The Fast Lane

Discover the world of AI-driven shopping optimization and fast-track your way to increased conversion rates, AOV, and customer loyalty. Explore expert insights on e-commerce personalization, merchandising, site search, and more.
 Laptop computer displaying logo of WooCommerce,
Search & discoveryAdvanced Search in WooCommerce: Elevate Your E-Commerce GameAdvanced search in WooCommerce can significantly elevate your e-commerce store, enhance your customers' experience in your store, and drive sales. This robust search functionality helps your customers quickly find what they're looking for by searching for specific products, categories, attributes, and even custom fields. What Is Advanced Search in WooCommerce? Advanced search in WooCommerce allows your customers to refine their product searches by using a number of filters and parameters. Your customers can narrow their search by selecting several parameters, such as the type of goods, features, price range, and so on. This type of e-commerce search process is simplified and more efficient, which in turn improves the user experience. How Advanced Search Improves Your WooCommerce Store 1. Show Relevant Results Instantly When you use advanced search in WooCommerce, your website's search function can return relevant results almost immediately, making it easy for shoppers to find what they need. This is especially true if you have a large product catalog. Your customers don't want to search endlessly through collections and product lists. Instead, advanced search can save them time and effort because your customers can easily filter search results by keywords, product features, price range, and more. Bamboo Clothing: Get an Instant Perfect Fit Bamboo Clothing sells sustainable men's and women's activewear. Their customers can search by size, color, brand, and price. These advanced search tools allow their customers to quickly locate the products they want without browsing through irrelevant merchandise. For example, a customer found relevant results instantly when typing in "large women tops". Also, note how the search function gave relevant results even though the customer didn't use the exact same wording as the store ("top" vs. "jacket"). Its natural language search capabilities take synonyms and misspellings into consideration to continually provide an optimized shopping experience. 2. Product Searches Anywhere on Your Site Since 43% of your customers immediately start their shopping journey with your search bar, it should be available to them throughout their entire shopping journey in your store. Easy access to your search bar means your customers are more likely to stay on your site and explore more pages. They may even stumble across products they didn't know you had or that are better than what they were originally looking for, giving you an ideal chance to upsell and cross-sell. Additionally, increased stay time and engagement show search engines that your site is important and relevant to users, which can boost your ranking. Gourmet Basket: Not Putting It All in One Basket Gourmet Basket specializes in compiling luxurious gift baskets. If a customer browses a specific collection (like "Non-Alcoholic Gift Baskets"), the search bar remains easily accessible at the top of the page if the customer wants to search for something else. Within the collection, various filters are available to refine the customers' search more, thereby giving them more options and encouraging them to stay on the page. » Learn how product search engines and federated search can enhance your store today 3. Live Search and Autocomplete Live search and autocomplete give your customers a faster, more convenient, and more efficient way to find and purchase products in your store because they automatically provide suggestions based on what your customers are typing. This can not only save time but also help avoid spelling mistakes that could result in a "no results" page. In this way, you can lower your bounce rates and increase conversions because you're leading your customers on a straight path to their desired products. Wowmart: Finishing Your Sentences Wowmart sells various health and beauty products. If a customer is looking for "shampoo", the store automatically provides various popular, category, and product suggestions for them to consider and peruse. 4. Tailored Product Search Because you're interacting with your customers through an interface now instead of face-to-face, it's even more important to make them feel special. And giving them a personalized shopping experience tailored to their preferences is the perfect way to do this. By making your customers part of the process, you can increase your sales by 6-10% because at least 51% of your customers are more likely to buy a product if you add a personal touch to their shopping journey. Protest: No Objections to Personalized Search Results Protest sells clothing for men, women, and children. If a customer searches for "black top", then they get relevant results from all categories, including summer and winter clothing as well as for men, women, and children. But a personalized shopping experience can refine these results, e.g., black tops for women of a specific price and size. » Discover more about personalized search and recommendation engines Fast Opportunities WooCommerce stores need advanced searches to improve product discoverability and user experience. This includes delivering quick and accurate search results to your customers, giving them the opportunity to further refine their searches, and personalizing their shopping journey. An effective search function can potentially double your conversions, build customer loyalty, and increase your sales.
Laptop computer displaying logo of WooCommerce
Search & discoveryWooCommerce Instant Search Makes Browsing a Breeze—Here's HowWooCommerce is a leading e-commerce platform that allows users to create and manage online stores by offering a variety of features, such as inventory management, shipping and tax options, and customer management. But one of its most salient features could arguably be instant search. WooCommerce instant search provides real-time search results, which makes the search experience faster and makes browsing a breeze for your customers. What Is WooCommerce Instant Search? WooCommerce instant search is a feature that allows your users to find their desired products at their fingertips in no time. WooCommerce instant search benefits customers in a number of ways, including simplifying the search process and giving them more options to choose from. It also holds advantages for your store. For example, an effective search process causes fewer frustrations for your customers, which eventually decreases the chances of them hopping out and increases the chances of making additional sales. Below, we discuss how WooCommerce instant search helps customers have a better browsing experience in your store. 1. Relevant Search Results Every visitor to your online WooCommerce store demands relevant search results, and at least 39% are influenced by relevant search results to make a purchase. WooCommerce instant search makes it easier for them to catch on to their desired products without the hassle of going through all your pages, thereby saving them time as well. For example, if a customer is looking for medication to help with heartburn on WOWmart, they'll not only get suggestions of popular heartburn searches to try but also a list of relevant heartburn product results. This simplifies their search and spares them from manually searching through various categories. » Learn how product search engines can help refine your search results 2. Personalized Search Results WooCommerce instant search can also personalize search results based on a customer's previous data, such as search history, purchasing history, and preferences. The algorithms of instant search can track down these data points and use them to give your customers personalized shopping experiences with relevant and fast results, thereby increasing your chances of making sales. For example, if a customer is looking for green t-shirts from Bamboo Clothing, they'll get green shirts of all styles and sizes as their result. While still relevant, these search results are not personal to the customer. If the customer is looking for short-sleeved green t-shirts for women, WooCommerce instant search can track this data and display it for the customer instead. » Explore further how personalization can help your e-commerce business 3. Autocomplete and Autosuggest Functionality Autocomplete and autosuggest are two key features of instant search. Autocomplete allows users to complete their search query based on the letters they've already typed.Autosuggest provides suggestions regarding a user's query as they type. Both of these features are generated according to your database of customers and provide fast and accurate results so your customers can quickly reach their desired product. This not only reduces your customers' frustration but also maximizes product discovery and eventually results in more sales—up to 24%. For example, a customer is looking for a gift basket on Gourmet Basket. They're unsure what exactly they're looking for but know they want the gift basket to contain wine. Gourmet Basket's instant search automatically provides category and product suggestions for the customer to consider. 4. Synonym Functionality Synonym functionality works by understanding your customers' intent when they type a query to display relevant results. This is based on natural language processing and natural language search, which use your customers' way of communicating and their context to match them to products. For example, if a customer searches for "protective muffs" on BC Fasteners and Tools, the algorithm understands the search intent and still displays relevant search results even though the search query doesn't match the store's wording or product names exactly (e.g., "ear protection" or "ear muffs"). » Discover more tips on synonyms to drive your store forward Take the Fast Way In a nutshell, WooCommerce instant search is one of the most important aspects behind the success of a WooCommerce online store. Instant search possesses the power to convert users into buyers and uplift your sales, which is why it shouldn't be neglected. This feature can also be coupled with other search functionalities, like federated search, to give your customers an elevated and even more refined shopping experience. » Explore how to use your search results to improve your WooCommerce store conversions
A magnifying glass over WooCommerce's website page
Search & discoveryImprove WooCommerce Conversion Rates: How to Use Your Search ResultsSite search and conversions fit together like a puzzle. While over 40% of your customers will immediately go to the search bar on your store, another 68% can bounce if the search results aren't satisfactory. What does this mean? As a WooCommerce store owner, you can leverage the power of site search results to improve your conversion rates. Let's investigate how. Understanding the Importance of Relevant Search Results Relevant search results can give your customers a quick and easy route to their desired products, greatly enhancing their shopping experience. It also fosters a positive perception of your brand—relevant results demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction, instilling confidence and trust in your store. But the benefits don't stop there. Up to 43% of consumers are willing to pay more to find what they want in just a few clicks. This means you can monetize the opportunity through membership or subscription models and personalization. » Here's how WooCommerce instant search makes browsing a breeze Optimizing WooCommerce Product Search It’s no secret that WooCommerce’s default product search isn’t the most intuitive or advanced. Fortunately, there are ways to create a better search experience for visitors. Utilize Advanced Search Plugins Advanced search plugins improve your customer's product search experience by integrating robust search widgets into your website. These widgets have a wide range of customization settings, meaning you can easily align them with your brand image. Plus, they contain features to help customers find, sort, and buy products quickly. Key features include: Search tuning: Allows you to include or exclude specific content types from the results. AJAX live search: Delivers real-time search results, enabling visitors to find information and navigate the site more quickly. Product search and filters: Improves product discoverability by allowing customers to refine their searches.Synonyms and autocomplete support: Makes the search process more forgiving and user-friendly by letting customers find products despite spelling errors. » Up your search game with Fast Simon's eCommerce search plugin Implement Effective Filtering Options Effective filters combat decision fatigue for online shoppers. They cut down the surplus of choices, making product selection less overwhelming. They also amplify relevant attributes, echoing customers' unique preferences and needs. This increases their engagement and reduces friction on the path to their purchase. Here are some tips to help you implement relevant filters in WooCommerce product search: Opt for familiar placement: Place filters where customers expect them. Vertical filters are familiar and allow more options, while horizontal ones increase visibility and convenience. Employ a wide range: Use a mix of product-specific (model, size, etc.) and thematic filters (bestsellers, season, etc.) to cater to various customer needs. Use simple language: Write filters in plain language. Avoid creativity and jargon in favor of simplicity and clarity. Filters are functional tools, not branding exercises. Sodashi implements thematic horizontal filters on their main shop page. They then switch to product-specific vertical filters within categories. Each filter is labelled clearly, so their meanings are plain. » Make sure to avoid these common mistakes when adding search filters to your store Integrate Auto-Suggestions and Auto-Corrections Auto-suggestion uses machine learning to predict shoppers' intent as they type and auto-correction uses algorithms to find and fix misspelled words. So, what's the effect? These features speed up the search process. Users don't need to type out full queries—the search bar suggests as they type. Search results become more accurate. Auto-correction fixes typos, thereby reducing mistakes and delivering more precise results. When searching on Bittersweet for a dress, the search function already gives suggestions and still generates relevant search results despite misspelling the search term as 'dres'. » Find out more about accounting for synonyms and spelling in site search Leverage Search Analytics What search queries do shoppers enter? Which products are unavailable through search? Which SKUs are most frequently searched by visitors? Search analytics can help you find the answers to these questions. The analytics generated by advanced search in WooCommerce contains a wealth of information about customer intent. By analyzing the data points, you’ll gain a deep understanding of your audience and make better business decisions: Address product gaps: Identify frequently searched terms with no relevant results and expand your inventory to meet customer demand.Optimize pricing: Utilize customer activity data to determine optimal pricing for improved conversion rates and profitability.Forecast trends: Use search analytics to predict popular products, stock inventory accordingly, and implement complimentary marketing campaigns. Optimizing Search Engine Results for Your WooCommerce Website Before arriving at your site, visitors typically use a search engine like Google to research potential shopping destinations. You want to ensure your site is discoverable in search results so people can easily find it. Consider optimizing search engine results for your site by: Conduct Keyword Research Keywords are the foundation of SEO. They indicate the words, phrases, and queries people use to find products. Conducting keyword research enables you to integrate these terms into your website's pages, improving its chances of ranking at the top of search results. Tips to find relevant keywords for your WooCommerce store: Use Google Keyword Planner: This free tool helps identify similar and long-tail keywords relevant to your product. Research competitors’ keywords: Study top-ranking competitors' keywords in product titles, descriptions, and reviews for insights. Optimize Product Titles and Descriptions Product titles and descriptions appear in search engine results and are closely tied to the user's query. That's why it's crucial to craft compelling product descriptions that entice people to click and explore further. Tips for creating captivating product titles and descriptions: Integrate keywords: Include important words naturally to make your content attractive and easy to find online. Structure your descriptions: Incorporate visual hierarchy to share information in a clear and organized way. Highlight essential details and features that make the product special. Enhance Meta Tags and URLs Meta tags are HTML code elements that convey information about your website to search engines.URLs are web addresses people use to locate and retrieve your site’s pages. Optimizing both is essential for improving your website’s SEO and ensuring a seamless user experience: Craft user-friendly tags: Create short and descriptive meta tags that tell users what your page is about. Use simple language and avoid technical jargon.Concise URLs: Keep your URLs short and easy to remember. Use 3-5 words at most to describe the content of your page. Improve Site Speed and Mobile Responsiveness Fast-loading and mobile-optimized sites ensure a flawless user experience, which is what Google wants for its users. With the battle for online rankings getting more and more competitive, you need to optimize these elements if you want to rank higher and gain visibility in search results: Optimize product images: Heavy images can slow down your website. Use a plugin like Smush to compress and optimize them for faster loading times. Choose a responsive theme: Select a mobile-friendly theme with a clean and professional design. Examples include OceanWP, Astra, and eStore. The Search for Conversions Is Over Every store owner wants more conversions—it's just a matter of leveraging the tools and resources you have access to so you can make it happen. While WooCommerce doesn't have excellent native search capabilities, you still have several options, from advanced search plugins and filters to SEO strategies like fine-tuning metadata and descriptions. By leveraging relevant search results and optimizing search engine results, you'll be well-positioned to drive conversions and achieve success with your WooCommerce store. » Take the next steps to maximize your sales with a comprehensive search and discovery approach
Smart business woman man giving rating and review with happy smiley face on
MerchandisingEcommerce Visual Merchandising Guide: Improving the Online Shopping ExperienceVisual merchandising is an essential aspect of eCommerce that can significantly impact customer experience and sales. As a merchandiser, you have many tools to create an engaging and visually stunning eCommerce experience for your customers. From designing navigation and product categories to using images and videos, every element of your online store can be strategically arranged to captivate and convert your customers. What Is Visual Merchandising? Visual merchandising is the process of designing and arranging the physical or digital presentation of products in a way that engages and entices customers. In eCommerce, visual merchandising refers to using online visual elements to create an appealing and intuitive shopping experience. Your website's design, layout, and product displays are the first things your customers see, and they can significantly impact their purchasing decisions. An effective visual merchandising strategy for eCommerce can help your business stand out from competitors, improve customer engagement, and ultimately drive sales. Pela: Sustainable Visual Merchandising Practices For example, by using high-quality product images, you can give your customers a clear idea of the product they're interested in, thereby increasing the likelihood of converting and purchasing. Plus, if you couple this with effective calls to action, such as prominent "Shop Phone Cases" or "Shop Watch Straps" buttons, it can also help guide customers toward the right category. A Look at Visual Merchandising in Traditional and Online Retail The goals of eCommerce vs. retail merchandising are the same: Drawing in customersBuilding brand awarenessEncouraging repeat purchasesStreamlining the shopping experience However, your visual merchandising strategy will vary depending on whether you're working in a brick-and-mortar store or an online marketplace. The key features, benefits, and drawbacks of each strategy are as follows: Retail Visual Merchandising Retail visual merchandising refers to curating product displays and layouts within physical stores to entice and captivate customers. ProsImmersive shopping experience with physical interactionEfficient product placement & optimized store layoutInstantaneous feedback for quick adjustmentsOpportunity for in-person engagement & personalized assistanceConsLimited reach due to physical locationSpace limitations affecting display optionsTime-consuming updates with static displays eCommerce Visual Merchandising eCommerce visual merchandising involves presenting products and arranging displays within online stores to maximize customer engagement. ProsPersonalization based on customer behavior and preferencesFlexibility with dynamic updates to adapt to trendsWider reach, accessible to a global audienceEnhanced data insights for data-driven decision-makingConsLack of physical interaction with productsTechnical challenges in managing an eCommerce platformSecurity and privacy concerns with customer data » Delve deeper into the similarities and differences between retail vs. eCommerce visual merchandising Creating a Visual Merchandising Plan Creating a cohesive and consistent visual identity is crucial for your eCommerce store. By ensuring that your website's visual elements, including colors, typography, and imagery, align with your brand values and target audience, you can establish a memorable and trustworthy image for your business. This, in turn, creates an immersive shopping experience that captivates your customers and drives results. Popular Visual Merchandising Elements Some examples of visual features that you can use to create an effective visual merchandising plan are as follows: Product images and photographyVideos and animationsColor schemes and typographyGraphics, icons, and illustrations Product displays and arrangementsNavigation and category designCalls-to-action (CTAs)Social proof elements » Here's how to optimize your eCommerce merchandising management The Benefits of Visual Merchandising 1. Increased Customer Engagement By creating an immersive and interactive experience, you can hold the attention of your customers for longer. Whether this is through videos and animations showcasing your products in action or giving your customers more options than they bargained for, the right visual merchandising strategy will keep your customers engaged. For example, popular designer Steve Madden gives their customers a view of their products from all sides. Each image is clickable and can be viewed in a larger format. Even the color variations of the particular shoe design are merchandised and easy to navigate. Because these merchandising elements help make the website easy to use, customers are encouraged to engage more. 2. Higher Conversion Rates Visual merchandising, coupled with the right prompts, can help you increase your conversion rates and sales. Effective calls-to-action can encourage your shoppers to take action and complete their purchase, while showcasing related or complementary products can encourage customers to make additional purchases. Keeping with the Steve Madden example, if customers are unsure how to style their purchase, the "Wear It With" section provides suggestions with clearly merchandised items to create a complete outfit. This gives Steve Madden the perfect opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. » Find out why product recommendations also require merchandising rules 3. Improved Brand Recognition Visual merchandising can improve brand recognition by establishing a consistent and memorable visual identity. When you use consistent branding across different touchpoints, you can create a strong visual presence that helps customers recognize your brand and strengthens your position in the marketplace. Additionally, incorporating user-generated content, such as customer photos and videos, can also help build customer trust and authenticity. For example, apart from social proof elements like product reviews and ratings, Steve Madden also encourages customer engagement on social media, where customers can share photos and stories of enjoying their purchases. » Discover how user generated content influences brand loyalty Boost Your Customer Satisfaction the Fast Way Visual merchandising is a vital aspect of your eCommerce store that significantly impacts customer experience and sales. By strategically arranging every element of your online store, from navigation and product categories to images and videos, you can create an engaging and visually stunning shopping experience for your customers. Implementing effective visual merchandising strategies such as high-quality product images, calls to action, consistent branding, and social proof elements can increase customer engagement and loyalty and ultimately lead to higher conversion rates. Therefore, it's essential to have a cohesive visual merchandising plan aligned with your brand identity, target audience, and business goals to drive results and stand out from competitors. » Explore this ultimate merchandising guide for more best practices
Man using laptop with E-Commerce online shopping business concept.
MerchandisingEcommerce Web Design: How to Create the Best Ecommerce Website Layouts for 2023First impressions matter. In fact, 94% of your customers' first impressions of your website are layout and design-related. So, revamping your e-commerce site to create an irresistible layout and merchandising strategy can be the first step toward boosting your conversions and keeping your customers coming back for more. Why Should You Have a Great Store Layout? Your store's layout affects your customers' entire shopping experience. A well-designed layout can help you: Showcase your products effectivelyMake navigation easyGuide your customers toward purchasing It can also improve customer engagement and increase loyalty, leading to higher conversion rates and increased revenue. This isn't lip service: a study by Adobe showed that 59% of people prefer browsing 'beautifully designed' sites to 'simple and plain' ones. Tip: Get constant customer feedback and A/B split test changes in your e-commerce site layout to create the perfect design. Understanding Your Target Audience Knowing your target audience is crucial when designing your e-commerce site because you can tailor the layout to their needs and preferences. If you know what your customers are looking for and how they like to shop, you can create a layout that resonates with them. Here are some specific examples of how understanding your target audience can inform your site design: Design for Mobile If your target audience is primarily mobile shoppers, your site should be optimized for mobile devices. This means using responsive design, simplifying your layout, and prioritizing quick load times. For example, Mersi Cookware & Co. targets moms, so they include large, high-quality lifestyle images and large buttons that are easy to view and click on a mobile device. Tip: If you need help determining the percentage of your mobile users, check your Google Analytics for the answer. » Ensure your e-commerce merchandising is optimized for m-commerce Prioritize Search If you find your target audience is looking for specific products on your site, you'll want to make those products easy to find. This means prioritizing the search functionality on your e-commerce site and making it visible and user-friendly. For example, 54kibo is a home goods store that targets busy parents, so they've included a prominent search bar on the homepage that lets their customers search for the products they need quickly. » Discover the benefits of e-commerce product engines for your store Highlight Social Proof If your target audience is skeptical or values the opinions of others, you need to incorporate social proof into your site design. This can include customer reviews, ratings, or testimonials that demonstrate the quality and value of your products. For example, Fiji Water features their customer reviews on their product pages to boost the relevant product's credibility. A customer sees the rating system first, and then it takes them to testimonials when they click on it. Tip: You can determine if your customers are skeptical about your products by searching for your brand name followed by "reviews" or "unboxing" in Google. » Enhance your e-commerce and merchandising strategies with personalized reviews Key Elements of an Irresistible Layout An irresistible layout for e-commerce stores should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and optimized for conversions. Clear and intuitive navigation Navigation should be easy and intuitive, with a clear hierarchy of categories and subcategories that allows your shoppers to quickly and easily find what they're looking for.High-quality product images Using only the best images is essential for showcasing your products and giving your shoppers a clear idea of what they're buying. These images should be well-lit, high-resolution, and show the product from multiple angles. You should also use a Web format for quick loading times!Distinct and consistent color and branding Your e-commerce store's branding should reflect your company's values and personality. This includes a well-designed logo, a cohesive color scheme, and typography.Persuasive product descriptions Product descriptions should be compelling and informative to highlight your products' benefits. This helps your shoppers make informed decisions and encourages them to purchase. Apple: Customers Like Them Apples Apple's e-commerce site encompasses the majority of these elements. The site has a sleek and minimalist design with a clear focus on the products. The ample use of white space helps to create a clean and uncluttered layout and highlights the products on display. The product images are large and high-quality, while the calls-to-action are clear and prominent in blue. Best Practices for Layout Design Keep It Uncluttered An uncluttered layout design can help shoppers focus on what's important—your products. Avoid cluttered layouts with too many graphics or distracting elements that can confuse or overwhelm your visitors. Use White Space White space, or the empty space around design elements, can help create a clean, organized layout that's easy to navigate. It also draws attention to the key elements of your site, such as your products and call-to-action buttons. Follow a Grid System Using a grid system can help you create a balanced and visually appealing layout. A grid system can help you ensure that your design elements are aligned, consistent, and easy to follow. Make It Accessible Accessibility is crucial in e-commerce. You can follow these tips to ensure your site is accessible: Use descriptive alt tags for images.Ensure website compatibility with assistive technologies.Use high-contrast colors.Provide captions and/or transcripts for multimedia content.Avoid relying on color alone to convey information.Ensure keyboard navigation functionality.Test the website with users who have disabilities. Call-to-Action Buttons Clear and prominent call-to-action buttons should be used throughout your site to guide shoppers toward buying. Incorporating these key elements into your e-commerce layout will help you create a visually appealing site that is easy to navigate and optimized for conversions. Fast-Track Your E-Commerce Success Don't let a poor layout design hold back your e-commerce success. By incorporating key elements such as clear branding, easy navigation, high-quality images, and persuasive product descriptions, you can revamp your e-commerce site's layout to engage shoppers and encourage them to make a purchase. » Dive deeper into this ultimate merchandising guide to drive your store forward
A person looking at a tablet on a table with shopping icons coming out of it
Search & discovery6 Ways to Maximize Sales With a Comprehensive Search and Discovery ApproachToday's online shopper doesn't just enjoy simplicity and convenience—they demand it. That's why user experience is critical for eCommerce store owners who want to increase conversions and sales. Site search and discovery is a big piece of that puzzle. Forrester notes that website users who perform a site search can produce conversion rates as high as 250%. Below, we discuss 6 ways to maximize sales with a comprehensive search and discovery approach. 1. Optimize Your Product Data and Catalogs A great search and discovery experience starts with accurate, well-organized product information. Your customers have a better chance of converting if they clearly understand what they're buying. This means your product information has to be up to date and written in plain language—no unnecessary jargon. You can optimize your product data and catalogs further through: Detailed product descriptions: Include product features and benefits in your content. This enhances customer understanding and improves search results. Robust categorization: Structure your data into logical, broad categories and subcategories to simplify navigation and enhance product pages. Attribute optimization: Mention key attributes such as quality, weight, and price to facilitate more precise and effective searches. Pro tips if you have a large inventoryIt can become tricky to ensure your product information is accurate and uniform if you have a large inventory. Try:Implementing a centralized product information management (PIM) systemUsing automated data feeds or integrations to update product information in real-timeAdhering to data validation rules to make sure all your product information complies with specific standards 2. Implement Intelligent Search Advances in site search technology have made it possible to leverage natural language processing and machine learning. These features enable intelligent search solutions to identify the precise context of a user’s query, whether it's a description, question, or even an abbreviation. This allows you to provide targeted results with speed and accuracy. Plus, intelligent search adds a whole new dimension to the customer experience. It uses machine learning to identify shopper intent based on their past searches and preferences. You can use this data to fuel personalization strategies and earn customers’ loyalty and trust. For example, Steven Madden uses intelligent search to interpret a visitor's query when they phrase it as a question instead of a search term ["Do you have blue shoes"]. » Here's how to easily implement natural language search on your eCommerce store 3. Enhance Your Filters and Faceted Navigation Filters and facets are an integral part of the search and discovery experience. Customers can narrow down and refine their searches efficiently with filters. For instance, if the customer from the previous Steve Madden example wants to refine their search results, they can filter by size, brand, price, and even heel height. Pro tips to optimize your search filters and facetsFacilitating searches with intuitive filters such as “brand” or “type” for clothing items. Including interactive facets like price sliding scales or color pickers. Highlighting frequently used and beneficial filters/facets for easy user access. 4. Incorporate Visual Search Visual search is an immersive tool that lets users find items by uploading a picture. This new approach to web browsing, site searching, and shopping analyses all the details in a user's picture. This includes products, colors, and even brands. Visual search then scours your website for content that matches the picture and gives the user very targeted search results. Visual search eliminates errors typically associated with text-based searches. For example, users won't miss out on search results because of typos or spelling errors. For example, if a shopper misspells "brown boots" as "brwn bots" on Fashion Nova, the search results aren't relevant. However, by uploading an image of the boots the shopper wants, the results are on point. » Here's how to implement visual search with Fast Simon 5. Harness User-Generated Content Many brands globally have been able to increase conversions with user-generated content (UGC). It's an effective tool because you allow your audience to guide the discussion around your offering. This ensures your brand and content are relevant, engaging, and useful. UCG isn't restricted to your marketing strategy—you can easily incorporate it into your search and discovery strategy too. For example, you can add reviews, ratings, and social media sharing opportunities to your product pages, search results, and checkout pages. You can even create user-generated landing pages. This will all help to improve search relevance and trust. ASOS combined their UGC marketing and search and discovery strategies. Their #AsSeenOnMe social media campaign encourages users to post photos online of themselves wearing ASOS clothes. In turn, ASOS created a shoppable #AsSeenOnMe gallery on their website. 6. Optimize for Mobile Shopping More and more customers are shopping on their mobile devices. This means optimizing your whole online store, not just the search bar, for m-commerce has become non-negotiable. Start by: Making sure your theme is responsive and mobile-friendlyRemoving or redesigning pop-ups that may cover up content or interfere with the user experienceEnsuring there are no glitches, bugs, or unnecessary redirects Nordstrom places a search bar prominently at the top of their mobile website, ensuring customers have easy access to search and discover products. » Stay ahead of the curve by following these mobile eCommerce trends Search and Discover Your Way to More Sales It's more important than ever to optimize your website's search and discovery functionality. As you move forward with the process, remember a few tips: track and analyze your search metrics, identify insights and patterns to optimize search performance, and conduct A/B testing so you can continuously improve your site's search algorithm. When you tap into your customers' needs and behaviors, and combine it with your business goals, the sky is the limit.
A person sitting at a table with a cell phone, conducting a search online
Search & discoveryDecoding Natural Language Search: Easy Implementation for eCommerce MerchantsThe 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. What Is Natural Language Search? 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. Why Is Natural Language Search Crucial for eCommerce Merchants? NLS can help you deliver more accurate 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. Challenges and Solutions to Implement Natural Language Search 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 that 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. Optimize Product Descriptions and Content for 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 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 Speaking Your Customers' Language: Embracing Natural Language Search 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.
A person holding a cell phone in their hand while shopping online
Search & discoveryeCommerce Brands Use Visual Search to Improve Product Discovery—Here’s HowWhile shopping in a physical retail store, customers decide to buy a product after touching it, taking a sample, trying it on, or testing it out. But when it comes to retail vs. eCommerce, you need to up your game to mimic the physical shopping experience. This is where visual search comes in. Explore below how you can use visual search to improve product discovery and improve your customers' experience on your store. Meet the Expert: Jameela Ghann is an e-commerce and marketing expert with more than 10 years of experience. Apart from running her own successful online store, Alora Boutique, she's the marketing manager of What is Visual Search? Visual search is a cutting-edge technology that enables users to search for products using images instead of traditional text-based queries. For example, rather than typing in keywords like "emerald cut sapphire with small diamonds at the side," users can simply upload a photo of the desired product. The magic happens when the computer leverages advanced algorithms to match the image with similar products. Popular visual search applications include Google Lens, Pinterest's visual shopping feature, and IKEA's augmented reality app. Pros and Cons of Visual Search Visual search eliminates the need for precise text descriptions, allowing users to find products effortlessly. Your customers can also explore unique styles and design combinations they might not have considered otherwise, especially if you have a "Complete the Look" feature. Plus, users tend to engage more with photos and videos, leading to higher conversion rates and longer time on the page. However, as visual search technology is still in its early stages, it might not always deliver accurate results for specific products. Also, users may unknowingly upload sensitive data in images, raising privacy concerns that you need to handle responsibly. Fashion: A Resounding Success for Visual Search Among various industries and product categories, fashion stands out as the most successful area for visual search. Fashion enthusiasts often want to replicate looks they discover on social media—and visual search bridges the gap between inspiration and product availability. From clothing to makeup, fashion brands have witnessed remarkable results with this technology, enabling customers to find and buy products they spot on influencers' feeds or social media. For example, Fashion Nova incorporates visual search into their normal search bar via a camera icon. The customer has the choice to upload their own photos or to test the feature if they're unsure. Visual search helps to make your products more discoverable because your shoppers' journeys are personalized and direct. Customers are immediately taken to their desired products with the added bonus of upselling and cross-selling opportunities. » Have your own fashion store? Discover how to overcome different fashion eCommerce challenges How to Improve Your Visual Search Functionality If you want to enhance the visual search functionality on your eCommerce store, here are some essential tips: High-quality images: Ensure you have high-quality images to facilitate accurate recognition by the algorithm.Different angles: Provide multiple images of each product to accommodate various user-uploaded angles and improve matching accuracy.Learn from leading brands: Observe how successful brands like IKEA or Pinterest implement visual search and consider similar functionalities for your store.Incorporate AI: Especially once you start to scale, AI plays a pivotal role because it can handle large data sets efficiently. This includes learning from users and managing extensive image databases.Integrate other technologies: Consider pairing your visual search functionality with augmented reality (AR) and voice assistance. AR allows users to virtually try on products while voice assistance enhances user intent understanding and matches long-tail keyword searches with relevant images. Measuring the Effectiveness of Visual Search Campaigns You can use the following metrics to gauge how successful your visual search campaigns are: Conversion rate: Measure the percentage of users who made a purchase after using visual search.Time spent on page: Analyze the time users spend exploring visual search results and products.Click-through rate (CTR): Track the number of users who click on visual search results and proceed to view products.User surveys: Conduct surveys to gauge customer satisfaction and gather feedback for further improvements. Revolutionizing eCommerce With Visual Search Visual search is changing eCommerce and redefining how users interact with products and discover new items effortlessly. Although it's still evolving, the potential benefits are undeniable. As e-commerce merchants, embracing visual search and combining it with AI and other cutting-edge technologies can open doors to exciting possibilities, enhancing customer experiences and driving business growth.
A woman sitting on a couch using a laptop computer to shop online with other shopping bags already arranged next to her feet
MerchandisingHistory of Merchandising: How Strategies Have ChangedWhen you think of merchandising, you probably think of a modern-day storefront that's online or brick-and-mortar. But what many people don't realize is that the history of merchandising goes back to ancient times. Even in the cradle of civilization, bustling bazaars and vibrant trade routes depended on core merchandising principles to sell and exchange goods. Below, we explore the history of merchandising and how strategies have changed through 3 main periods: Ancient roots of merchandisingGolden age of brick-and-mortar retailDigital revolution and eCommerce merchandising Ancient Roots of Merchandising Merchandising and trade go hand in hand—and trade can be traced back to the earliest human civilizations, like Mesopotamia and Egypt. These ancient cultures laid the foundation for commerce and trade practices that continue to shape and influence merchandising as we know it today. Just picture it: lively marketplace scenes that go on for miles. Packed bazaars adorned with exotic goods. Buzzing trade routes connecting villagers from distant lands. In these environments, sellers used different merchandising strategies to make sure their businesses were noticed and patronized: Visual display: Merchants skillfully displayed their wares, enticing customers with colorful textiles, fragrant spices, and precious metals.Product demonstrations: Merchants often demonstrated the quality and usefulness of their wares to prospective buyers. For example, they might showcase the durability of a tool.Bartering and haggling: Buyers and sellers engaged in lively interactions and negotiations until a mutually agreeable exchange was reached. Golden Age of Brick-and-Mortar Retail Fast forwarding through the medieval period, Renaissance, and Industrial Revolution gave rise to trade fairs, printed materials, mass production, and department stores. The result of these advancements is the 20th century, when brick-and-mortar retail was at its high point. Specialty stores, supermarkets, and grand shopping malls lured in shoppers with: Impeccable visual displaysCaptivating store layoutsUnforgettable in-store promotions From the bright lights and shiny floors of department stores to the cozy atmosphere of mom-and-pop shops, there was something for everyone. Shoppers loved to browse through aisles of merchandise, interact with friendly salespeople, and take home new purchases. Brick-and-mortar retailers understood the importance of creating a memorable shopping experience, and they went to great lengths to make sure that their customers felt special. The golden age of brick-and-mortar retail may be over, but the impact it left on our consumer culture still lives on. Up to 85% of US consumers are returning to in-store shopping to rekindle the physical shopping experience. What does this mean for online retailers?A bigger investment in omnichannel merchandising can help sellers to give their customers the right engagement at the right time. Seamless integration of online and offline shopping experiences is crucial and allows customers to move fluidly between various channels and touchpoints. » Explore more differences between eCommerce vs retail merchandising Digital Revolution and eCommerce Merchandising The digital revolution led to a massive shift in the retail industry, giving rise to the booming world of eCommerce. With the birth of online platforms, traditional brick-and-mortar stores faced new challenges and opportunities. Merchandising strategies swiftly adapted to the online landscape, leveraging technology to enhance customer experiences. This includes: Data analytics: A powerful tool that provides valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. Today's retailers harness this information to refine their merchandising approaches and create tailored shopping experiences for each customer.User-generated content (UGC): Reviews, ratings, and social media interactions influence purchasing decisions. Savvy retailers integrate UGC into their product displays and promotional campaigns, building trust and engaging with their customer base. The digital revolution disrupted traditional retail, but it also opened up new doors. Retailers can reach global audiences, operate 24/7, and leverage targeted marketing strategies. The boundaries between physical and digital worlds blurred, making way for concepts like click-and-collect and showrooming. » Need more merchandising guidance? Follow these eCommerce merchandising do's and don'ts Popular Merchandising Strategies We Still Use Today Upselling and cross-selling Upselling encourages customers to purchase a higher-priced item, while cross-selling suggests complementary products. In a physical store, a salesperson skillfully recommends a pricier version or additional products at the checkout counter. But in eCommerce, personalized recommendations and "Customers who bought this also bought [x]" sections take center stage.Product bundling Product bundling involves grouping related items together and selling them as a package at a discounted price. For example, a hardware store may bundle gardening tools, fertilizers, and seeds to entice gardening enthusiasts. Similarly, an online grocery store may offer a pantry essentials kit with snacks and certain dry, bottled, or canned staples.Personalization Personalization means customizing shopping experiences to match customers' preferences. In a physical store, salespeople can remember and suggest suitable products during future visits. In eCommerce, algorithms analyze customers' browsing and purchase history to deliver tailored product recommendations. Imagine an online bookstore suggesting books based on your favorite titles or preferred genres.Influencer marketing Influencer marketing involves collaborating with individuals who have a substantial public following and leveraging their reach to promote your brand. In traditional retail, a beauty store might partner with a local influencer and host a meet & greet to attract customers. In eCommerce, a cosmetics brand may partner with a beauty vlogger to promote products via Instagram or TikTok. The Future of Merchandising It's easy to live our day-to-day lives without realizing how deeply ingrained the history of merchandising is in the fabric of society. From ancient trading routes to the golden age of brick-and-mortar to the digital revolution, merchandising grows and morphs along with us. Merchandising practices have continuously adapted to meet changing consumer demands and technological advancements. It's critical to understand the history of merchandising if you truly want to inform effective strategies in the present and future retail landscape. » Keep an eye on these future merchandising trends to stay ahead of your competition