Make Digital Merchandising Easier With a “Good” Product Search Solution
By Kait Spong
As a creative and energized department, marketing has dozens of activities going on at once to move the needle on its annual targets. Quarterly campaigns, paid ads, speaking and networking engagements, virtual and in-person events, and relevant and engaging content — the list goes on and on. But the e-commerce team within this department needs to concentrate on what actually works to move the needle on conversion rates and revenue.
Since it’s a role that wears multiple hats and is responsible for numerous key performance metrics (KPIs), your merchandisers likely feel the same as your e-commerce team and greater marketing organization when it comes to online merchandising — they need to focus on your most successful go-to-market plays. But how can they? These days, this powerful player of your e-commerce team is often saddled with many objectives, including content creation, site experience design, personalization efforts, and A/B testing.
Yet, our research shows that digital merchandisers only have the bandwidth to make an average of 9 to 13 positive ROI decisions per month, and unlike a visual merchandiser, their daily workflows — and the obstacles that come along with them — are way more technical and tend to snowball over time. So, why would you even think of investing in a complex solution that makes digital merchandising workflows even more complex and difficult? You wouldn’t dream of it.
The problem is that there are a lot of merchandising solutions on the market — like product search — which seem like a steep learning curve for your merchandisers. Worst of all, they require a lot of work to get off the ground and maintain, and IT might not be on board with the total cost of ownership (TCO) of such an undertaking. And the last thing merchandisers need is another pain point when learning to navigate a solution intended to help them. With that being said, it’s time to let an AI-driven product search solution help your merchandisers reach their goals and keep up with all expectations.
Investing in a “Good” Product Search Solution Is the First Step
As a whole, e-commerce experiences should be about meeting a customer's intent at any given moment — from the results you display for a given search term to the sort order of categories and the banners you show on the home screen. Think of these moments as opportunities your brand has to start a conversation with your customer. A great product search engine needs to step in immediately and optimize core metrics, like revenue per visit (RPV), margin, conversion, add-to-cart (ATC), and more.
To hit these KPIs, your business must understand the customer from the beginning of their purchase journey when they make a search query, which requires deep capabilities in natural language processing (NLP) and a firm grasp of the product catalog. Your site search bar needs advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to meet these requirements and extract meaning from words in titles and descriptions. Remember, these algorithms work best when they’ve seen years of data to refine results and drive revenue.
But What Exactly Constitutes a “Good” Product Search Solution?
When it comes to determining a “good” product search solution, you must make sure that your merchandisers can use it to cut down on decision time with intelligent insights that automatically surface the best opportunities to improve revenue on your site. The best product search solutions should offer:
- An advanced starting point on the AI maturity curve to give your company a jump start
- Capabilities for your team to make important decisions, even with an out-of-the-box solution
- Intelligent dashboards to help identify low-hanging fruit and more easily diagnose problems
- User-friendly interfaces to make important changes to search or category pages
- Built-in A/B testing to validate a merchandiser’s intuition
While a smart site search solution will certainly lead the way, it won’t completely do the job for your merchandisers — and that’s the beauty of it.
Confirm Your Merchandiser’s Intuition With the Right Vendor
The AI of a great search solution comes with a strong foundation for your team to begin optimizing customer experience (CX) immediately. Now, merchandisers can act quickly to make key site improvements (or completely pivot) and increase conversions and average order value (AOV). Such flexibility is necessary to navigate all the ins and outs of today’s complicated and competitive business landscape.
If your merchandisers are not happy with a page of search results, the ball is in their court. They can create real-time custom rules on top of algorithms, launch custom product rankings, run rule-based recommendations, or conduct tests to make a better product discovery experience for your shoppers and buyers. Once a digital search solution is implemented to improve the browsability and findability of the products or services on your website, your merchandisers can focus their efforts on finding brand-appropriate products to sell, negotiating volume deals with suppliers, and making the store (both online and offline) an exciting place to be.
Let Bloomreach Discovery show your e-commerce merchandising team the path to success with product search and digital merchandising capabilities — like boost, bury, pin, or hide — that will enable merchandisers to do more with AI and automation, and in turn, generate more revenue for your brand. Want to make sure the return on investment (ROI) is worth your time? Use our ROI calculator to plug in all the necessary numbers to get started with product search.