As a follow-up to the article concerning best practices for search engines, this second article addresses e-merchandising, a performance lever for your results pages.
We will see that e-merchandising in the service of search is based on four distinct pillars and that it requires real advance parameter-setting work before bringing added value to your business.
45% of Internet users will abandon a site if they don’t immediately find the right product (Antidote 2015 study).
In fact, few users will conduct a second search immediately after the first! What could be more frustrating than to find yourself in front of that ugly little phrase, “no results found”?
To avoid your customers this type of frustration – which invariably leads them to leave your site – I invite you to work on your thesaurus, by which I mean, your “library” of synonyms, redirections or yet again, exclusions.
The indexation perimeter defines all the attributes taken into consideration by the search engine for a given search request. It tells the engine where to look for a correspondence for the input keyword. This correspondence can be the product name, its description, or yet again, the product characteristics (color, size, weight, fabric, etc.), customer reviews, price, etc.
The site’s product sheets and product categories are quite obviously the pages to index as a priority. As a result, think to use a lexical field in your product descriptions that’s adapted to your Internet users’ searches. This will reduce the work on synonyms!
To the contrary, there is no interest in having certain of your site’s pages included in the search as they pollute the search results. That’s the case for legal notices, general terms of sale, corporate pages, etc. That’s not to say that you should neglect these pages which can be the subject for a redirection or searches for “terms of sale” or “returns”.
Simply remember that to be as relevant as possible, it is recommended that the indexation perimeter be as small as possible.
We’ve observed that 73% of visitors leave an e-commerce site after 2 minutes if they don’t find what they’re looking for.
Just like your classic list pages, the results list pages must have the benefit of well-thought merchandising!
As yourself the right questions: what are my objectives? Do you want to reduce stock? Highlight the new collection? Generate sales revenues with no concern for the margin?
The answer to these questions will guide you on the manner in which you rank (or organize) your offer, whether by relevance, category best-sellers, quantities sold in the prior month, margin rate, or by new products.
Finally, put chance on your side by pulling up products that are the likeliest to transform.
Products on the bottom of a page are seen on average by only 30% of Internet users. So relegate the losers to the bottom of the list page unless there’s a good reason to highlight them!
Concentrate your efforts on analysis and compare the purchase paths of Internet users who used the internal search engine at least once vs. the non-users.
Observe how long a search engine user spends on your site: usually, it’s much longer than a non-user. (Which gives you that much more time to convince them and finalize the sale!).
A “seeker” will consult 7 to 12 more pages (list pages and product sheets) than a “casual browser”.
Also analyze performance on the most frequent searches, for instance, the 20% that contribute 80% to your business. Follow the transformation rates, sales revenues, average purchases and the number of completed orders.
Don’t forget to track the exit rate: a high exit rate on a search request indicates that the results given were deemed irrelevant by the customer.
Also track the most-used as well as the least-used facets.
As yourself whether you should create a new tree node with the most requested facets or to the contrary, eliminate useless facets.
Finally, analyze the impact of your actions. Analyze your changes and optimize the ranking rules if necessary.
I invite you to read the following article by Alice Candidat on that subject “lWeb Analyse: the key to successful e-merchandising”
Still not convinced of the usefulness of a search engine? Just remember this last figure: a search engine user converts between 4 and 6 times more than others on an e-commerce site. Enough for you to ask yourself if your searchandising solution is best suited to your business.