Ease of site navigation is a key differentiator among retailers in the highly competitive e-Commerce space. Best-in-class eTailers are making the browsing and buying journey easier by perfecting keyword search, according a research report, titled: 12th Annual Merchant Survey Report, from the e-tailing group. The study indicated that 98% of retailers believe keyword search is a top priority, due to customer demand for efficiency in site navigation.
Caché, a nationwide specialty retailer of women’s clothing and accessories, has improved sales substantially since implementing the SLI Systems full-service Learning Search solution, which includes an auto complete tool. The retailer has seen an increase of 88% in conversion rates among site search users and a 42% lift in site search usage.
The search function is a key component of the Caché online shopping experience, according to Kevin Metz, VP of e-Commerce for the company. “When new consumers are drawn to our site as a result of our online advertising, they are more prone to using search because they’re not familiar with the navigation of our site,” Metz said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “So if they’re searching for something specific they’re using the search box for that. Conversely, our current customers may have a specific category that they’re searching for, and they drill in deeper into the browsing experience through those categories.”
Due to consumers’ increased dependence on search, Caché requires intelligent tools that can deliver effective product suggestions based on past searches as well as by product keywords and categories such as product type and color.
Of all search groups, color is the most leveraged attribute, Metz explained. “A lot of shoppers are using our search tool to find products in specific color families,” he said. “Historically, our brand is very color oriented, especially in the way we merchandise.”
By leveraging the SLI Learning Search solution, the Caché e-Commerce site retains past site search activity by tracking each visitor’s aggregate search queries and click-throughs. This flexibility empowers Caché to constantly refine and adapt search results and recommendations based on consumer trends and overall behaviors.
“The search results presented are based on the data and information we’re receiving from our shoppers,” Metz said. “Our search tool is driven by how past customers have interacted with the content on the site, and it elevates from there.”
Making Search More Visual
Using the SLI Rich Auto Complete tool, the retailer empowers consumers to search a variety of product images, which can help drive higher conversions and revenue from search. The tool automatically shows images of products and search term suggestions once visitors begin typing in keywords. The image feature also presents the retailer with a chance to bring a specific item to the forefront, and make it more noticeable to consumers.
Caché will continue to optimize search as the company ventures into new merchandising strategies, Metz explained. These changes, he said, “inherently will introduce new parameters and merchandise attributes that we’ll be able to leverage for our search functions.”
As Caché begins to carry a wider variety of brands and products, “the ability to refine attributes and get detailed reporting on what people are searching for is very beneficial,” Metz added. “In turn, we’ll be able to present consumers with different experiences based on the keywords they’re using, and in turn, satisfy their needs.”