Decoding Natural Language Search: Easy Implementation for eCommerce Merchants

Get clued up on natural language search to supercharge your customers' shopping experience.

Jameela Ghann - Writer for Fast Simon
By Jameela Ghann
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Oli Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Content writer and fact-checker Oli Kashti

Updated February 23, 2024.

A person sitting at a table with a cell phone, conducting a search online

The way people interact with technology and conduct online searches is continuously evolving. One significant shift is the rise of natural language search (NLS), driven by advancements in machine learning and natural language processing technologies. For eCommerce merchants, understanding and harnessing the power of NLS can have a profound impact on their businesses. Below, we decode NLS and guide you through what NLS is, its potential challenges, and strategies to optimize your website content for NLS queries.

Meet the Expert

Jameela Ghann is an e-commerce expert with over 10 years of experience. She runs her own successful online store, Alora Boutique, and is the marketing manager for Fera Product Reviews.

Natural language search is a type of search query that utilizes human language rather than traditional keywords or phrases.

This technology leverages natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to interpret the intent behind user queries accurately.

For example, if a customer types "cute summer dresses" into Superbalist's search bar, NLS understands this is a request for dresses suitable for summer wear.

Screen shot of Superbalist's search results when looking "cute summer dresses"

Why Is Natural Language Search Crucial for eCommerce Merchants?

NLS can help you deliver more accurate site search results and understand customers' specific needs and preferences. This includes creating a more personalized shopping experience, which in turn enhances customer satisfaction and boosts conversion rates.

Considering the growth of voice search, it's crucial to incorporate NLS into your online store to match spoken as well as text queries.

Comparison diagram showcasing natural language search tips for eCommerce merchants

While NLS offers several benefits, eCommerce merchants may encounter some challenges when adopting this technology.

  • Finding the right app or tool to facilitate NLS can be challenging, especially for merchants who don't have access to dedicated development resources.
  • Properly structuring product descriptions and utilizing relevant keywords are essential to ensure NLS interprets customer queries accurately.

Platform Differences and App Integration

Which eCommerce platform you choose can significantly impact how easily you implement NLS. Platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, and Wix have a robust ecosystem of apps that can simplify NLS integration. Conversely, less popular or niche platforms may lack the necessary tools, making the process more complex.

Expert quote emphasizing that right eCommerce platform will make it easier to implement natural language search

The point of NLS is to account for conversational language and context. Common mistakes to avoid when crafting product descriptions and website content include:

  • Overusing technical jargon as it may hinder NLS from accurately understanding customer intent.
  • Neglecting regional and cultural language differences, especially when targeting international markets.

Instead, you can try:

  • Incorporating long-tail keywords to align your content with the way people naturally speak or type queries.
  • Using FAQs to improve search results and provide valuable information to customers.
  • Striking a balance between natural language and technical jargon because some customers may seek detailed technical specifications.

» Everyone makes mistakes: Find out how accounting for synonyms and spelling mistakes improves NLS

Harness the Power of Machine Learning

Expert quote emphasizing that customer feedback can help refine natural language search

Machine learning plays a crucial role in NLS. By analyzing user interactions and feedback, machine learning algorithms improve search rankings and deliver more personalized results over time. Implementing structured data, particularly for customer reviews, enhances NLS's ability to understand customer sentiments and preferences.

» This is why it's important to personalize customer reviews

NLS is reshaping the way customers interact with eCommerce websites. If you embrace NLS and optimize your platforms accordingly, you can provide better personalization, improve search rankings, and enhance customer satisfaction. By understanding the challenges, utilizing machine learning, and adopting effective NLS optimization strategies, you can stay ahead in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.