Tips on Tuesdays: Synonyms and Spelling

Having a module that allows synonyms and NLP machine learning is vital. Why? Well here’s an exemplary story. In preparation for my wedding last year, I found myself doing much of our shopping online as it was easy and without limiting myself to local retailers, the global community has so many beautiful things to offer.

“I before E, except after C”
I never was very good at spelling and when it came time to shop for my viel, I was disappointed to find that one of my favorite wedding dress shops doesn’t sell viels. Could it be that I need to search for vail? But that didn’t look right either. Besides, I wasn’t getting any search results so I knew there was something amiss.

I eventually found a plethora of veils to choose from, but only after Google informed me that viel is the seventh album by German hip hop group Die Fantastischen Vier, and Vail is a place in Colorado.

Two Easy Ways to Help Your Shoppers

1. Enable “Did You Mean” Suggestions

“Did You Mean” suggestions present users with alternative related searches in the search results page. Fast Simon is implemented with a high level built in auto correct mechanism which offers alternative searches which will yield results based on similar words in the shop’s product page.

A quick search for an “aquarrium” on offers 730 “aquarium” related products and asks if we meant “aquariums”, “aquarium’s” or “aquaria”, but more importantly, shows customers that you have what they want.

2. Use Synonyms For Alternate Spellings and Terms

On a music retailer’s site “tupac” was being searched for quite often without bringing any results. Alternatively, a search for “2pac” returned all of the rapper’s LPs. This is a classic case for using synonyms, bridging the gap between demand (the way users type) and supply (the product listing).

Synonyms allow users to find relevant content the way users actually search for it. Stores can define separate terms that have the same meaning. They can be synonyms, antonyms or even spelling mistakes.

One retailer specializing in baby furniture defined bassinet, buggy, carriage, perambulator, pram and pushchair as synonyms for stroller. Such an extensive list of synonyms and alternate spellings ensures store owners that their customers will always get relevant search results.

“Can we help you find anything?”

Go to Search Queries Without Results in the Analytics tab of your InstantSearch+ dashboard. You might be surprised and the terms your customers are searching for. If you’d like to give your customers the best shopping experience possible, adding synonyms to your site will enhance their experience.