In the fast-paced world of eCommerce, where every click matters, the marriage of seamless site search functionality and strategic online merchandising has become an essential formula for boosting sales. As online shoppers demand personalized experiences and instant gratification, the relationship between site search and online merchandising has emerged as a powerful tool for eCommerce merchants to enhance user satisfaction, drive conversions, and ultimately maximize revenue.
The Power of Site Search: Connecting Shoppers with What They Seek to
Imagine a shopper visiting your online store, searching for a specific product or category. If their search query leads them to irrelevant results or a confusing user interface, frustration can quickly set in, leading to potential abandonment.
Search abandonment is a top-of-mind issue for many retailers. Experiencing search difficulties caused up to 85% of global online consumers to disregard a brand. More alarmingly, more than $300 billion was lost annually due to negative online search experiences in the US, according to a report by Google Cloud.
In recent years, there has been a rapid shift towards eCommerce and omnichannel, and consumers now anticipate effortless and uncomplicated search experiences. Therefore, an effective storefront search engine like what Boost, the leading Shopify search app, offers becomes paramount.
A robust site search function goes beyond merely displaying search results—it understands customer intent, adapts to variations in search queries, and provides relevant suggestions. As visitors type, predictive search recommendations anticipate their needs, helping them find products with ease. This intuitive experience not only reduces bounce rates but also enhances customer loyalty.
Inside Boost's search engine that accelerates sales
Our product discovery solution is a powerhouse built with a solid foundation. The basic search employs multiple algorithms like full-text search, partial search, special characters, alphanumeric, typo tolerance, etc., to handle long-tailed search queries successfully. This concrete search foundation is topped by an AI/ML layer to understand the search intent better and improve indexing as well as retrieving speed.
Although Boost's AI-powered search has just been released for a few months, Shopify merchants have enjoyed using it and get brilliant benefits from it.
The search engine of Boost outperforms most other competitors because of its customization capabilities. Our users can change the weight of searchable properties to tailor the search algorithms to their business. For example, shoppers tend to search for brands in online fashion outlets; Boost users can set the search weight of Vendor (Brand) as “High" and the rest as “Medium" or “Low". This setting instructs the search engine to look for products with Vendor matching the query first.
Synonyms, Stop words, Suggestion Dictionary, and Search Redirect are other search features for merchants to change the behaviors of Boost's storefront search for Shopify stores.
Optimize search UI/UX is a piece of cake with Boost
Not only does Boost give you a high-quality book, but it also offers various ways to customize the cover. There is a myriad of predictive search dropdown layouts to choose from. All are mobile optimized, so you don't have to worry about inconsistent UI/UX between devices.
Let’s see how creative Boost's users are when creating their unique instant search widget.
Pierre Cardin Lingerie store uses a two-column layout with search term suggestions, collections, and pages on the left and products on the right. The store also sets up Synonyms for panty and panties, so results for the former are surfaced when searching for the latter.
The full-width search bar looks stunning in Protein Package. What's more interesting, they enable the Search box onclick feature. It auto-suggests popular searches and trending products right when shoppers land on the search bar. Guiding visitors to the bestsellers or the discounted products in the store is a great practice to get more sales.
Protein Package with the help of the Boost app has witnessed an increase from 2.5% to 3.2% in conversion rate, equivalently around a £250,000 increase in sales over a year.
Strategic Online Merchandising: Connecting What Shoppers Want and What You Want To Push
Online merchandising is more than the art of presenting products in a way that engages and entices shoppers. The Visual merchandising feature of Boost AI Search & Discovery guides customers toward desired products, promotions, and even cross-sell or upsell opportunities.
For example, you have some high-stocked products and want to make them pop in the collections. Boost can help you with this by pinning selected items on the top positions of the collection pages.
Merchandising is not a one-size-fits-all strategy; it requires a deep understanding of customer preferences, buying patterns, and current market trends. That's why we have built up to 5 merchandising rules so merchants can flexibly rearrange the product listing pages.
#1. Pin products
You have the option to pin up to 5 products to the top of the product list. This helps highlight products that are part of your campaign.
Please note that this pinning rule will only work when Relevance sorting is enabled on search results pages. To move a product to the desired position, simply drag and drop it when creating the rule.
The first product on the search results for “nikon" is “Nikon MB-N12 Power Battery Pack for Nikon Z8” because the B&C Camera team has pinned it in the first place on the search pages.
#2. Boost products
A boosting rule allows you to promote not only particular products but also those with specific attributes to the top of your organic search results and collections. The rule will remain in effect and reorder your products in real-time when new products matching the conditions are added.
Note: This boosting rule only works when you enable Relevance sorting on search results pages. You can add 3 products or a maximum of 3 sets of conditions and 3 product attributes for each condition to boost.
Nude Lucy uses Boost AI Search & Discovery to push new-in items to the first row of the search result pages. This helps draw shoppers' attention to the latest products in the online store. Who doesn't want to catch up with the most recent trends?
#3. Demoting products
Our Demote strategy allows you to minimize the visibility of products both by selecting specific items and by creating attribute-based rules.
This rule works best when you don't want the out-of-stock to show up on the top positions of the listing page and don't want to hide these items completely. Although stockouts won't help you seal any deal, they indicate that your catalog is diverse. You can label them as “Back in stock soon" to keep no-rush customers coming back as well.
The Demote rule of Boost helps Blush Jewels automatically push “binnenkort verkrijgbaar” (available soon) and “uitverkocht” (out-of-stock) items to the bottom of the search result pages.
Like the Boost rule, Demoting products only applies to Relevance sorting on search results pages. You can add 3 sets of conditions and 3 product attributes for each condition.
#4. Hiding products
This rule makes free gifts, out-of-fashion, or out-of-stock products disappear from the search results since these sorts of products can hardly generate a sale. Even worse, they can leave a negative impression on the website visitors. Take a high fashion store as an example. It's a nightmare if shoppers see last season's items showing high on the listing pages.
Hiding products rule is effective for all types of sorting on the search results pages. You can add a maximum of five sets of conditions with three product attributes or 3 product items for each condition.
When searching on Gold Spot, you won't come across Free gifts because the store has hidden them using our Hide merchandising rule.
#5. Filtering products (applicable for Search merchandising only)
Filter rule is very special. It can only be used for search merchandising; we often call it the ultimate way of highlighting products. Once the rule is activated, only products that fit the conditions of the rule will appear in the results for the selected search terms.
Let me take an example to explain Filtering products. During the Christmas season, customers tend to look for festive attire. Therefore, you want ONLY products with Christmas colors to show up on the search result page for search terms like “Xmas", “christmas". The Filter rule will help you achieve this.
Our Filter rule works for all types of sorting on the search results pages. You can add either 5 sets of conditions with 3 product attributes for each condition or 3 specific products for this rule.
The Symbiosis of Site Search and Online Merchandising
The synergy between site search and online merchandising can be likened to a well-choreographed dance. Here's how they harmonize to boost sales.
Product Order in Alignment with Promotions
An effective site search can be integrated with strategic merchandising to maximize the effect of your sales campaign. As search results are automatically retrieved by algorithms, it's challenging for merchants to alter the order. Merchandising comes as the ideal solution for this problem.
Our merchandising rules (except for Pin products) ensure that products are only boosted/demoted/hidden when they match the specified search terms. Hence, you don't trade off search relevancy when doing search merchandising with Boost.
Moreover, our merchandising feature is attribute-based, and each attribute comes with different validity. Hence, keeping the search results in harmony with your sales strategy is easy.
Validity enhances flexibility when creating merchandising rules to align with promotions.
Automatic Update with the Latest Data
A dynamic merchandising strategy using Boost effectively responds to real-time search trends and purchasing behavior. Merchandising rules can be set up flexibly using attributes. As a result, when a new product meets the conditions or another one fails out of the conditions, the active merchandising strategy will automatically take effect or expire.
Another great thing about Boost's merchandising is you can set the date range for the rule. This allows you to finish all the necessary setup before a big campaign like BFCM is released. After the promotion ends, the merchandising strategy with a timeframe will be turned off automatically. This really saves a lot of manual work.
An optimized storefront search can boost online conversion up to 29%. This is why top positions in search results are a gold mine for promotions.
An intelligent site search, combined with strategic merchandising, ensures that products relevant to a user's search and the business's goal are prominently displayed. This eliminates the guesswork, enabling less prominent items to catch the eyes of the customers. Online merchants can implement merchandising rules to boost slow-moving products to clear out inventory faster.
Personalization (Coming soon)
Site search data can be harnessed to personalize the shopping journey. By analyzing search queries and purchase histories, merchants can tailor recommendations, offers, and promotions, creating a personalized experience that resonates with customers.
Boost team is working days and nights to add the Personalization layers on top of the standard site search, AI-powered search, and merchandising. We aim to reduce the work for merchants even with the rule-creating process. Personalization is expected to adapt the search results to different customer profiles. The more the shoppers feel they are treated as individuals, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Final Thoughts: Elevating The eCommerce Experience with Search And Merchandising Combo
In the fiercely competitive eCommerce landscape, success hinges on delivering exceptional user experiences. The strategic fusion of robust site search capabilities and thoughtful online merchandising is more than a strategy—it's a philosophy that prioritizes customer satisfaction and drives revenue growth. By understanding the symbiotic relationship between these two elements, eCommerce merchants can create a shopping environment that resonates with customers, encourages exploration, and translates into increased sales.