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?

 

Tipps zur optimierten Nutzung Ihrer Onsite Suchfunktion

Tipps zur optimierten Nutzung Ihrer Onsite Suchfunktion

Tipps zur optimierten Nutzung Ihrer Onsite Suchfunktion

Tipps & Tricks zur optimierten Nutzung Ihrer Onsite Suchfunktion

“Wie konfiguriere ich die Merchandising Features am besten, um meine Abverkaufssteuerung zu optimieren?”
“Was ist der Unterschied zwischen Product Placements und Pushen von Produkten?”
“Wie kann ich die Interaktionen meiner User mit der Suche am besten analysieren?”

Meine lange Erfahrung und Leitung von vielerlei Produktschulungen und Webinaren ermöglicht es mir, Ihnen eine exklusive Summary zur Kernfrage “Wie kann ich das volle Potential einer intelligenten Suchfunktion nutzen?” zu erstellen.

Sollten Sie darüber hinaus noch weitere Fragen haben, stehe ich Ihnen, sowie mein gesamtes technisches Support-Team unter support@findologic.com jederzeit gerne zur Verfügung.

Das Produktlisting sinnvoll beeinflussen

Das Produktlisting sinnvoll beeinflussen heißt entweder automatische Push- und Bonusregeln im Feed smart zu hinterlegen, oder punktuell innerhalb eines schlanken Backends selbst Einstellungen vorzunehmen.

Meine Top 3:

1. Product Placements

Setzen Sie Product Placements ein um einzelne Produkte direkt am oberen Ende des Produktlistings zu platzieren. Nutzen Sie dieses Feature um Produkte aus Offline-Marketing Kampagnen prominent zu präsentieren oder ganz besonders margenträchtige Produkte zu pushen.

Tipp: Product Placements sind entweder an eine Kategorie oder an Suchbegriffe gebunden. Analysieren Sie zum optimalen Einsatz auch die beliebtesten Suchbegriffe in Ihrem Shop.

2. Push-Regeln

Über die Push-Regeln boosten Sie ganze Produktgruppen über bestimmte Attribute. Nutzen Sie dieses Feature um Kategorien, Hersteller oder Sales-Produkte zu pushen.

Tipp: Nutzen Sie die unterschiedlichen Gewichtungen, um die Suchergebnisse noch granularer zu beeinflussen.

Der ausgewählte Bonuswert fließt dynamisch in die Relevanzberechnung der einzelnen Produkte ein. Im Gegensatz dazu bestimmen Sie bei den Product Placements die Reihenfolge der ausgewählten Artikel über die IDs direkt.

3. Search Concepts

Mit diesem Feature schränken Sie die Produkte im Ergebnis auf bestimmte Attribute ein. Dieses Feature ist genau wie die Product Placements an bestimmte Suchbegriffe gebunden. Nutzen Sie dieses Feature, um Ihren Usern nur Produkte aus bestimmten Kategorien oder von bestimmten Herstellern zu zeigen – und so schneller zum passenden Produkt zu führen.

Tip: Search Concepts stellen das wohl mächtige Feature dar, um Ihre Listings zu beeinflussen. Durchdenken Sie auch kategorieübergreifende Regeln mit unseren Experten und unseren Handlungsempfehlungen.

Lassen Sie Ihre User & Ihre Daten sprechen

WARUM drehen Sie bestimmten Stellschrauben? Auf welcher Basis treffen Sie Ihre Entscheidungen zur Optimierung Ihres Online-Shops?

Aus meiner Sicht kann es nur eine vernünftige Grundlage geben – und das sind Ihre User. Um das Verhalten Ihrer User in Ihrem Online-Shop analysieren zu können, empfehle ich Ihnen eine der zahlreichen Tracking-Optionen zu nutzen. Das Ecommerce Tracking über Google Analytics bietet hierzu eine gut handlebare & solide Basis für Jedermann.
Tipp: Denken Sie im nächsten Schritt auch gleich an Ihre Abverkaufssteuerungen und hinterlegen Sie das Tracking hierzu ebenfalls.

Top Queries

Werfen Sie einen Blick auf Ihre Top Suchanfragen und auf Ihre No-Result Anfragen. Optimieren Sie die Produktlistings für Ihre Top Suchanfragen unter Verwendung der Merchandising Features mit besonderem Augenmerk. Hier liegt wahrscheinlich mehr als 50% Ihres Umsatz.
Tipp: Setzen Sie klare Call-To-Action für Ihre No-Result Anfragen. Konfigurieren Sie beispielsweise eine Landingpage, um Ihren Usern alternative Angebote zu offerieren.

Smart Suggest tracken

Klicken Ihre User direkt auf die Produktvorschläge? Oder nutzen sie die Suchwortvorschläge? Werden Herstellervorschläge oder Kategorievorschläge bei Ihren Usern gut angenommen?
Tipp: Aufbauend auf diesen Informationen können Sie in Ihrem Kundenaccount direkt Einfluss auf das UI und somit auch die UX nehmen. Blenden Sie die einzelnen Boxen ein und aus oder passen Sie die farbliche Gestaltung mit ein paar Klicks an.

Merchandising Features tracken

Tracken Sie unbedingt auch die Nutzung der von Ihnen konfigurierten Merchandising Features. Wie oft werden Promotions angeklickt? Wie oft führt ein Product Placement zu einer tatsächlichn Conversion? Diese Informationen sollten Sie verwenden, um zukünftige Kampagnen noch gezielter abstimmen zu können.

Filter tracken

Mit welchen Filtern interagieren Ihre User? Positionieren Sie nach der Tracking Datenanalyse Ihre Filter neu: Oft verwendete Filter positionieren Sie an prominenter Position und kaum genutzte Filter blenden Sie aus, um mehr Platz für wichtigere Informationen zu haben.

Tipp: Gemeinsam mit den Auswertungen zu erzieltem Umsatz, bekommen Sie viele der getrackten Daten übersichtlich direkt in Ihrem Dashboard des neuen Kundenaccounts dargestellt. Informationen zur Einrichtung des Trackings finden Sie unter https://docs.findologic.com/doku.php?id=use_findologic_with_google_analytics.

Assisted Suggest

Diese komplett neue Variante unserer Smart Suggest wurde speziell für die Bedürfnisse von Desktop Usern entwickelt. Durch die vollständige Flexibilität im Design können die Produkte im Overlay viel attraktiver angeboten werden.
Tipp: Begeistern Sie ab der ersten Interaktion bei reinem Klick Ihre User mit Trending Products, beliebten Suchbegriffen oder die aktuellen Topsellern im Sinne von klassischen Recommendations.

Onsite Shopping Guide

Inspirieren Sie Ihre User auf deren Weg der Customer Journey. Egal ob auf Content- oder Produktdetailsseiten, der Smart Suggest oder Startseite – unterstützen Sie mit Ihrer Findologic Berater-Kampagne und bieten Sie ein unvergessliches Einkaufserlebnis. Ab sofort auch nativ auf Ihren Ergebnisseiten.

Tab Solution

In Ihrem Shop sollen nicht nur Produkte gefunden werden, sondern auch Content, Standorte, Jobs, oder Ansprechpartner? Mit der Tab Solution erhält Ihr User alle Ergebnisse in einzelnen Tabs sortiert ausgespielt. So kann beispielsweise zwischen Produkten und Content per Mausklick ganz einfach gewechselt werden.

Sie haben jetzt erst richtig Lust auf Verbesserung bekommen?
Ich freue mich von Ihnen zu hören, oder auf Ihren direkten Besuch bei einem unserer Onsite Suchexperten Zertifizierungen, siehe Details: https://www.findologic.com/services/onsite-suchexperte/.

Florian Niedermayr beschäftigt sich als Leiter des technischen Supports seit 4 Jahren täglich direkt mit den Wünschen unserer Kunden. Gleichzeitig ist er durch die Verantwortung über ein kleines Webentwickler-Team an vorderster Front, wenn es um die Implementierung der neuesten Innovationen bei ausgewählten Kunden geht. Seine Mission ist es neben der raschen Lösung von Kundenanfragen vor allem die optimale Schnittstelle zwischen den Kunden und der Produktentwicklung abzubilden.

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