The modern shopper wants to be able to find products anywhere and at any time. It’s for this reason that having an omnichannel presence is a necessity for all eCommerce merchants, particularly as it can work wonders for product discovery.
Put simply, product discovery is the way in which consumers find and engage with your products. When done right, each shopper in your target groups will see relevant products at the right moment. So how can you make this a reality? In this article, we’ll delve into the ways that you can enhance product discovery for your omnichannel Shopify store. But first, let’s take a look at product discovery in the context of the omnichannel shopper.
Product Discovery Is Everywhere
Did you know that consumers on average use up to four touchpoints with a brand before making a purchase decision? That’s at least four opportunities for shoppers to encounter and interact with your products! Your Shopify store is of course an obvious touchpoint, but there are a number of other channels that your potential customers lean on whilst in the search phase of their shopping journey.
Social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and TikTok are fast becoming important for discovering and learning about new products. This is particularly true for Millennials and Gen Z with 57% and 55% of them agreeing that social platforms are a better place to find out about a new product than online search, respectively.
Consumers are also turning to people who are reliable experts in a product field for inspiration. A study by Mckinsey found that 41% of shoppers rely on influencers and bloggers for purchase ideas.
Search engines do, however, continue to be the number one source for product discovery among all internet users, with 35% of consumers aged 16-64 turning to search engines to find new brands.
It’d also be amiss to go without mentioning mobile commerce as this is no new feat. It makes sense that smartphones and tablets are key tools for product discovery. In fact, 61% of the consumers are more likely to use their mobile devices for browsing and new product ideas than for making a specific purchase. This makes having a well-designed mobile commerce strategy with product discovery at the front of your mind even more crucial.
Effective product discovery removes the friction between search and purchase for shoppers which means your chances of achieving a sale can skyrocket. Additionally, to be truly omnichannel you need to display the right products wherever the customers are. These product discovery experiences need to be unified across the different channels your customers are using if you are an omnichannel retailer. So, let’s get into some handy tips for optimizing product discovery for your omnichannel store.
Tips to Optimize Product Discovery for Omnichannel on Shopify
Make browsing on your website simple
According to Retail Touchpoints, only half of consumers go onto a brand’s website with a specific product in mind. That means there is a healthy portion of visitors who need a helping hand in being led to products that may pique their interest on your site. Fail to make it easy to find products in your store, then you can say goodbye to 54% of shoppers.
To lighten the load on consumers that land on your site scratching their heads about what type of product is for them, add a Best Sellers menu item to your homepage. This can be done manually as explained below, or using an AI-powered app which we will get into later.
Red Dress gives its visitors tons of non-product category-specific menu options which work well for new and returning shoppers.
On your admin page go to products > collections and create a new collection. Give the new collection a name like Best Sellers or Most Popular. Under collection type, select automated so this page can be periodically refreshed to reflect what items are selling best in your store. Then set the following conditions:
- Products much match: All conditions
- Product price is: Greater than: 0
- Inventory stock is: greater than: 0
You can add additional conditions, like only showing best sellers in a particular product category, for example. Next, set the order to best selling and save. Now, we can add this collection to your menu. Under online store, go to navigation then click on the main menu. From here select add a new menu item and type the desired name for this menu item. When you click on the link section, then collection, and finally choose the collection you just made.
If you want to limit the number of products shown on this page, you’ll need to do some quick code editing. From your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Themes. Find the theme you want to edit, and then click Actions > Edit code. In the Sections directory, click list-collections-template.liquid.
You can then add the following lines of code:
Make sure the collection title reflects what you name it and next to limit write the number of products you want to display.
You'll also want to hide the pagination. To do this, add the following code towards the end of the collection.liquid template, again ensuring that the collection title matches the one you made.
A New In page is also another great option to help consumers sift through your product inventory by finding the latest trends. This is particularly important for returning customers who are already familiar with your store as they can easily discover new products that they have not seen before.
This can be done manually by adding a “new” tag to recently added merchandise and creating a collection as detailed above but this time including a “new” tag as a condition. This, however, will require you to periodically remove the new tag from items, which could be a bit of a drag. To avoid this, there are apps such as Super Collections Sort & Create and Newr that can automate this process for you so that products are removed after a set amount of time.
Another handy way to make browsing less stressful for potential customers is to have a top-class search and filter app. Boost Product Filter & Search can go a long way in helping your customers find the right product for them with incredible ease.
Shopify merchants can create virtually any filter they deem relevant to their customer base such as Collections, Vendor, Product Options (e.g Color, Size), Tag, Rating, Price, Sale Off %, SKU, and Metafields. You can also merge relatively vague filter terms into one for a more intuitive experience. For example, if a customer wants to filter by color, rather than choosing from all the different shades of it that you’ve labeled products, they can instead be grouped into one color filter.
Wine comes in a variety of styles and colors. Rather than requiring customers to scroll through to find their desired wine type, Northern Brewer made custom filters to simplify the discovery process.
Searching via the search bar is also a piece of cake for shoppers thanks to this app. Boost Product Filter & Search comes armed with a search term autocomplete feature to bring search results as-you-type. Shoppers don’t even have to know your products inside and out to be able to quickly and effectively be presented with suitable options. You can create a pool of synonyms that can come right into action so different search terms produce the same results. Plus, popular search suggestions displayed alongside images, ratings, and price make product discovery a breeze.
Popular products, suggestions, and collections can quickly be seen without needing to complete your search term. (Source: Yummy Bazaar)
Utilize the power of AI for personalization
The shining star of an omnichannel strategy is the way it is able to equip e-merchants with a wealth of customer data that can be used to drive personalization. So why not put this data to good use to drive personalized product discovery?
Artificial intelligence tools can be leveraged to deliver the tailor-made discovery experiences consumers want, when they want it. Let’s take a look at some apps and tools that can help you supercharge the personalization process for omnichannel.
Wiser’s Personalized Recommendations can be added to your Shopify store to not only bring personalized recommendations to visitors to your site but also send emails with these unique recommendations. With the Related Products or You May Also Like feature you can show products that are similar to whatever the shopper is browsing, lengthening the discovery process. AI-based recommendations tap into visitors’ browsing history and analyze their browsing patterns to show relevant automated product suggestions. These can be displayed on your homepage, product pages, and even on checkout pages, integrating discovery throughout the shopping journey.
Product discovery can be given a further nudge with its ability to display top-selling and trending items.
Limespot Personalizer is an AI-powered personalization platform which provides unique experiences for customers across the web, mobile, emails, and ads.
Oliver + Piper uses Limespot to deliver real-time product recommendations giving a unique experience for each individual shopper.
This powerful tool analyzes your product attributes, the user’s behavior patterns, and global trends to provide real-time visitor-specific pages and recommendations. That includes recommendations based on recent purchases or views, the current product being looked at, and items in the cart. They can be shown on any page of your website and added as a link on your main menu. Limespot can also use its vast knowledge to show trending products to your customer, further easing the discovery process.
This hyper-personalized experience can be replicated in emails, mobile sites, and ads.
Jumper.ai can turn virtually any social media channel into a tailored product discovery encounter. The tool enables discovery on Facebook and Instagram via chat. A customer making an inquiry on messenger can instantly be shown a variety of products which suit their needs without needing to leave the app.
(Source: Jumper ai)
Fine-tune the mobile experience
With most research and discovery of new products taking place on mobile, it’s essential to make sure that all of your channels are optimized for mobile. This is automatically done on mobile apps and ads, so the focus here will be on your mobile website experience.
On mobile devices, you are working with a limited screen space which presents somewhat of a challenge in helping customers explore your website. All menu options can not be displayed neatly on one bar, so you’ll likely have to opt for a hamburger menu. A good tip here though is to not hide every menu item behind this icon. Instead, choose two to three popular pages to be shown on the top bar so shoppers can instantly access them.
You’ll also want to ensure that site search and filtering on mobile are optimized. This includes having a full-length search bar placed at the top of the screen with placeholder text, separating filter and sort, pinning filter and sort so they are always visible, and opting for a 2-column display for filter options.
Let others do the talking for you
Social media is a powerful vessel when it comes to consumers researching and discovering products. It takes more, however, than just having a social media page, ads or shoppable posts to really get your products in front of people's faces.
Customer-initiated discovery actually works best here as 71% of consumers prefer to find brands themselves with endorsements acting as a valuable tool to spark discovery. This is where user-generated content can really be your friend when it comes to optimizing product discovery on this channel.
To aid UGC you should encourage customers to share their experiences with your products using hashtags to make them searchable. Post-purchase, send an email incentivizing a social media review of what they purchased. Offering money off on the next purchase, a gift card, loyalty points or even running competitions on social media based on product use are great options for teasing out a review. Partner up with relevant micro-influencers to widen the reach of your merchandise to the fanbase of these trusted experts.
Voice search to boost product discovery
Did you know that 65% of 25 to 49 year olds use voice search at least once a day? What's more, 51% of voice search users are using this feature to research products. If you’re not tailoring your SEO for voice search, you’re likely missing out on a gold mine of potential customers.
Keywords for voice search differ from text search as the queries tend to be longer because full sentences or questions are used. Hence, meta-descriptions for products and product pages should take a conversational tone, and be optimized for naturally sounding queries and keywords. Adapting in these ways for voice search will help to push your products and website higher in the SERPs viewed by consumers using this method.
Get Your Products Out to the World
Being omnichannel means that you leave no stone unturned when it comes to allowing interaction with your products. It puts you in a better position to really know your customers and show them what they want no matter where they are looking.
To optimize product discovery for your Shopify store every single touchpoint should be viewed as an opportunity for exploration, tailored to specific users and their needs. With these tips and tools, we’re sure that not only will you get more eyes on your merchandise, you’ll also see your sales skyrocket.