your product and service easy to find, select, and purchase. 

Well, find out with our top tips for ecommerce site search best practices.

 1 Make sure site search is highly visible and large enough for queries

Your shoppers need to be able to find your site search function easily. It should stand out. Take a look at one of our customers, office retailer, Equip4Work, below.

Equip 4 Work has highly visible search

On Equip4Work’s site, we can see the search bar is front and centre. It is positioned right next to the brand’s logo. You can’t miss it.

There are several design elements to consider that will increase your search function visibility. Consider the position, style, and size of your search bar.

In terms of position, place the search field in the middle of the header, for aesthetic purposes while remaining prominent and easily discoverable.

In terms of search style, this will depend on your store and brand. But make sure you’re using contrasting elements that make the search field stand out.

In terms of size, this too depends on the type of store. The size of a company’s search bar can guide a user by nudging them towards various alternative search routes. For example, the fashion sector operates on a very visual level. As a result, they typically guide customers to navigate by category and reduce the size of their search bar. 

2. Autocomplete, and ‘did you mean’ correction

Autocompletion is integral to a seamless customer journey within search. Ultimately, the role of autocomplete isn’t to speed up the process, but rather support users in their search. 

Shoppers can’t be expected to know product names by default, how to spell names, or even what they’re looking for. Your search bar should be able to anticipate what the shopper is searching for and provide product or service suggestions before the user has even finished typing. 

Take a look at apparel brand and customer, Pour Moi’s autocomplete capabilities below:

Pour Moi Autocomplete

Pour Moi’s search tool offers relevant suggestions and image results related to the search term, despite the query not being typed out in full yet.

3. Eliminate dead ends 

If your shoppers has searched for a product or service that you do not provide, do not simply kill the experience with an empty “0 results” page. 

Your no results pages should give your shoppers the means to take another type of action on your site, and not simply tell them to try somewhere else. 

Take a look at this no results example from Pour Moi:

Pour Moi Dead End

Here, the no results page provides options for the browser to try and find other products that may or may not suit their needs. 

4. Make your search speak to your customers

Unless you do business in a specialised niche, you should avoid esoteric terms and industry jargon and build a search engine that speaks your customers’ language. 

If your shoppers are using generic terms, you should be using them too. Here’s Carrera Toys doing it right.

Carrera Toys simple search

5. Autocorrect

Make sure your site search function is built to tolerate errors on the user’s part, such as misspellings. 

As well as this, be sure that your search function is able to handle synonym search. Baymard reports 70% of ecommerce search engines can’t show useful results for synonym keywords for product-type queries. 

Make sure your site search is optimised to understand phonetic misspellings and typos so simple mistakes don’t return an empty results page. Using natural language processing can boost search effectiveness by enabling interpretation of a query’s intended meaning and helping to parse the meaning of long, complex search queries.

 6. Synonyms

Ensuring your search engine understands synonyms will help people find the products they’re looking for. In some search solutions, this is something you’ll need to add manually based on your needs; in others, these synonym libraries are built automatically using natural language processing (NLP).

Our favourite is the “hairdryer” vs “blowdryer” example.

Synonym search optimization is best done by including as many synonym keywords as possible in every one of your products’ metadata.

7. Collect analytics data for ecommerce search insights

A search bar doesn’t just have to be a means to an end for getting your shoppers from A to B. It has the capacity to be one of the most important KPI measurers on your website, telling you:

  • The terms your shoppers are typing
  • The results they’re being shown
  • How different segments of your audience interact with your search bar.
  • Queries with low CTR
  • Queries with “Next Page” clicks
  • Queries with no results

Site Search Analytics

Make sure your search is giving you these insights and use your findings to optimise your entire shopping experience.

8. Provide search access to more than your products only

Your shoppers might still be in the research phase of their search, so it is not always appropriate to show them product listings, but instead categories. Ensure your onsite search function provides the desired data such as category overviews, technical data, and other relevant resources. 

You should also include SKUs in search, making it as easy as possible for browsers wanting to find products and solve their problems, and navigate through your site. 

Jeweller Astley Clarke’s search allows users to toggle between different types of necklaces.

Astley Clarke Multiple Products

9. Provide advanced filtering and supplementary sorting options

Filtering allows your shoppers to search the way they want to search. Some might want to filter by values such as reviews, price, product type, category, and more. 

Your site search should be able to accommodate this method of search. Usability is key to the customer experience, and contributes to retention.

The Fish Society Ecommerce Site Search Filters

The Fish Society allows visitors to filter their products by preparation, sourcing, price, and other different options, so they can find an item that’s highly relevant to their needs as fast as possible. 

Sorting options are also very important. Some users might want to list in order of cost, for example. These shoppers can get to their desired product a lot faster through sorting options.

Sorting options might include:

  • Lowest price first
  • Highest price first
  • Highest rated
  • Most relevant
  • On sale
  • New products
  • You can change up the order of the sorting options based on which can provide the most revenue for your business.

 10. Don’t ignore metadata!

This goes for tags, titles, and meta descriptions you apply to your product listings. Be sure the terms your customers search are used in your listings. 

You might leverage the insights you get from your analytics. You could also use keyword research platforms such as keyword planner, SEMrush, or AHrefs. 

Kitlocker Ecommerce Site Search Synonym

Kitlocker makes sure all relevant products show up when a keyword or synonym is used. Here, you can see entering ‘bag’ produces different types of bags relevant to the search intent. 

11. Optimise for mobile

Delivering a seamless and intuitive mobile experience is key to engagement and a big part of m-commerce. 

If mobile users find it difficult or frustrating to interact with your search box, you’ll lose sales. 

Ikarus Design Ecommerce Site Search Mobile

Take a gander at home and furniture store Ikarus Design’s mobile search. It takes centre stage on their mobile site, and it’s intuitive to use in just a few taps.

12. Add images and ‘buy now’ calls to actions to your product listings

Poor visuals is all it takes to deter your shoppers from making a purchase. On the other side of the coin, sometimes a nudge in the right direction can be the difference between a bounce and a sale. Provide a call to action on product listing, to accelerate the path to purchase, and provide a simple, easy, one-stop shopping experience. 

Tropic Skincare Ecommerce Site Search Add to Cart

Skincare brand Tropic Skincare gets even more from their site search by empowering the shopper with calls to action on the product listings.

 13. Provide relevant product recommendations

As a shopping assistant, it is also up to your search function to provide a range of products relevant to the user. Take a look at Casey Furniture’s ‘Customers Also Bought’ section that gives shoppers some valuable suggestions.

 

14. Fine-tune your SEO with site search analytics

Your search analytics report should tell you what the most frequently searched terms are for particular products or services on your site. 

This’ll enable you to create content – be it landing pages, articles, or otherwise, that gives  shoppers answers to the questions they have, and points them towards your products as solutions. 

This targeted content will help you appear in organic search results for particular keywords, and also give your on site search function additional, highly related resources to draw from.

Choosing an Ecommerce Site Search Provider

 Now that you have 14 examples of just some of the best search examples, how can you begin to implement some of these best practices and start seeing the benefits?

 Well, all the examples above are actually Findologic users.

We believe at Findologic we are a premium on site search and navigation solution, offering:

  • Assisted search
  • One-click interaction
  • Relevancy
  • Merchandising
  • Campaigns
  • Analytics
  • Personalisation
  • Advanced filtering
  • Categorisation
  • Shopping guides
  • A.I. virtual assistant

That’s just us, though. Depending on the ecommerce site search tool you decide to invest in, make sure:

  • You place your search bar in a smart place that is useful for the shopper
  • Add relevant keywords to your product pages and make sure you’re using tags!
  • Include additional pages you want to show that are relevant to searches, such as articles, category pages, or gift guides.
  • Provide filtering for your customers to get from A to B faster
  • Regularly test your search function to make sure everything is running smoothly
  • Improve search results using data and analytics

Reporting your ecommerce site search performance

If you’re still unsure about whether your ecommerce site search is truly optimised for conversions or sales, just ask yourself these questions:

  • What are your shoppers looking for? How are they searching?
  • What are your bounce rates? 
  • What are your heatmaps showing?
  • What search terms are visitors using to find your products?
  • Are customers finding what they’re looking for easily?
  • How many people are using your search feature?
  • What is your conversion rate? How many are making a purchase after engaging the search feature? What is the exit rate?
  • What are the most popular filters?
  • How can you improve the searching function?

The search bar is a lot more than a path from A to B. It is an invaluable resource that tells you so much about your customers and their journey throughout your site. Experiment, see what works for you. We at Findologic would love to help you on your journey.

If you want higher conversion rates, you know what to do.

Speak to us today.

 

 

On site checklist for holiday season 2022

On site checklist for holiday season 2022

Marcel Krabath

On site checklist for holiday season 2022

On-site Checklist for Peak Season 2022: Everything you need to know

If you’re in ecommerce, you know that the holiday season is the biggest time of year for most retailers. But, don’t take it for granted. This year will not be like others.

Peak is a time of year where consumers are looking to buy, ready to be guided by brands that are vying for their attention and their wallets. Last year’s challenges were driven by supply chains. But 2022 is bringing a hodgepodge of complexities that brands must carefully navigate.

In 2022, there will be uncertainties caused by inflation, fuel costs, and average selling prices of goods and services, as well as supply chains challenges, that will all impact consumer buying. Online retailers are evolving to answer these challenges and are already working towards optimising their technology stacks, curating their offers, and planning their marketing strategies.

Ultimately, the shopper lies at the core of their focus, and the on site experience is critical to delivering an excellent customer journey that turns browsers into buyers. With that said, here is my 10-step checklist to help you assess your preparedness for the holiday madness.

 

1 – Prepare early

In our last guide, our friends at Blend Commerce and I wrote all about how Christmas is coming earlier than ever before for online retailers, with some preparing as early as late August! No, it’s not just that customers want presents wrapped earlier. There are a range of reasons a little too complex for the scope of this checklist, but to give a quick rundown:

  • Inflation has caused a panic and consumers want to get ahead of expected price hikes – deal or no deal.

  • There is incentive for advertisers to start their campaigns earlier: it allows them to bid at a lower cost-per-click due to less competition.

  • Retailers can begin to populate their email lists so that come November, they’ll have nurtured a two month long relationship with their prospective customers.

  • Supply chain: Consumers want to get their products while stocks last, whereas brands want to avoid stockouts and overages.

With many online retailers already launching their ecommerce strategies in full force, don’t give your competitors a two-month head start.

You are likely to lose your prospective customers for the remainder of the holiday season if you let them slip. Make sure that you’re capitalising on this early activity and that your site is optimised. If you haven’t get on it right away.

If you want to understand more about why the holiday season is starting early and what to do about it, be sure to check out the guide here!

 

2 – Make sure your tech stack is up to date and fit for purpose

For peak season, retailers often rely on the fact that their current on-site setup will allow them to achieve a significant uplift in KPIs compared to quieter seasons.

Reliance on peak season to generate sales without having a sound on-site experience diminishes the potential to meet and exceed organisational goals.

Non-existent, outdated or underperforming tech stacks or solutions directly affect sales and loyalty throughout the year, but this is only exacerbated in periods where demand spikes and the relative abandonment or conversion rates represent a huge chunk of your revenue.

To caveat this, while we frequently reference investment in your tech stack as a requisite for uplift, some third-party providers may pose a threat to operations if they are not resilient to increased requests, so consider this before peak season mania to avoid any downfalls.

 

3 – Make sure your site runs smoothly and quickly

32% of customers leave their favourite brands after a single bad customer experience.

Never take your customers’ loyalty for granted. Shoppers are only loyal to brands that make shopping an easy and seamless experience. All it takes is for one misstep to lose a customer.

If new customers face issues when on your online store, if it’s slow, if it’s hard to navigate, if there’s downtime – they will bounce and try their luck elsewhere.

A smooth website is critical for any shopping experience. But, during the peak season, your site needs to be able to handle surges in traffic, and a spike in end to end activity, from the first click to the payment process.

To borrow from Eric Peterson, Always Be Testing your site’s response to spikes in visits and traffic patterns, as well as page loading times and site speed (If it’s longer than 3 seconds, you’re looking at high bounce rates.) To improve and optimise your site speed quickly, revise image sizes and reduce redirects.

It’s also important to look at your third-party integrations. Be sure to test and make sure they can handle the load.

 

4 – Enhance your payments process

74% of customers would change brands if they find the purchasing process too challenging or confusing.

Don’t trip on the last hurdle! Cart abandonment is far more likely to occur if your checkout system is not simple or streamlined. Optimise your end to end shopping experience by ensuring your checkout page and payment processes load quickly and are efficient. Also be sure to include a range of payment options and a guest checkout option to drive customer satisfaction.

 

5 – Support your seasonal marketing campaigns with onsite optimisation

As touched upon, there’s a lot of competition this year and perhaps a more reclusive consumer thanks to the current economic climate.

This is why it’s so important to plan down to the finest details and to be strategic about what your customers see on your site, well ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Week. It’d be beyond the scope of this checklist to talk in depth about all the ways the onsite experience can support your marketing, so here are some important points.

Advanced merchandising lets you optimise product hierarchy or create campaigns lets you increase the visibility of a product or deal throughout the customer journey and control sales on a more granular level.

For example if you want to push a particular item with high profit margins, or surplus inventory, to an audience you know will be more likely to convert, you can do that through display adverts at multiple touchpoints and moving up the product listings.

If you took part in Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, analyse your sales data to see what went well. Use the information to make alterations to existing product layouts and product descriptions.

Plan ahead by creating a product schedule that allows you to plan when a product goes on sale and for what price. Doing so early gets you ahead of the game and lets you make slight tweaks rather than making it up off the cuff.  Be sure to instil urgency and seasonal relevance to your ad copy.

Also be sure to leverage the strength of the on site experience to populate your mailing lists and drive your email campaigns. It will allow you to engage with their audience with exclusive promotions in the weeks leading to black friday and cyber week.

Beyond email marketing, be sure to make use of SMS, and other channels while showcasing the holiday deals and bundles you know your audience will want to get their hands on. Give your audience a sneak peak to your customers and followers about what is coming in order to keep them excited and make them shop as soon as your offer is live.

On social media, be sure to jump on the hype train by piggybacking on Black Friday and Cyber Monday hashtags. On an omnichannel level, integrate your store with the social media platforms if you haven’t, and follow best practices when it comes to your ads, while circulating them in advance to collect subscribers, and to build excitement for your brand.

For a deep dive into on-site merchandising and marketing strategies, be sure to check out our guide here.

 

6 – Keep UX at the top of your mind, and don’t forget about search

Brick-and-mortar businesses might have more opportunities to be more human, or set ambience, but that doesn’t mean retailers can’t deliver a memorable experience online. It just takes some work. But if you can exceed customer expectations, and deliver a personalised journey, you will succeed.

Above all, make sure your shoppers are able to find the products they’re looking for. Remember that it all begins with search. If your search UX is unable to support their requirements, then you’ve failed at the first hurdle. We talk a lot about this in our latest guide to holiday season marketing, so be sure to check it out!

Based on the fact that so many users can’t even find their desired products, it is a retailer’s responsibility to make their journey fail-proof. Search is at the epicentre of a shopper’s path to purchase, so it is essential that it is made as seamless as possible. There is a plethora of features and predefined logic that you can implement that optimise search and navigation, but some callouts include:

  • Comprehensive Assisted Suggest: as soon as a user interacts with your search bar, you should begin to guide shoppers. Recommendations, previewed products and query suggestions all contribute towards a streamlined path to purchase.
  • Synonyms: synonyms allow for wider search coverage. For example, if a user searches for ‘blow dryer’ rather than ‘hair dryer’, they will always be presented with the full range of results. The same goes for typos – you should automatically handle typos and show relevant results and eliminate dead ends.
  • Filter Navigation: Universal, one-size-fits-all filters are frustrating, for example, if you sell trousers you can’t just apply the same filters as you would for a pair of earrings. Configure relevant filters for products so that shoppers can refine their search more intentionally.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and it is important to analyse your pain points to determine where your resource will be best spent.

Investing in your site’s design and user experience brings your brand to life, and engages your customer at each stage in the buyer journey, and improves their likelihood of being returning customers.

Picture this: you’ve launched a holiday sale on a variety of products; be sure to cross and up sell other items that your shoppers might like in addition to the product they are looking for. Product recommendations that align with your customer tastes and preferences provide powerful boosts to conversion rates and sales.

 

7 – Run unmissable promotions

Running holiday sales are a great way to generate buzz around your brand. You know it, and everybody else knows it. That’s why it can be hard to compete and attract new customers.

You need to run holiday-specific promotions that are creative and attractive to browsers. Be sure to leverage the right discounts for the right products.

Plenty of retailers will be offering 20% off, but how many will be offering ‘50% off for first-time buyers’, or ‘30% off if you buy more than 5 dresses?’ Use doorbuster discounts (up to 80%) to get your foot in the door with customers and use it as an opportunity to cross sell. Get creative with your offerings. But don’t forget to keep your bottom line at the top of your mind and don’t just go wild on discounts without a strategy.

Do also make sure your strategies include upsells and additional perks which could include:

  • Free holiday gift with purchase
  • Free gift wrapping with $50 order
  • Free shipping on Cyber Monday
  • Subscriber or insider-only items
  • Limited-time offerings
  • Buy two products, get one free

To take your community engagement to the next level, why not explore giveaways or contests? These could be run through social media, email, or on your site, and are a great way to amplify your brand.

Ultimately, black friday and cyber week are renowned for promotions, and customers know they’re going to get a discount. Just be sure that your offer is worth their time and money.

 

8 – Celebrate your customers to boost retention and loyalty

Customer loyalty is something that all brands should strive for. Black Friday and Cyber week provide a good opportunity for you to nurture your relationship with your existing customers and entice them to return.

Consider personalised incentives and exclusive offers such as early access to sales or deals for mailing list subscribers.

Loyalty programs tailored to your offerings can create a significant boost in sales. They’re easy to build, have member only perks, and increase engagement and interaction. It’s a great way to turn one-time shoppers into longhaul customers that are invested in your brand.

Earlier, I stressed the importance of engaging with your community. Make them feel valued and elevate their voice: highlight their glittering reviews in your newsletter, turn their posts into an Instagram story, share videos of them using your products. Call attention to their real stories and be approachable, showing you truly care about your customers.

 

9 – Unforgettable customer service

Great value lies not only in your products, but also in your customer service which your on site experience needs to reflect.. You need to be transparent, and ensure your contact information is easily accessible, and if possible, provide 24/7 support so your shoppers aren’t waiting hours to have their queries resolved.

This holiday season, you’re going to get more returns than the rest of the year, on average. So, it’s important to have a returns policy in place for what to do should an order become lost, stolen, or damaged. Importantly, make it hassle free. A negative returns experience can be the difference between a customer simply returning a product, and one simply deciding never to buy from you again.

 

10 – Optimise for mobile!

M-commerce doesn’t always feature high on the retailer’s corporate agenda despite the fact Google favours mobile-friendly websites and mobile shoppers are spending 20 times more than website shoppers.

Replicating the desktop experience on mobile is bad practice, yet again and again, retailers cram all of the same elements into a screen that is a fraction of the size. The result? A cumbersome, difficult to navigate shopping experience. By deploying mobile-specific features, retailers are able to dramatically increase mobile sales – with UK mobile sales expected to generate £79.81B in 2022, it’s all to fight for. Recommended mobile features include:

  • Everpresent filters, that are conveniently accessible as the user scrolls
  • Collapsible overlays, which maximise the screen space and remain hidden when not in use
  • Simplified assisted suggests, reducing the tension between elements such as images and text and background layers
  • Voice search for intuitive, easy use

Another mobile strategy well worth consideration is replicating the familiar interface used by Google, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to create a more subconscious experience. By deploying this, retailers are able to:

Minimise discrepancies between the channels users interact with every day

  • Provide a more instinctive and unconscious path to purchase
  • Deploy instant touchpoints
  • Engage dynamic and conversational navigation based on unique user requirements

 

Final thoughts 

In 2022, the holiday season will be different: It will begin earlier than ever before; it will end later than ever before, and this period of activity is going to be very competitive.

This presents a problem, because the consumer is going to be squeezed by inflation, fuel prices, and more, which means persuading them to become a customer is going to be a lot harder.

On top of that, you, yourself also have to deal with the impact of fuel and energy on fulfilment, inflation on average selling prices, as well as the supply chain on inventory. There could be a lot of headaches. However, take this checklist, post it somewhere, and remind yourself of the essentials for this coming holiday. If there are five key lessons, remember them well:

  • Prepare early. Now is better.
  • Optimise your tech stack.
  • Prioritise customer experience – especially search and merchandising.
  • Prepare and schedule your promotions and campaigns.
  • Make use of automation

To learn more about the issues highlighted in this checklist, check out our full length guide on the subject here, or contact us now!

 

 

 

New feature: Add multiple recipients for import failed

New feature: Add multiple recipients for import failed

Marcel Krabath

New feature: Add multiple recipients for import failed

Mit dem Klick auf das Video werden durch den mit uns gemeinsam Verantwortlichen YouTube [Google Ireland Limited, Irland] das Video abgespielt, auf Ihrem Endgerät Skripte geladen, Cookies gespeichert und personenbezogene Daten erfasst. Damit kann YouTube / Google Aktivitäten im Internet verfolgen und Werbung zielgruppengerecht ausspielen. Es erfolgt eine Datenübermittlung in die USA, diese verfügt über keinen EU-konformen Datenschutz. Weitere Informationen.
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Learn more about our latest feature „Add multiple recipients for import failed“: 

To help you react more quickly to errors in your data export, we have introduced a new function in our customer account. This function automatically informs you by email about an error and allows you to react immediately. The notifications are sent to the e-mail addresses defined in the Findologic account. You can change the address in the account or add additional recipients.

In our documentation „Frequent errors in the import/export process and how to handle them“ you will also find more information on the most common export errors and how to solve them.

Our existing monitoring system will of course continue to notify us internally if an error in the data reconciliation should require our intervention.

Hint from our Findologic experts: Shop owners should always enter at least one email address for notifications in order to ensure a flawless process.

Marcel Krabath

Marcel Krabath

Marcel is Operations Manager at FINDOLOGIC. He ensures that international processes run smoothly and are continuously developed. Sitting at the centre of the company, he coordinates daily processes between the Marketing, Sales & Office Management and guarantees the success of partnerships with technology partners and ecommerce agencies. Working towards the continuous improvement of business operations, Marcel also ensures the efficient and smooth running of the business in line with business goals.

New feature: Search Insights

New feature: Search Insights

Marcel Krabath

New feature: Search Insights

Mit dem Klick auf das Video werden durch den mit uns gemeinsam Verantwortlichen YouTube [Google Ireland Limited, Irland] das Video abgespielt, auf Ihrem Endgerät Skripte geladen, Cookies gespeichert und personenbezogene Daten erfasst. Damit kann YouTube / Google Aktivitäten im Internet verfolgen und Werbung zielgruppengerecht ausspielen. Es erfolgt eine Datenübermittlung in die USA, diese verfügt über keinen EU-konformen Datenschutz. Weitere Informationen.
PGlmcmFtZSB0aXRsZT0iSW50cm9kdWNpbmcgU2VhcmNoIEluc2lnaHRzIPCfmoAiIHdpZHRoPSIxMDgwIiBoZWlnaHQ9IjYwOCIgc3JjPSJodHRwczovL3d3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbS9lbWJlZC9mU05CTHFZQ3MtMD9mZWF0dXJlPW9lbWJlZCIgIGFsbG93PSJhY2NlbGVyb21ldGVyOyBhdXRvcGxheTsgY2xpcGJvYXJkLXdyaXRlOyBlbmNyeXB0ZWQtbWVkaWE7IGd5cm9zY29wZTsgcGljdHVyZS1pbi1waWN0dXJlIiBhbGxvd2Z1bGxzY3JlZW4+PC9pZnJhbWU+

Learn more about our latest feature „Search Insights“: 

Search Insights helps our customers to debug search results and product listings on category pages on thier own. This helps them to understand the technology better and saves them a lot of time. Now Findologic customers are able to see in detail why certain products are found and shown based on specific search terms or categories. (so it works for product listings in search and navigation). They can add different parameters like user groups or sort parameters to the search request to see specific search results based on those parameters. All available data that is being exported for a certain product is shown in the Search Insghts interface – this helps our customers/agencies to optimize the whole user experience by optimizing their data based on this data analysis.

Hint from our Findologic experts: Shop Owners should – as always – focus on the Top Search Queries when doing their analysis proactively

Marcel Krabath

Marcel Krabath

Marcel is Operations Manager at FINDOLOGIC. He ensures that international processes run smoothly and are continuously developed. Sitting at the centre of the company, he coordinates daily processes between the Marketing, Sales & Office Management and guarantees the success of partnerships with technology partners and ecommerce agencies. Working towards the continuous improvement of business operations, Marcel also ensures the efficient and smooth running of the business in line with business goals.

Datenschutzinformation
Der datenschutzrechtliche Verantwortliche (Findologic GmbH, Österreich) würde gerne mit folgenden Diensten Ihre personenbezogenen Daten verarbeiten. Dies ist für die Nutzung der Website nicht notwendig, ermöglicht aber eine noch engere Interaktion mit Ihnen. Falls gewünscht, treffen Sie bitte eine Auswahl: