Have you ever tried a website or app’s search to find yourself feeling frustrated with the accuracy of the results, so much so, that you exit the site and end up transacting on a competing site that simply did a better job at showing you exactly what you were looking for? Well, we hear you. As it’s something we all experience on a regular basis too – which is nothing but a case of bad search relevancy. As users we get frustrated, whereas for the site publisher it’s a lost opportunity to acquire a customer or a lost sale in case of returning users.
Accurate and relevant search results are not only a science but are an art too. It’s similar to having an extraordinary sales person in your store – your MVP - the one sales associate who is a winner as he’s always around to help the customer. The one who directs the customer exactly to the section where the product they are looking for is available - leading to a quick and a super-smooth sale. So you see, an analogy can easily be drawn between a sales associate and search relevance. For instance, imagine you chanced upon a lazy sales associate in a store. You get annoyed with him for not helping you the right way, but in this case you may approach another sales associate to help you with what you cannot find. Unfortunately though while searching online, when you run into poor search results, you have no such option. You will be left feeling frustrated and most likely are bound to exit and jump off to another site in search for what you were looking for.
We can’t stress enough on how that little “search” field or icon on any product is nothing but a super helpful sales associate. It is one of the primary product discovery and purchase channels for online shoppers. Just like how a helpful sales associate will keep you in the store till you find what you were looking for; accurate and good search relevancy is critical to improving conversions and findability, especially on ecommerce sites in order to keep the users of that site returning for more. Good search results on ecommerce sites, along with a clean navigation user interface and excellent recommendations, not only provides for a better user experience, but also lowers the exit rates and increases the purchase intent.
Thus, site search, if not fully optimized will cause users to jump off and head to a competitor’s website where it’s easier to find what they want. Yes, we do understand that maintaining an accurate search relevancy is an ongoing task – which needs to be tweaked and improved consistently in order to provide for the best search experience possible, yet it cannot be overlooked. Do you want your users to be disappointed or frustrated? If not, think of search relevancy in terms of your customer service – just like how good customer service retains and keeps your customers coming back, similarly your site search with accurate and efficient search relevancy will continue to delight your users with amazing, prompt and accurate results. Hence, building a good site search should be a norm and not an afterthought!
To improve your search relevancy, you have to constantly improve your artificial intelligence and search algorithms with training data. Additionally, look into investing in the human effort to tag and categorize your content accurately. All this effort will go a long way in helping your data scientists and machine-learning teams to constantly improve the product search quality and accuracy.
So go ahead, do all that it takes to improve your search relevance and see your conversions shoot up!