According to Mercator, searchandising is the contraction of Search and Merchandising. It’s a method that aims to guide Internet users’ pathways through a merchant site (merchandising) while allowing them a free rein (search). In other words, searchandising is a pretty term that combines search engines and merchandising rules.
It’s an approach that aims to help Internet users in their browsing, to work with them, and to guide them in their quest for the Holy Grail: the search! In this article, we will discuss the best practices to adopt for the search. A second article will follow to address optimization of the search engine by way of e-merchandising.
Quite obviously, the internal search engine has a catalyzer role in conversion. Studies conducted by Antidot in 2015, estimated that the average transformation rate for “seekers” was of the order of 8% as compared with that of “casual browsers” which is closer to 1%.
Another tantalizing bit of data, Sparkow estimates that search can represent up to 30% of your site’s sales revenues. Let’s note that for 96% of visitors, the search function is considered as very important in their purchase process even if in fact, “only” 30% of visitors start their purchase pathway with a search. Keep in mind that half of all purchase pathways incorporate the search engine in their visits (webmarketing and FEVAD figures).
In fact, search is an inevitable step on certain sites (let he who has never used the imposing Amazon search engine throw the first stone!). It must be present, if not to say omnipresent.
1- Be omnipresent and incite search
The position of the search bar can be the subject of crucial debate. Should it be above or below the logo and/or the menu? What width, what height should it have on the page? What color should the magnifying glass or CTA be? In the end run, it doesn’t matter what the search bar looks like, as long as it’s visible.
And beyond being impossible-to-miss, it is recommended that it always be available for the browser. I invite you to take a look at the Cdiscount site: scroll as you like, the search bar will constantly follow you.
In a playful but just as effective manner, it’s possible to slip a little phrase within the bar to incite entering a search. Birchbox does this quite well and also suggests inputs when the bar is clicked, a very relevant and effective function from the user’s and the business’s perspective.
2- Guide the user
Making a search engine available to visitors is good but ensuring that they find what they’re looking for is even better! And that can be done in different ways.
Either you let the users key in their request and enter, which (let’s hope) takes them to a list page offering the corresponding products. Or you can suggest results before they even hit enter! This is what’s known as “auto-completion” or then again “auto-suggestion”. So, after having typed in only several letters, you suggest top requests (at a minimum), products (based on your business imperatives), product categories or even content to your visitors! This practice is tried and true. Know that Internet users who use auto-completion transform 6 times more than searchers who do not use it.
Organize your search results! Regardless of the type of products, services, stores, tips, prices, or even product sheets, it is important to structure the results within the search engine. In fact, nothing could be worse than finding yourself confronted with an endless list of results with no rhyme or reason. Hodge-podge results will only serve to lose your customer. Finally, don’t forget that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s a good idea to illustrate a highlighted product by pulling up its picture, an indispensable option in sectors such as ready-to-wear, jewelry, or decoration.
Claudie Pierlot Site
There is however an alternative to auto-suggestion.
The principle is the same: suggest results even before the search is entered. The difference is that the manner in which they are suggested is more direct. In fact, with each character input, the results page is instantly refined. Test this out on the Arc’Teryx or Jadopado sites. It’s really quite fun.
3- Stay with the user on the results page
Above all, keep two things in mind:
1. remind the user of the search terms Not that your customers suffer from Alzheimer’s but to show them that you conducted the search based on their request.
2. allow the users to sort and/or filter the results.
– sort: to help them to organize and rank the results as they want (at best, allow the Internet users to sort by price, relevance, and by new products).
– filter: to help them to refine the results and in so doing, facilitate the search.
Ideally, the filters will be static. Which means they will not move by one iota, regardless of where you are on the page. Test this out on Pull&Bear if you want to see what this looks like.
It goes without saying that the filters are appropriate to the suggested products. (Sleeve length really doesn’t matter when you’re choosing a pair of jeans, wouldn’t you agree?)
4- Promote the product offer
The search pages also need to be coordinated. There’s nothing better than a banner or a list page push to relay promotional events, new products, advice, or a services reminder. Leroy Merlin does this very well and doesn’t hesitate to slip banners or pushes with links to tutorials, videos, inspirational slide shows, and more.
Further, think about “end-aisle” displays in the list pages that can be relayed with larger product pictures or be identified with favorites. (I’ll cite Bizzbee and Grain de malice as examples.) This draws the eye and highlights your products.
Claudie Pierlot Site
5- Hold on to the customer
There’s nothing more frustrating for the searcher that to land on a results page that says “Sorry, there are no results for your search request”.
A tip: banish “zero result” from your vocabulary. Track the searches that don’t lead to results and kill them without mercy! Set a zero results 0% objective if you have to.
In the interim, rework this page! Offer alternatives to your visitors either with similar requests or product suggestions. Invite them to discover your collection with entries by categories (new products, collections, promotional offers, etc.). Or better yet, icing on the cake, reinsert the search function on your page and invite the browsers to reiterate their searches.
Claudie Pierlot Site
Claudie Pierlot Site
If you’re still not convinced of the need to attend to your search engine, here are some data to change your mind:
– Over 63% of e-buyers cannot quickly find the products they’re interested in
-7 out of 10 people estimate that search engines on merchant sites can be improved