Increase sales with Search and Navigation

In this On Demand webinar, retailers will learn how to increase sales and unleash find-ability with advanced site search and navigation for your ecommerce store.

A few highlights from the webinar:

  • Increase sales with Search and Navigation
  • Improve your site search with find-ability
  • Make small site changes to increase your bottom line
  • Understand what users are looking for and how to help them find it

 


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View The Webinar Slides On Demand:


Webinar Transcript:

Grow Your Ecommerce Profits with Advanced Site Search & Navigation

Mary: Thanks again, everybody, for tuning in today with the CPC Strategy and Search Spring webinar. We’re going to get started now so if you are tuning in, it is a good time to turn on your volume and start paying attention. Again, thank you and welcome to our webinar on converting high web site search. We’re happy to be joined today by search veteran Kyle Wilson from Search Spring. Kyle has some great information to help you drive traffic and convert on your site.

So some quick webinar housekeeping before we begin. My name is Mary. I’m the Director of Content here at CPC Strategy, and I’ll be driving this webinar today. We ask you that you keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. At CPC, we’re about making retail search easy. So please feel free to reach out to me personally or anyone at CPC with any questions during or following the webinar.

We’ll be recording this webinar so if you need to watch today’s FIFA game or if you’re getting ready for the 4th, we’ll be following up with a recording email later this week. And if you don’t get that, again you can reach out to me personally.

Additionally, if you have any questions during the webinar, you can use this chat box to the right. We’ll be following up after the presentation with a Q&A with myself so feel free to ask questions there.
During and following the webinar, you can also reach out using the Twitter hashtag CPC Webinar.

About CPC Strategy

All righty, a little about CPC Strategy before we begin. At CPC we help online retailers increase conversion by matching online shopper intent with your product on search. So what does that mean? More specifically, we help retailers sell more on search channels like Google, by highlighting relevant products for the right search. We’ve been working with Google since Day One and recently received a Google shopping partner status which is a really big deal in this field. We’ve put out a ton of instructional guides and videos to help you succeed with Google, Amazon and Bing and you can find some of that content on the CPC Strategy blog and also at cpcstratblogsite.kinsta.com. And so feel free to use those resources to help you learn and grow your campaign.

Expert Speaker

And so a little bit about our speaker today. Again our speaker is Kyle Wilson, who is a veteran search expert from Search Spring. I’ll let Kyle kind of go more into detail about himself and how you can use Site Search to boost your sales.

Kyle: All righty. Well, thank you, Mary. Is the floor mine at this point?

Mary: You got it.

Kyle: All right. Well, thank you everybody for showing up today. Thanks for that intro there, Mary. My name is Kyle Wilson with Search Spring. So she mentioned I’ve been in the field for about two years now, and we have quite a few things to talk about in terms of dialing in or enhancing the functionality of search and navigation.

So with Search Spring we power over 600 clients. I personally have been involved in over 225 integrations across multiple platforms, multiple industries. I’ve come to find out that search is both art and science. There’s not a one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter search solution that will meet everybody’s needs. If you need someone who is versatile, knows what tools are available, has seen similar problems before, been able to solve them and can just point you in the right direction. So if you ever want to see more about Search Spring and CPC, we were featured in their latest interview, and Mary will shoot that link off to you during the follow up as well.

About Search Spring

So Search Spring. Who are we? What do we do? How is it all done? If I do my job effectively today, when you think of on-site search, I want you to think of Search Spring. So on-site search, learning search, sign in, navigation. Now we’re going to focus today on just industry third party search, how it benefits your conversion rate, how it benefits customer loyalty, and the efforts provided by CPC Strategy.

So how does on-site search compliment CPC? Well, if you’re driving more traffic to the website, are these users finding the products that they’re looking for efficiently? Is your conversion rate lifting people to the lift that you’ve seen in traffic? Are shoppers returning after the initial purchase? Are you cultivating long term customers via an enhanced shopping experience? And are you learning from users moving forward? Regardless of if the order went through, transaction was complete or if it was a shopping cart bail and now you’re trying to recapture that individual? How can you take the data collected from site engagement and scale it to improve your recapture efforts or enhance the internal site usability?

So in a whole, a third party search solution is going to help improve the relevancy of your results. It’s going to help engage shoppers to refine, go into the product page, and obviously make that conversion or check out better data. So throughout this webinar today, I’ll be circling back to a mutual client shared between CPC and Search Spring, SpringWater.com. Again, the goal here is to highlight the value of using a third party search. And we’ll show you.

Search Relevancy

So the main thing with search relevancy. With relevancy, third party solution should be offering you a learning search algorithm. What that means is as user preferences evolve through changes in seasonality, as you add new products to your inventory, as things go out of stock, how are your results updating dynamically? Obviously, you don’t want someone going through each and every search result page, category page and manually inputting where you want products to rank. So a learning search solution should dynamically elevate product rank as user behavior evolves or as inventory changes day to day.

So these are some of the main points that are viewed when tracking user experience or user engagement points within the site. So what is that individual looking for? What are they then clicking on within that result page? What are they adding to their cart? Out of the box, a learning search solution will elevate product rank based off of item popularity and conversion rate. And, like I mentioned earlier, I come to find out that everybody has a different definition of what’s relevant to them. So a [inaudible 00:14:13] solution should also incorporate the ability to tweak or customize that algorithm.

Searchandizing

So if you were to think of your online store much like you would a brick and mortar store, what products are you putting on the mannequin? What products are you putting towards the front of your storefront? What are you pushing towards the back? A learning algorithm can help you set up that same type of merchandising or in this case “searchandizing” for your users.

So a couple examples. Some clients may have inventory from last season. New inventory is coming within the next 60 to 90 days. Clear space in the warehouse and they want to push out that outdated merchandise. So they come and they say hey, let’s add a boost to all of our products that are on sale. These are the items that we want to push to the front of our storefront. That way they get the most engagement and that’s where the conversions are taking place. Two, three months down the road new inventory has finally arrived. Since there’s not previous click data, conversion data on those items, but we know these are the products that we want customers to engage with, we can drop or the third party search solution can drop that boost for sale and then switch it to new.

Management Console

Search Spring specifically, this is all built into a management console, and it’s quick as a mouse to control. So it’s nothing something that’s a long time set up. It’s scaleable, and it should be able to match or compliment your internal sales and promotional campaigns moving forward. So in a real live example with a brand I think everybody can understand and relate to is Levi’s. If you integrated a learning search solution and you’re the e-commerce manager for Levis.com. If you were to get into a result page for women’s tops, [inaudible 16:01], obviously it’s summer.

Customers are looking for lightweight, short sleeves, very breathable items to combat the heat. If you were to perform that same search or get into that same result page during the month of January when things are colder, weather’s a little more frigid, user engagement is then going to elevate the products that are related: longer sleeves, thicker material, what’s going to keep you warm. So dynamically elevating rank, product rank or downgrading product rank based on user [inaudible 16:37] solution right now is airandwater.com. Obviously, we’re in in July. It’s hot. [inaudible 16:46] search for [inaudible 16:48].

You’ll notice that all the cooling items are promoted to the first page of the results. If you paginate up into page five, then you’ll come across the heating products out there by this brand. User engagement has dictated where he moved [inaudible 17:07]. And this is all being elevated dynamically via learning search. Another way to improve relevancy is to map variant queries. So this is in the industry referred to as a [inaudible 17:19]]. So [inaudible 17:21] used to correct common misspellings or varying key words. Now the last few months I have been in the dungeon doing nothing but marketing for Search Spring, so I’m very Search Spring mind orientated right now. And if I do say Search Spring, it’s basically a synonym for third party search. So bear with me there. But synonyms can help map variant queries such as ‘V-neck shirt’, tee shirt spelled out, short sleeve shirt, all to the original keyword which is in the data feed.

This application is also used to correct common misspellings, so within the report section customers are looking for that they’re not finding, what are some common beginning suggestions that are being displayed. This is the cue to add those user behaviors to a synonym data base.

Increasing Engagement

In terms of increasing engagement, what will really engage shoppers and how do you know if there’s an issue with the engagement on your site? At the end of the day, engagement stems to familiarity. When a customer lands on a result page within eBay, Amazon or Walmart, birds of a feather flock together. All three of these conglomerate e-commerce sites are providing dynamic navigation. So not necessarily drilling down off of a category, then selecting a sub-category, then selecting a sub-sub-category before you see results. With [inaudible 18:45] as soon as you click into something like furniture, it’s not going to ask you sofa, chairs, tables. They’re going to show you results and allow you to drill down off of the attributes associated to your buying decision. So color, price, rating, material, these are the attributes that serve up an engaging navigation path and it’s all done via the attributes within the product data feed.

Image Based Refinements

You can also encourage engagement through image based refinements. So again going back to our example client Air and Water, you’ll notice that they’re using actual star images for the refinement versus just the text space and we can compare and contrast what was available pre the integration of the third party search and then after. As a user, I would be more inclined to go with the after just because I can drill down off the material from a grill, the price range, the ratings. These attributes are going to validate and finalize my purchasing decision. Before you were forced to paginate through each and every page, find out what is the size of the grill? What are the accessories that come with it? So just a lot more having to do with being on the user end, on the before side, after just dynamically narrows it down to a handful of products and then you can make a validated purchasing decision from there.

Category Navigation

Just to reiterate again, in terms of category navigation, built in functionality, offered through a third party search, recognition of parent-child attributes. So for airandwater.com, one attribute could be gas-type or fuel-types. Gas, charcoal, hybrid. Those would be the parent attributes associated to the grill, [inaudible 20:37]. You can also use those image based filters for size grid, color palettes, price sliders, all that engagement and making the refinement process as simple as possible.

Now if we ever do add products to your inventory, totally brand new attributes, the best way to pass off attributes to any third party solution is to parse out that data into a separate feed or field within the feed. So basically you can’t have price, size, color data all parsed into a description field. Color would need to be its own field. Size would need to be its own field. And material or anything that you want to build a refined option off of, just need to be individual field. Again, it’s something that we would help you out with and kind of map out what needs to be done or what looks good. So the way to increase user engagement is through search. So out of the 600 plus clients that we power, we’ve identified on average about 10 to 20 percent of user behavior or total users engaged with search. And with that auto complete or predictive search solution, one out of every three users ends up selecting one of the products that we recommend.

We can also be a little proactive in terms of normalizing or optimizing internal functionality, so a search suggestion application should incorporate the built in spell-check, a built in stemming, so shoe versus shoes should build consistent results. And then synonyms. Running shoes, bike shoes, football shoes, basketball shoes. You probably are going to want them to yield the same number of results. And then the keyword should dictate where those products range within that result page. Better data.

Site Optimizations

So with a third party search, you can identify some pretty opportunistic areas to improve the site. Number one would be inventory control, two, inter-optimization, identifying common misspellings or variant queries. And three, scaling out your product data feed by seeing what attributes customers are searching for.

For the full reports, I find, carries the most actual data would include a popular search with zero results, popular ‘did you mean?’ suggestions, referring query activity, popular filters. So a popular search field result shines a light on synonym opportunities and inventory opportunities.

What are your customers looking for that they’re not finding, and why aren’t they finding it? Are they looking for a product or a brand? If the answer is yes, does demand justify the expansion of your inventory to now offer that product? If the answer is yes, we just identified inventory opportunities. If the answer is no, how can we eliminate that geo result from occurring? Can we redirect them to a similar product page or result page to ensure that there’s still some engagement in elevating the potential for a conversion? Do we want to let them know hey, we know you’re looking for this product? We currently don’t carry it. Take a look at these other products via a banner. All things you can set up through a third party search via merchandising campaign.

Reporting

If it’s a situation of a common misspelling, a ‘did you mean?’ report will shine the light on those areas of opportunity. So what are customers commonly misspellings? Honestly, no need to display a ‘did you mean?’ each time they type in the improper spelling. Take them to what they’re looking to get. So synonyms helps build that out as well. Both these reports are worth going through maybe once a month, once a quarter just to keep a pulse on what customers are looking for and what changes have occurred within the user behavior.

Automated SEO, this correlates to the report for popular referring queries. So Search Spring is obviously, or third party search providers are obviously harvesting tons of data in terms of how customers are engaging with the website. You can take this data and leverage it into a competitive advantage mainly because search engine providers, they don’t [inaudible 24:53] nor do they index your search result pages themselves. So by creating a dynamic result page using a subdomain, leveraging the top 25 most popular queries customers are entering that starts with A, B, C all the way through Z and any number, you can identify areas of opportunity for organic and even paid SEO. So if someone were to search for something more longer-tailed unique within the site, Search Spring or a third party search provider builds a dynamic landing page for that query. It’s on a subdomain, it’s [inaudible 25:27] and indexed.

Logic states that if it’s being searched routinely within the site, nine times out of ten there’d be additional traffic searching that same query within Yahoo, Google, and Bing. And, again, we’re just leveraging the data collected via search solution into a competitive advantage to help drive additional traffic to the site.

Query Activity Report

So the referring query activity report . . ., spoiler alert, okay, there we go. This report right here identifies what are customers searching for within what search engine, how many referrals are you getting to the site per month off of that query. Something that CPC Strategy could leverage in terms of also applying that keyword or that query string to a campaign within Amazon, within Google Shopping, any of the outlets that you’re trying to optimize within.

And at the end of the day what does all this do? If you’re driving more traffic to the website, you’re not seeing an equal boost in conversions, time to lift up the hood and see if there’s an internal area of opportunity within site functionality. So are you flirting with customers or are you converting? Time test improving, better results or dynamic elevation of product rank. Engage with the customer, help them find what they’re looking for more efficiently. They can’t find it, they can’t buy it. Capturing data to better understand user intent.

It comes down to the philosophy of learn from your users. Let them dictate operations. Let your site dictate its reason for existence. And if you can follow in line with what customers are telling you, the lifetime of the organization will be a lot more solid.

Personalization

Also, personalization. It is huge. At all the conferences we went to this year, everybody from the rooftops was screaming personalization. How can you make your shopping experience personalized and engaged to the visitor? So to do some of those things we can look at creating promotional banners. Applying a product badge so this product is new. This product is featured. This product is on sale. You can also use badges to highlight inventory control. You can see some of those at, like, LLBean.com, [inaudible 27:80]. Those are badges that help encourage conversion to occur. Don’t wait. We’re running out of stock. Buy this item now. Optimization. Again, customers are pretty weird. There’s not a one-size-fits-all all search solution. Everyone’s going to look for your products in a different light. Tee shirt, short sleeved, v neck, crew neck. Realistically it’s all the same query.

Help them get to where they’re going via these tools. And then organic referral opportunities. If a longer-tail keyword is routinely being searched and it’s driving traffic to the site, tap a light on that, sooner rather than later, because there’s some sort of branding within that brand or some sort of new product being released that’s triggering you to search the way they are. So try to be the early adopter or the innovator in that paid SEO process.

And then if we increase traffic, we need to have them prove relevancy. There’s no point in sending customers to your website if they’re just going to bail anyways. So you have to make sure that the internal functionality is dialed in for retargeting purposes. You can use some of these tools built into third party search consults to encourage engagement, track efficiency and personalize.

So if it’s a specific brand, more than one product coming up within the results, you can create a custom landing page. You can hand pick what products you want to be gravitating towards the top of the results. You can also, again, incorporate product badging or banners, and in the event that you’re directing traffic to a single product via all the data collected through third party search providers, they also have the ability to recommend similar products or high converting cross-selling items. So somebody who purchases this shirt and these jeans also buys this belt. Seven out of ten customers who bought these items in conjunction with one another also bought or viewed this belt.

Kind of piggybacking on badging again. Based off of the trigger somebody enters into your search bar, or based off of the category page that they select, you can create a customizable banner to help push promotions, internal [inaudible 30:22], encourage the customer to become a . . . log in, get a discount, leave a review, get a coupon, spend XYZ, get free shipping. Whatever you’re leveraging in terms of competitive advantage for sales promotions, you can get that point across within the result pages as well.

Understanding Your Shoppers

And understanding your shoppers. So data feed is never done. Much like writing, much like fashion, you’re never going to have a finalized complete data feed. Customers are always going to be giving you cues for where areas of opportunity exist.

Again, keep in mind a popular search or popular keyword report for attribute-based queries. This example right here shines the light on customers are looking to drill down off of age or gender attributes for products. They want to know what’s men’s’ what’s women’s’, what’s used. Same thing can be said for color or . . .

So shopper engagement, spinning on that, customize what’s being searched, what’s being crawled via this third party search provider. Enhance the relevancy. Dictate what refinements are being displayed to help dynamically narrow results. Identify areas of opportunity once a month, once a quarter. Scale efforts.

And if Search Spring seems like a solution, here is some contact information. But that was a good overview of what we do, how we do it, and how we compliment CPC efforts. So at this point in time, I will turn the floor back over to Mary and we’ll start answering questions.

Mary: Great. Thank you so much, Kyle. I think we focus so much on pushing people to our sites that we often forget that it’s really important that once someone’s on your site, that they’re actually finding what they’re looking for. So those are some great points to highlight how people can do that and how you can do that for your site and impact conversions positively and click-throughs positively and just make sure that your users are finding what they’re looking for.

Mary: Thanks again, everybody, for tuning in today with the CPC Strategy and Search Spring webinar. We’re going to get started now so if you are tuning in, it is a good time to turn on your volume and start paying attention. Again, thank you and welcome to our webinar on converting high web site search. We’re happy to be joined today by search veteran Kyle Wilson from Search Spring. Kyle has some great information to help you drive traffic and convert on your site.

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